If you live with an existing medical condition like cancer, diabetes or a heart condition, getting the right type of travel insurance can be tough. Here's how to find the best travel insurance for your condition.
Living with an existing medical condition can make day-to-day life difficult but it shouldn’t mean that you can’t explore the world. Whether you’re staying in the UK or going further abroad, we believe you should take every opportunity to make new memories.
Once you’ve booked your break, it’s vital you arrange travel insurance before leaving. You may even want to get quotes before you book to make sure it’s affordable. Having cover protects you against unexpected costs you might incur, should you need medical assistance while you’re away or something more mundane like you lose your luggage, or your flight gets cancelled.
When you buy travel insurance, it’s essential that you declare any pre-existing conditions. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed, are recovering from treatment, living with a long-term medical condition or no longer have a condition, you need to inform your insurance provider.
Unfortunately, several standard travel insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing medical conditions. This can make it difficult to get the type of travel insurance that’s right for you. Thankfully, there are options available to ensure you’re fully covered and allow you to truly relax on your break.
This guide will look at the reasons why you need travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions, where you can find cover, and guidelines on healthcare while travelling in Europe and further afield.
If you’re holidaying overseas, travel insurance is essential. It can provide peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered in case something goes wrong. It can help you in several scenarios, including:
By far, the most common claim that travel insurance companies find is for medical expenses, accounting for around £201 million per year for UK insurers. This is because few countries provide the levels of free healthcare that people are offered by the NHS.
If you’re travelling abroad with a serious medical condition, like cancer, diabetes or heart disease, a comprehensive travel insurance policy will offer a backstop, in case you fall ill and need emergency treatment.
Not only does insurance help cover medical bills, it can cover the cost of travelling back to the UK for further treatment. This can even extend to flying by air ambulance if necessary.
Though there are more options available for travellers with pre-existing conditions, not all insurance providers offer cover that guarantees correct medical care. When you take out travel insurance, you’re paying an amount to the company, in exchange for guaranteeing any emergency medical treatment you might need while you’re away.
If this treatment is particularly costly, it may exceed the premium you originally paid to the insurer, costing them more money. Insurers will look at those who have pre-existing medical conditions and see a higher risk – as you may be more likely to make a medical claim.
To offset additional costs, some insurance companies will either:
Several common medical conditions are widely insured by specialist firms, who offer bespoke packages. Here are a few frequent examples and some guidelines on getting a quote:
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions, providing essential medical treatment prior to you returning home. The simplest way to apply for an EHIC is online. You can do this through the UK government website or the NHS website. Or you can call the EHIC application service on 0300 330 1350.
Medical care is given at a reduced rate in some countries, on a co-payment basis, where you would pay a percentage of the cost towards the treatment you receive. Luckily, these costs can usually be reclaimed through your travel insurance. In most cases, however, treatment is given free of charge.
Please remember that European Health Insurance Cards are not a substitute for insurance. You will need both to get the level of cover you may need for your medical condition.
It’s also worth bearing Brexit in mind. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, your European Health Insurance Card will be invalid. The UK government has advised that you should purchase travel insurance that covers healthcare as it would if you were travelling to a non-EU nation .
Several mainstream companies can provide travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions and will offer tailored packages to suit your unique needs. When you apply for this insurance, try to give as much information about your condition as possible, as it will help them give you an accurate quote.
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