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Travel Insurance with Medical Conditions 2024 Guide

In this guide, our team of independent insurance specialists provide all the information that you need to buy the best and cheapest policies for travel insurance with medical conditions in 2024.

Having a pre-existing condition often means that you are more likely to experience medical issues while on holiday. If this happens, you could be faced with extremely expensive medical bills of £100’s or even £1000’s. Bills like this can be unaffordable for many people, especially if they don’t have the extra financial support that a policy like travel insurance offers.

Most travel insurance policies in the UK will provide a minimum of:

  • Cover for medical emergencies and repatriation (can be worth up to £20million or more)
  • Cash payments if you need to cut your trip short or cancel due to your health
  • Cover for loss of valuable personal items

The popular consumer advice site Which? conducted a survey in 2023 which revealed that 61% of UK holidaymakers have a pre-existing medical condition. Around 36% of people surveyed said that they found it harder to buy travel insurance due to their health, which is exactly why it is important to apply through an expert broker.

There are a lot of options for travel insurance policies in the UK, and some will simply work better than others for people with medical conditions. A specialist travel insurance website can quickly compare policies and prices, to find you the most suitable and budget-friendly travel insurance policies.

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60-Second Summary – Travel Insurance with Medical Conditions 2024 Guide

Our experienced insurance experts have written this guide to answer the UK’s main questions about buying travel insurance when you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Specialist travel insurance for medical conditions will protect you financially against unexpected events like flight cancellations, medical emergencies, and loss of luggage. This can save you a significant amount of money if something unexpected happens before or during your next holiday.

  • Prices for travel insurance with medical conditions can often be very affordable, especially if you have a milder condition or minimal symptoms. Pricing can start at less than £10, with different levels of cover to choose from.
  • People with medical conditions have a choice of several types of travel insurance policy, including individual, couples, and family policies.
  • Several UK travel insurance companies specialise in medical conditions travel insurance and will be able to provide higher levels of cover for medical emergencies.
  • It is very important to declare any medical conditions that you are asked about, or you risk there being issues when you need to make a claim. The insurance company could even invalidate your entire policy and leave you without any cover.

    Travel insurance is often available for people with medical conditions and can be extremely affordable in most cases. If you have a mild condition that is unlikely to cause issues while you are away, you may even be able to buy a policy with no increase in pricing at all.

    Some travel insurance companies specialise in covering people with medical conditions, such as Good to Go Insurance who claim to cover all medical conditions with no upper age limits.

    Goodtogoinsurance.com Medical Travel Insurance TV Advert

    If your condition is more serious, you may have to pay slightly more to ensure that you have the right level of cover for any medical emergencies or other related issues (e.g. needing to cancel your trip due to your health).

    The best approach when buying travel insurance for medical conditions is to apply via a specialist travel insurance broker. If you apply through a mainstream company or non-specialist, you may not be able to get the cover that you need or you could end up paying far more than you should.

    A pre-existing medical condition is any medical condition where you have been diagnosed, received treatment, or experienced symptoms before buying a travel insurance policy.

    It can be possible to buy a standard travel insurance policy if you have medical conditions, but you will need to answer any medical questions honestly. If you hide any details about your medical history, your travel insurance company might refuse to pay out if you need medical treatment while abroad.

    Our independent experts explain more about how pre-existing conditions affect different types of insurance in our full guide ‘What is a Pre-existing Medical Condition?’.

    You should declare any medical conditions that you have when applying for travel insurance, or you risk ending up with a policy that is invalid or not suitable for you.

    There are a range of medical risks to travelling abroad and treatment costs can be very expensive if you are taken ill.

    People with diabetes for example could face medical issues due to lost insulin, hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia and more. Having travel insurance means you will be able to get the care that you need, without worrying about the cost of expensive medical bills.

    How far back do you have to declare medical conditions for travel insurance?

    Most travel insurance companies will ask if you’ve received treatment, experienced symptoms, or been diagnosed with conditions within a set time before buying your policy. This is commonly 2 years or 5 years depending on the company that you apply to.

    It is unlikely that you would need to disclose conditions from 10 or 20 years ago unless they’re still having an impact on your health (e.g. a long-term or ‘chronic’ medical condition).

