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Travel insurance for diabetics

If you’re one of the 4.3 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, having diabetic travel insurance means one less thing to worry about while you’re relaxing on your holiday.

But with so many different travel insurance policies for diabetics available, what’s the right one to choose? Read our guide to make sure you get the right cover.

If you’re one of the 4.3 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, having diabetic travel insurance means one less thing to worry about while you’re relaxing on your holiday.

But with so many different travel insurance policies for diabetics available, what’s the right one to choose? Read our guide to make sure you get the right cover.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
16 MAY 2023
6 min read
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How much is diabetic travel insurance?

Having a pre-existing condition like diabetes could mean you pay more for your travel insurance. This is because insurance providers might see you as more likely to make a claim on your policy. But it’s not the only thing that affects the price of your travel insurance.

Travel insurance providers will look at the severity of your diabetes, alongside other factors like your age, where you’re going on holiday and for how long.

We know affordability is important, but the cheapest travel insurance for diabetics might not always be the best policy for you.

What you want is the right level of cover at the right price, so you’ll be properly cared for if you do become unwell when you’re away. Getting the right travel insurance is the priority.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions 

An insurance provider might increase the price of insurance if you have a serious pre-existing health condition or refuse to sell a policy to you at all. This is where specialist providers come into play, and there are many that could offer you affordable cover for many different health conditions.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

Why do I need diabetic holiday insurance?

Diabetic travel insurance should ensure that you’ll be able get the help you need quickly if anything happens to your medication while you’re away. And the cancellation and emergency medical assistance section of the policy can extend to cover any unplanned complications of your diabetes.

This means you’ll be safely covered in case of an emergency, such as having to stay in hospital while abroad or if you're forced to miss your flight home.

Travelling as a diabetic means your daily routine may be different and it might be harder to access medical care if you need it. So while it’s not compulsory to buy diabetic travel insurance, it’s a great option for peace of mind.

It’s essential to check the small print of diabetic travel insurance policies before you buy, as cover can vary between providers. The best policy for you will depend on where you’re going, what kind of trip you have planned, your budget and the level of cover you’re after.

Will insurance providers ask about my diabetes?

Whether you’re looking for travel insurance for type 1 diabetes or travel insurance for type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to answer some questions about your condition when you apply. These may include:

  • What medication do you take to manage your diabetes?
  • Have you had to go to hospital because of your diabetes in the past few years?
  • Do you have high blood pressure or problems with cholesterol? 
  • Do you suffer from any other health conditions that are caused by or related to your diabetes, such as nerve damage, or problems with your feet, vision or kidneys?

It’s important to be honest about your diabetes and any other medical conditions you have when you take out travel insurance. After all, the medical cover won’t be much use to you if your claim is rejected.

Bear in mind that an insurance provider may ask to see your medical records to make sure the information you’ve supplied in your application is correct.

What does diabetic travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance for diabetics should include cover for the same things as standard travel insurance but tailored to your specific needs as a diabetic. Cover typically includes:

  • Medical expenses — to cover any necessary medical treatment you need while on holiday. Compare the cover limits for medical treatment offered by each policy  and make sure you’re covered for repatriation to get you home to the UK in a medical emergency.
  • Travel disruption — to cover you if you miss flights or connections for reasons out of your control. As a diabetic, you should make sure your policy covers you in case you miss your flight home because of your condition.
  • Holiday cancellation — to cover your costs if you have to cancel or cut your trip short due to an unforeseen, covered reason.  Check that your diabetic travel insurance covers those that are travelling with you in case their holiday is affected by you becoming poorly.
  • Lost or stolen baggage — to cover the cost of replacing or repairing your personal belongings if they’re lost, stolen or damaged on holiday. Make sure your policy includes the cost of replacing any medication you’re taking with you.

How should I prepare for my trip?

Preparation is a crucial step to getting the most out of your holiday,  especially when you have diabetes.

Before you pack your swimming costume or sunglasses, make sure you’ve ticked the following points off your list.

  • Carry a GP’s letter and diabetes ID – it should state the medication you need and what you’re carrying.
  • Take double the amount of medical supplies you think you’ll need for your holiday, in case some get lost or damaged, or you need to stay longer than planned.
  • Research where you can pick up insulin on your trip and take a recent prescription with you.
  • Remember that your insulin and blood glucose monitor may be affected in hot or cold climates.
  • Before you go, talk to your doctor or diabetes care team about dealing with changes to time zones in relation when to take your insulin.
  • If you use an insulin pump or have a continuous glucose monitor, you should contact your airline in advance to discuss the devices you want to take on board.
  • Take your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if you’re travelling to the EU. You can apply for a free GHIC on the NHS website. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it’ll be valid until its expiry date.
  • And don’t forget travel insurance!

Tips for travelling as a diabetic

  • Carry your insulin in your hand luggage, ideally in a cool bag.
  • Pack extra snacks in case of delays.
  • If you’re flying, get to the airport early to avoid any last-minute problems around carrying your medication in your carry-on. Have the letter from your GP handy to prove to security that you’re carrying essential medicines.
  • Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors can be damaged by the x-rays and body scanners used by airport security. You can download a Medical Awareness Card to alert security staff to your needs. Be aware that any luggage you check in the hold will also go through x-ray machines.
  • If you use a pump, take spare insulin pens with you in case the pump gets damaged.
  • When you get to your destination, store your insulin in a fridge or cool bag. Heat can damage insulin and stop it from working properly. Don’t use insulin that’s brown or cloudy.
  • Alternatively, if you’re heading on a winter adventure, take precautions to make sure your insulin doesn’t freeze.
  • Have the contact details of your diabetes care team with you, just in case, along with a copy of your travel insurance policy terms and the emergency helpline number.

How do I choose the best travel insurance for diabetics?

The quickest way to compare insurance is to use our travel insurance comparison tool.

Simply enter your details and tell us a bit about you and your pre-existing medical conditions. Within a few short minutes, we’ll show you the travel insurance policies we have available so you can find the right policy for your needs.

If you’re unsure about anything, ask the insurance provider before you buy to find out exactly what cover the policy provides.
Then, once you’ve found a policy that’s right for you, you can jet off on your holidays with complete peace of mind, knowing everything is taken care of.

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Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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