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Pre-existing medical conditions travel insurance

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Can I get travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions?

You can still get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes. However, you may need a specialist policy as not all providers offer cover for pre-existing conditions in a standard policy. 

What is considered a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is an illness or injury that exists before, or at the time, you take out an insurance policy.

A list of most common pre-existing medical conditions include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • respiratory problems including asthma
  • joint and bone inflammation
  • chronic illnesses such as cancer or stomach problems

Even non-physical conditions such as anxiety or depression should be disclosed to your insurance provider.

Pregnancy isn't usually considered to be a medical condition and your insurance should cover you if you have a pregnancy-related emergency abroad (providing you haven't had any complications beforehand) and you're less than 37 weeks pregnant or 33 weeks pregnant with twins. As this can vary among insurance providers, it's advisable to check directly with your provider before you travel.

Frequently asked questions

Will an insurance provider approve my application?

Potential insurance providers will want to know about your medical history. They’ll ask for quite detailed information, so be prepared to answer specific questions about your health. If you don't provide accurate information about your medical history it may invalidate your policy.

You’ll be asked how severe your pre-existing condition is (or was when you last experienced symptoms) and what medication you took.

It might seem intrusive, but this information helps insurance providers build up a picture of what the likelihood is of you needing medical aid while you’re on holiday.  

Once you’ve disclosed all the required information, a travel insurance provider may:

  • offer cover on standard terms despite your condition
  • refuse to cover the pre-existing condition, but offer to insure you on standard terms for any new issues that may arise while on holiday
  • offer cover with other restrictions or special terms
  • offer cover with a higher excess
  • offer cover that includes the pre-existing condition, but increase the normal premium, perhaps by a significant amount
  • decline your application outright

If you can’t find an insurance provider, then it’s worth contacting a charity connected to your condition as they may be able to direct you to one that will cover you.

Does it matter where I’m travelling to?

Where you’re travelling to could also impact on the price of your insurance. 

For example, the following countries all have a high level of private health care, therefore it costs more to receive treatment there. 

As a result, you might find it’s more expensive to get cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition and you’re visiting any of these countries.

To give you an idea of the costs of medical care and repatriation, when a UK traveller recently suffered a stroke in the USA, £768,000 was paid to cover the medical costs, including £60,000 for an air ambulance back home.

Your travel insurance won’t cover you if you are travelling to a country that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) doesn’t consider to be safe. If you’re not sure, check the FCO website.

Do I still need travel insurance if I have an EHIC and am going to Europe?

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), is not a substitute for travel cover. 

It will only provide you with the same state healthcare as the locals; it won’t pay for repatriation and it won’t cover specialist treatment or stays in private hospitals.

Be aware, that it’s valid in most but not all European countries, such as the Channel Islands, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican.

If you’re going outside the EU there’s no EHIC, of course, so it can be expensive to get medical support. However, we do have reciprocal agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands and others. 

Where can I find a good deal on travel insurance?

Looking for travel insurance even with a pre-existing medical condition is easier when you search with us. Just tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re off to and how long for, and we’ll do the rest. Don't forget, it's sensible to organise your travel insurance as soon as your holiday is booked in case of cancellation and it also means you are not trying to find insurance at the last minute, particularly if you have a pre-existing condition.

We have a wide range of providers on our panel that can provide an online quote for the majority of customers with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as specialist providers that are able to provide an offline quote to those with extreme medical conditions (terminal conditions).

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