Travel insurance with medical conditions

When do you need medical travel insurance?

Many of us have a medical condition which eventually becomes a part of the daily routine. Yet you might only be reminded of a pre-existing medical condition when it comes to buying travel insurance.

Getting holiday insurance with a pre-existing medical condition requires a bit more effort, but we've got some useful insight to show you where to look and what to look out for.

Medical conditions

What's considered a pre-existing medical condition?

We describe a pre-existing condition as one you've suffered from, or received medical advice, treatment (including surgery, tests, investigations by your doctor or consultant or specialist), or been prescribed drugs or medication for in the last 5 years. The medical conditions include any of the following:

  • Any cancer condition (including leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and any type of skin cancer).
  • Any heart-related or blood circulatory condition (including high blood pressure and high cholesterol).
  • Any diabetic condition.
  • Any neurological condition (including stroke, brain haemorrhage, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and dementia).
  • Any breathing condition (including asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
  • Any renal, kidney or liver condition.
  • Any psychiatric or psychological condition (including anxiety, stress and depression).
  • Any chronic condition that can be controlled but not cured (including back pain, Crohn's disease, diverticular and coeliac disease, and ulcerative colitis).
  • And any other medical condition from which you have suffered in the last 12 months for which you've been referred to or been seen by a hospital doctor.

Can I still get travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition?

It's important to declare a condition even if it's not a daily problem for you. You might have been treated for cancer, for example, and have generally made a recovery where you feel few or no daily side effects. But your insurance provider still needs to be made aware.

The same applies to conditions which you have under control with medication, such as angina or mild asthma. A condition of your policy could be to make sure you have your medicine with you, particularly insulin with diabetic travel insurance.

Getting travel insurance with medical conditions isn't an impossible task, and many insurers – us included – cover a range of pre-existing conditions. While we don't have a maximum age for a single trip policy, some insurers do. When you're looking for cover, always shop around to get the best deal.

You'll be expected to answer a medical questionnaire when requesting insurance. It will cover cover mental as well as physical health issues, so the insurer fully understands your needs, and can identify any areas where you might find yourself at risk.

If you have a pre-existing condition and don't disclose it to your insurer, you might void your policy entirely. When it comes to what you should include on your medical questionnaire, follow the rule 'if in doubt, declare it.'

Does my holiday destination affect my insurance?

You should declare your pre-existing conditions no matter where you're going. Some countries – including the United States, China, Hong Kong and Malta – have notoriously expensive private healthcare, and this will impact on any treatments your insurance would pay for, and your quote could reflect this.

Will I still need the cover if I have a GHIC?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) allows you to get state-provided healthcare in EU countries and Switzerland.

The GHIC is only for medically necessary healthcare, and not all state healthcare is free. However, you will be covered for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions that your insurer might not cover.

The GHIC doesn't replace all the health cover in travel insurance, such as the cost of sending you home if you need further assistance.

If you still have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. You can then apply for a GHIC to replace it.

We want you to have the best holiday possible, and not worry about any pre-existing conditions. With the right travel insurance, you can stress less and relax more.

Pre-existing medical conditions

If you're unable to find affordable travel insurance for your medical conditions, the Money Advice Service has introduced a service to help you. For more information:

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