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Travel insurance for heart conditions

Having a heart condition doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a relaxing holiday. While travel insurance with a heart condition can be more expensive, finding the right cover means you can rest easy knowing you’ll be taken care of if anything goes wrong.

Having a heart condition doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a relaxing holiday. While travel insurance with a heart condition can be more expensive, finding the right cover means you can rest easy knowing you’ll be taken care of if anything goes wrong.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
28 APRIL 2023
7 min read
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Can I get travel insurance with a heart condition?

Yes, you can get travel insurance with a heart condition. Providing your doctor has cleared you for travel, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get insurance. The best place to start is with an insurance provider that insures people with pre-existing conditions.

Does someone with a heart condition need travel insurance?

We strongly recommend that all travellers and holidaymakers get adequate travel insurance to cover them while they’re abroad, regardless of whether they suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions. But travel insurance can be especially important if you do suffer from a heart condition.

Choose travel insurance that covers your pre-existing heart condition, and you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered for any medical treatment you need while you’re on holiday. If you do fall seriously ill, travel insurance can also cover repatriation expenses to get you back home.

As well as covering you for lost or stolen baggage, and travel disruption, travel insurance can cover your costs if you need to unexpectedly cancel your trip due to illness, injury or bereavement.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What heart conditions can travel insurance cover?

Providers that offer insurance for pre-existing conditions can cover many types of heart condition, including:

  • Angina
  • Arrhythmia
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Heart attack/myocardial infarction
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Blocked or narrowed arteries
  • Valve disease
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Heart failure
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Heart bypass
  • Vascular disease.

Make sure your travel insurance policy covers all the conditions that relate to your heart and circulation. If your health takes an unexpected bad turn while you’re away, you don’t want to be left footing the bill for your medical treatment just because you weren’t fully covered.

What’s covered by travel insurance for someone with a heart condition?

It can vary, but a travel insurance policy for pre-existing conditions will usually provide cover for the same things as regular policies, including:

The type of cover you need will depend on where you’re going, the activities you’ll be doing and how long you’re going for. You can choose travel insurance for a single trip or annual multi-trip insurance if you’re planning to take more than one trip in a year.

Isn’t standard travel insurance good enough?

Many non-specialist travel insurance providers are reluctant to offer cover to anyone with pre-existing medical conditions. That means anything that’s been diagnosed before you apply for insurance, such as having had a heart attack. It’s because people with pre-existing conditions are considered more likely to make a claim.

Providers always ask that you specify any health conditions before taking out a travel policy. If you do make a claim relating to a pre-existing health condition you didn’t mention, you won’t be able to claim for the cost of medical treatment and your policy may be invalid.

The NHS also recommends declaring all past and present health conditions to make sure you get the specific travel insurance for your needs.

What questions might you be asked about your heart condition?

When you apply for travel insurance for a heart condition, you’ll be asked to answer a medical questionnaire about your health. This is so you can get suitable quotes based on your level of risk. Common questions include:

  • Have you ever been a smoker?
  • Have you been advised to take medication for high blood pressure?
  • Have you ever had a heart bypass, an angioplasty or a coronary stent?
  • Do you suffer from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)?
  • How many (if any) heart attacks have you had?
  • Can you always walk a short distance on the flat with no chest pain, tightness or breathlessness?

Always answer truthfully and give as much information as possible about your heart condition so you get the cover you need.

With insurance, honesty is always the best policy so don’t be tempted to leave any information out. If anything changes to do with your health, let your insurance provider know as this could alter your policy and the price you pay.

How can I travel safely with a heart condition?

If you've recently had heart surgery, you’ll need to follow any rules your airline has about how soon you can fly. The Civil Aviation Authority has guidance about how soon you can fly after surgery, which is set out on the NHS website along with other advice on travelling after surgery.

The NHS also suggests prepping at least four to six weeks before you travel to research your destination, and to sort out your travel insurance and any pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). To keep safe while on holiday, it’s also worth taking a few other precautions:

Speak to your GP

Get advice from your doctor to make sure you’re getting the right insurance cover for your condition and check you’re okay to travel. Get an extra prescription if you need it. Don't forget to ask about whether you need any travel vaccinations or malaria tablets, depending on where you are going.

Scope out the local healthcare

Do your research before you book your trip. While proximity to a hospital doesn’t need to dictate exactly where you stay, it’s a good idea to stay close to a doctor, just in case.

Pack your medication

Bring extra medication and spread it between your suitcase and hand luggage so you have plenty to tide you over in case one is lost.

