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Travel insurance after a stroke

Around 100,000 people a year in the UK suffer a stroke – a condition that can make finding travel insurance a challenge.

Here’s what you need to know about stroke travel insurance and finding the right cover for a pre-existing medical condition.

Around 100,000 people a year in the UK suffer a stroke – a condition that can make finding travel insurance a challenge.

Here’s what you need to know about stroke travel insurance and finding the right cover for a pre-existing medical condition.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance and finance expert
Last Updated
17 MAY 2023
5 min read
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Can I get travel insurance if I’m a stroke survivor?

Yes, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But you might find travel insurance for stroke sufferers more expensive and restrictive than regular travel insurance.

When you compare travel insurance with us, you’ll be asked to provide details of any pre-existing medical conditions, including whether you’ve ever suffered a stroke.

If you have, there’s no getting away from the fact that you may be quoted a higher premium than you otherwise would be. Depending on the severity of your condition, you might need to buy cover from a travel insurance provider that specialises in pre-existing medical conditions.

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 does stroke travel insurance cover?

Policies may vary between insurance providers, but cover should include:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Emergency repatriation – covers the cost of flying you home, including medical assistance if needed, should you fall ill during your holiday.
  • Cancellation – if you have to cancel or cut short your trip for a valid reason covered by your policy.
  • Lost or stolen baggage – make sure cover includes damage, theft or loss of your medicines and any medical/mobility equipment you take with you.
  • Coronavirus cover – when you get a travel insurance quote with us, it’s easy to compare levels of COVID-19 cover. Just use the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page.

You may also find some specialist stroke travel insurance that offers a higher level of medical cover. And you might be able to add a carer to your policy if they’re accompanying you on your travels.

What do I need to provide to get travel insurance for stroke sufferers?

You’ll have to let your provider know how many strokes you’ve had and how long ago they were. You’ll also be expected to say whether you’re awaiting any surgeries or scans relating to your condition and if you’ve had any transient ischaemic attacks (TIA), also known as mini-strokes.

If you take any medication to thin the blood, you’ll have to declare how much you take and how often.

Will I be approved for travel insurance if I’ve had a stroke?

Once you’ve disclosed your medical history, your travel insurance provider will let you know if they’re willing to cover you. However, this cover could come with some very specific restrictions:

  • Your pre-existing conditions might be covered at a higher premium or with a higher excess.
  • Your cover might come with very specific restrictions about what you can do on your trip – for example, certain sports and activities might be excluded.
  • Your pre-existing conditions might not be covered but you will be insured against any new issues that arise during your trip.

When you compare travel insurance with us, we’ll show you insurance providers that are willing to cover you on the basis of the information you give.

Do I need stroke travel insurance if I have a GHIC card?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which has replaced the EHIC, offers state-provided healthcare in EU countries – but it isn’t a substitute for travel insurance. It doesn’t offer the same range of benefits and dedicated cover as a specialist stroke travel insurance policy.

For example, a GHIC won’t cover you for treatment at a private hospital or repatriation to the UK if medically necessary. It also doesn’t cover non-medical issues like lost baggage or holiday cancellations.

And, confusingly, even though it’s called a ‘global’ health insurance card, the GHIC can’t be used outside of Europe.

Can you fly after a stroke?

The Stroke Association advises that it’s best to avoid flying for the first two weeks after suffering a stroke. However, it’s always advisable to check with your hospital consultant or GP before you fly.

Here’s what to consider when planning your flights after a stroke:

  • Check with your doctor that you’re fit to travel before you book your holiday. You may be asked to avoid flying for the first few weeks after a stroke to avoid any further complications, for example, or advised to stay home immediately after a change in any medication.
  • If you need to travel with medication, make sure you pack it in your hand luggage and take enough with you. Carry a letter from your GP stating the medication you need. It’s always a good idea to get to the airport early to avoid any delays caused by issues around carrying your medication.
  • Check with your airline or other travel provider when you book, or a few days in advance of flying, to confirm any requirements relating to the equipment you’re taking. Most airlines will allow you to carry two mobility items for free but wheelchairs need to be checked in.
  • Keep paper or digital copies of all the information you need to travel. This includes your travel insurance provider’s contact information and any correspondence from airlines or holiday providers regarding your mobility equipment or personal needs.

Top tip

Suffering a stroke shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a holiday. If a stroke means you have restricted mobility, don’t worry. A growing number of specialist travel agencies offer specific packages ranging from tailored accommodation, care and equipment, to organised activities and excursions.

How can I get cheaper travel insurance after a stroke?

Travel insurance for stroke survivors might cost you more, as there’s a higher risk that you may need to make a claim while you’re away. That said, there are ways to cut the cost of your premium:

  • Pay a higher excess – this could result in a cheaper premium, as you’ll be paying more in the event of a claim.
  • Buy annual travel insurance – if you’re a regular traveller, a multi-trip policy could work out cheaper than separate cover every time you travel over a 12-month period.
  • Shop around and compare – we can show you a range of quotes from travel insurance providers who cover medical conditions, saving you time and money. Once you find cover that suits you, organise your insurance as soon as you book your holiday. That way you’re covered in case of cancellation.

Compare travel insurance

We compare policies from some of the market’s leading travel insurance providers. Once you tell us about any pre-existing conditions, where you’ll be going and for how long, we’ll show you which policies are available.

Frequently asked questions

Does it matter where I travel to?

Yes. Long-haul flights increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), especially for those over 60 or with a history of stroke. Be sure to consult with your doctor for prevention strategies before you travel.

Travel insurance can also cost more for some destinations, including the USA, where medical care is very expensive.

It’s worth finding out about medical facilities at your destination in case you need care while you’re away.

Do I have to tell my insurance provider even if I suffered a mild stroke?

Yes, your insurance provider needs to know about any illness or condition that could affect your cover and premium, including anything that’s currently under investigation.

It’s always best to be honest and fully disclose any medical condition, no matter how mild. If you don’t, your policy will probably be void if you try to make a claim that’s connected to your condition.

Do I need travel insurance if I’m holidaying in the UK?

If you take a UK-based trip, any medical treatment you may need will be covered by the NHS. However, travel insurance can still be useful if you want cover for cancellation, and baggage loss or damage.

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Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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