    What pre-existing conditions are not covered?

    The terms and conditions for travel insurance policies will often state that any pre-existing conditions that have not been disclosed will not be covered. This means that if you haven’t mentioned something, you won’t be able to claim for it if you need to.

    Other common things that you can’t claim for (exclusions) include medical treatment because of drug or alcohol abuse, or treatment due to an injury or illness caused by illegal activities.

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    Several specialist travel insurance companies will provide extra cover for people with pre-existing conditions. Even mainstream providers like Post Office will often provide cover for common conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

    Most travel insurance policies will provide some level of cover for emergency medical treatment, which can offer much-needed support if you experience medical issues while on holiday.

    If you have a serious pre-existing condition, a specialist policy can be more suitable compared to standard travel insurance. These policies will usually offer a higher amount of medical cover, plus additional cover for events such as loss or damage to medications or medical equipment.

    Travel insurance companies will always ask questions about your trip and other personal details when you apply. This includes questions about any potentially dangerous activities on your trip (e.g. snowboarding), as well as requesting information about your health and medical history.

    These questions are designed to help the insurance company assess if they can offer you cover and what price you should pay.

    Most travel insurance applications will ask you questions about your health and lifestyle, with common questions including:

    • Have you been diagnosed with a terminal illness? (could still get cover in some cases but options will be more limited)
    • In the last 5 years, have you suffered from a recurring medical condition?
    • In the last 5 years, has a doctor referred you to a specialist or consultant?
    • Have you been diagnosed with any mental health conditions?
    • Are you currently waiting for results from scans, tests, or investigations?
    • Have you been referred for scans, tests, or investigations that haven’t happened yet?

    If you don’t answer these questions honestly, you may end up with a policy that isn’t suitable for you. You should always declare your medical history to avoid unpleasant surprises, such as your cover being deemed invalid right when you need to claim.

    Not every travel insurance policy will offer the same level of protection, so it is a good idea to check your policy documents carefully. Specialist medical travel insurance policies will usually include additional cover for things like emergency medical expenses and replacement medication.

    They will also include standard travel insurance benefits, protecting you against unexpected events like:

    • Missed flights
    • Cancelled flights
    • Lost or stolen personal belongings
    • Lost or delayed baggage
    • Lost or stolen medication
    • Hospitalisation

    You can also adjust your cover, tailoring it to where you plan to go or to the activities that you will be doing while you are away. You can get cover for:

    Travel Insurance provider reviews

    When applying for travel insurance you have two main options, single trip cover and annual cover.

    • Single trip cover: This policy covers you for one specified amount of time (e.g. one week, two weeks)
    • Annual travel cover: This policy covers you for all trips that take place within one year (12 months)

    If you are someone who travels a lot (e.g. for work) or just happens to have a few holidays coming up, annual cover could work out better for you than buying several policies.

    Annual cover is often cheaper for frequent travellers and saves you the hassle of multiple travel insurance applications. If you’re only travelling once or twice, single policies could be more cost-effective, so you should consider which option might work best for you.

    Prices for travel insurance with medical conditions can start at under £10 for less serious medical conditions. As with any type of insurance, there are a few different factors that will affect how much you pay for your travel insurance policy.

    The price of your travel cover will be based on things like:

    • Your age
    • If you need individual, couples, or family cover
    • The length of trip
    • Type of cover (single trip or annual cover)
    • Type of holiday (standard holiday, cruise etc)
    • Destination (e.g. European or Worldwide)

    If you have medical conditions, the price of your policy can also be affected by:

    • Height and weight
    • How long ago were you diagnosed?
    • Do you have multiple medical conditions?
    • How severe are your symptoms?
    • Have you been hospitalised before due to your medical condition?
    • Have you had any complications?
    • Are you on treatment/medication for your condition?

    While your health can affect the cost of your policy, the price difference can be minimal and in some cases, there won’t be any price difference. It really depends on the exact medical condition that you have, your symptoms, and which insurance company you apply to.