Bring any pacemaker documents

If you have a pacemaker, you’ll need to notify the airport’s security staff before going through security. Scanners with magnets should be avoided as they can sometimes interfere with a pacemaker’s technology.

Avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

You may be at a greater risk of getting DVT while flying with a heart condition. You can get compression socks for your flight, which should reduce the risk of blood clots, as well as doing gentle leg exercises while you’re in the air. If you’re worried about your risk of DVT, speak to your GP before your trip, as they may be able to prescribe blood-thinning drugs.

Keep travel insurance paperwork handy

It’s important you know where your travel insurance documents are, particularly if there’s an emergency. Email copies of your travel documents to yourself, as well as taking paper copies.

Try to relax

Travelling can be stressful at the best of times, but it’s a necessary step to get to your  holiday destination. Rest when necessary, stay hydrated and, where possible, get assistance to and from gates and planes.

Above all, remember it’s your holiday and you’re going away for a reason – to relax, have a break, and make some memories. While you don’t want to get bogged down in admin before you go, the more you can plan and prepare for your trip, the less chance there is of getting a nasty surprise if you do need to make a claim.

What happens if I need medical treatment abroad?

If you need medical care while you’re away, you should get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible to confirm you’re covered.

You may be asked to pay upfront for your treatment, but you can claim back the cost once you’ve returned home. It’s always handy to have some cash for this, or an emergency credit card on hand. Be sure to get receipts for any medical expenses.

It's also a good idea to take recent doctors’ letters and test results, like ECGs, with you so you can show them to healthcare professionals treating you, if necessary.

Will the GHIC card cover medical treatment for my heart condition?

If you’re travelling in Europe, remember to pack your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), the replacement for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles UK residents to free or reduced-cost state emergency healthcare in EU countries. You can continue to use your EHIC card until it expires.

A GHIC card is not a substitute for travel insurance, though. A GHIC card will only cover your for medically necessary treatment in public healthcare facilities and it won’t cover the costs of emergency repatriation if you fall seriously ill and need to get home.

It also won’t cover you if your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged while you’re on holiday, or you need to cancel your trip because of injury or illness.

How much does travel insurance for someone with a heart condition cost?

You may have to pay extra for your travel insurance if you have a heart condition, to make sure you’ll be covered for any related medical treatment you may need while you’re abroad. The price you’ll pay for your travel insurance depends on the severity of your heart condition and any other health problems you have, but it’s also influenced by other factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Where you’re travelling to
  • How long you’re going away for
  • What activities you have planned
  • How much cover you need for your luggage and holiday cancellation.

It’s a good idea to shop around to make sure you get the right price for the travel cover you need. That’s where we can help. We compare travel insurance from a range of providers, and we’ll only show you quotes that will cover any heart conditions you declare, with no exclusions.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, you should always tell your travel insurance provider about high blood pressure, even if it’s under control with medication.

If you don’t, you might not have a policy that covers your pre-existing medical conditions. This means your provider would have a case for not paying out if you had to claim for treatment related to your blood pressure.

When can I fly after a heart attack?

There are no set rules on this, but the UK Civil Aviation Authority recommends that people with no complications can fly 7-10 days after a heart attack. It’s always best to check with your GP or heart specialist first, though.

And check with your tour operator, airline and travel insurance provider before you jet off as they might have their own policies on flying after a heart attack.

Can I get travel insurance with heart stents?

Yes, you can still find travel insurance to cover you if you’ve undergone an angioplasty procedure or had a heart stent fitted. However, you’ll need to make sure you declare it when applying for travel insurance, along with any other pre-existing medical conditions.

Travel insurance that covers heart conditions may cost more, but it’s vital you’re honest and upfront about your health when taking out cover. If you don’t, any claims you make could be rejected and your policy invalidated.

Can I go to a hot country with a heart condition?

Hot weather can put extra strain on your heart, so it’s important to take care in extreme temperatures. If you’re somewhere hot, keep hydrated, wear a sun hat and try to stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

What if I can’t find holiday insurance for my heart condition?

If you can’t find insurance from a mainstream provider because of a heart condition, that doesn’t mean you need to travel without cover, or that you don’t go at all. There are lots of specialist providers with travel insurance for people with health conditions. They don’t have to cost the earth either, just make sure you’re comparing policies and don’t be tempted to take the first one you see.

Can you get travel insurance for children with heart conditions?

Yes, children who have heart conditions can be covered. You’ll need to declare their conditions when you’re comparing travel insurance. You should be able to add them to your family travel policy, although be aware that pre-existing conditions will add to the cost.

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