Travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

While it might be more expensive, you can still get travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions.

If you’ve had to go to hospital or even your local GP in recent years you might be wondering if you need to declare this when you’re applying for travel insurance.

Unfortunately, health is one of the key factors behind whether your insurance quotes will be cheap or expensive. Or indeed whether you can even get a travel insurance policy at all.

In this guide we explain which pre-existing medical conditions you need to declare and what your options are should you get rejected.

What is medical travel insurance?

Many travel insurance policies will refuse to cover anyone who has serious pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. So medical travel insurance is essentially a type of policy which will give you the additional cover you need for your illness or injury.

It’s key that you’re upfront about any pre-existing condition when shopping around for travel insurance as you could well need this additional cover should anything happen while abroad. If you don’t, the insurer might void your policy, leaving you in hospital with mounting bills.

When do you need to declare a medical condition?

For most policies, you’ll have to tell the insurer about any medical conditions you’ve had in the last two years. So, you’ll need to mention to your potential insurer:

  • Any advice, treatment or prescriptions from doctors.
  • Investigation of health or waiting for diagnosis.
  • Being on an inpatient waiting list.
  • Being aware that you need inpatient treatment.

What is considered a pre-existing condition for travel insurance?

A pre-existing medical condition is an illness or injury that you have suffered from before, or at the time, you sign up to a travel insurance policy.

Different insurance companies have their own list of injuries and illnesses they will or won’t cover, so you’ll need to check when you’re applying for a quote.

However, the following are some of the most common pre-existing medical conditions people have to declare.

  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory problems including asthma
  • Heart conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Joint and bone inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Stomach problems
  • Any diagnosed psychological or psychiatric disorder (including anxiety or depression)
  • Any condition you’re taking prescribed medication for

Reasons you might be excluded from travel insurance

Unfortunately, there are reasons why insurance companies will refuse to cover your medical condition.

    • Your condition is deemed too high-risk.
    • If you’re not deemed fit to travel by a doctor.
    • You’re travelling with a terminal prognosis.
    • You’re travelling to receive medical treatment in a different country.
    • You’re going to a country like the United States or the Caribbean where healthcare is expensive.

How do I get travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions?

After you’ve declared you have a pre-existing medication condition your potential insurer will do a medical screening, asking several detailed questions about your injury or illness.

These will be along the lines of, “when did you last experience symptoms?” or “what medication did you take for it?”. After this, the insurer will do one of the following:

    • Offer you a standard insurance policy despite your condition.
    • Offer you insurance but at a much higher price.
    • Refuse to insure you completely.
    • Hit you with certain restrictions, exclusions, special terms or higher excess payments.

Other important factors to consider

    • Country. Places like the United States and the Caribbean have expensive healthcare systems, so this could affect not only the price of medical insurance, but if you get offered a deal at all.
    • EHIC. With a trip to the EU or countries like Switzerland, Iceland or Norway you can use a European Health Insurance Card, which lets you use their local healthcare at the same cost as a local. While you would need travel insurance for cancellations, personal liability and baggage, at least the medical side would be covered.
    • Number of travellers. Group insurance policies are based on the oldest traveller or the person deemed as the highest risk. So if this isn’t you, getting a separate policy might be cheaper.

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