    Below, our independent insurance experts have put together tables to highlight the difference in travel insurance prices for the UK’s most common medical conditions. Based on information from Post Office, these conditions are considered ‘common’ when applying for travel insurance:

    For these examples, we have generated quotes for single-trip travel insurance for a 7-day trip to a European destination (Spain). We are providing a rough guide of the lowest prices that you might expect to see for different age groups (e.g. age 30 – age 35), based on all the quotes generated by our insurance experts.

    Medical conditionPerson’s ageCost of cover (£s)
    No medical conditionsAge 20 – 25£8.68 – £9.58
    No medical conditionsAge 30 – 35£7.56 – £7.88
    No medical conditionsAge 40 – 45£8.05 – £8.57
    No medical conditionsAge 50 – 55£9.00 – £10.15

    Medical conditionPerson’s ageCost of cover (£s)
    DiabetesAge 20 – 25£9.58 – £9.75
    DiabetesAge 30 – 35£9.04 – £9.58
    DiabetesAge 40 – 45£10.00 – £11.35
    DiabetesAge 50 – 55£10.00 – £13.41

    Note: In this example, the customers take insulin for their diabetes but have no complications such as retinopathy or nephropathy.

    Medical conditionPerson’s ageCost of cover (£s)
    High blood pressureAge 20 – 25£9.58 – £9.75
    High blood pressureAge 30 – 35£9.04 – £10.00
    High blood pressureAge 40 – 45£10.00 – £11.93
    High blood pressureAge 50 – 55£13.41 – £13.98

    Note: In this example, the customers take one form of medication for high blood pressure but have no complications or related conditions.

    Medical conditionPerson’s ageCost of cover (£s)
    High cholesterolAge 20 – 25£9.58 (no price changes)
    High cholesterolAge 30 – 35£9.58 (no price changes)
    High cholesterolAge 40 – 45£10.00 (no price changes)
    High cholesterolAge 50 – 55£10.00 – £13.98

    Note: In this example, the customers are non-smokers and have no complications or related conditions.

    Medical conditionPerson’s ageCost of cover (£s)
    AsthmaAge 20 – 25£15.22 – £15.63
    AsthmaAge 30 – 35£13.24 – £13.80
    AsthmaAge 40 – 45£14.64 – £15.58
    AsthmaAge 50 – 55£15.58 – £16.35

    Note: In this example, the customers are non-smokers, have been prescribed 1 – 2 asthma medications, will use a nebuliser, but have had no recent hospital admissions.

    As you can see, prices for medical conditions travel insurance are often extremely similar to standard pricing. In most cases, travel insurance will still be affordable, and a specialist broker can help if you’re struggling to find a suitable price.

    You will have to answer a few extra medical questions, but buying travel insurance with medical conditions shouldn’t take much longer than buying a standard policy.

    You might find that some mainstream insurers won’t be able to offer cover for your condition, or that they would charge extremely high prices. This is why it is always best to apply via a medical travel insurance broker who will have access to specialist policies that can help.

    There aren’t any travel insurance policies in the UK that offer ‘medical only’ cover, as they will usually cover you for other events too. It is standard for travel insurance to also cover things like flight delays and lost or stolen personal items.

    If you have private health insurance, you may be able to add on ‘overseas travel cover’, which would allow you to use some of the benefits of your policy while travelling. This would be the closest match to a ‘medical only’ policy, but there will usually be an extra cost to add this benefit to your cover (see Private Health Insurance guide).

    It can be extremely expensive to pay for medical treatment if you become ill or are injured while you are abroad. This could cost you £100’s or even £1000’s depending on the medical problem and the country that you are visiting.

    If you have a history of medical issues, there is a higher risk that you will need medical treatment while you are away. This could cost you a small fortune if you’re not insured, leaving you in significant financial difficulty if you can’t afford the treatment that you need.

    This is exactly why travel insurance exists, to provide extra financial support in these situations. Travel insurance policies will usually cost you a small fraction of the price of treatment for a serious medical emergency.

    Is it worth having a GHIC?

    A Global Health Insurance Card or ‘GHIC’ can be used to help with the cost of medical treatment when travelling within the European Union. These cards replaced the previously used European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but any valid EHICs can be used until they expire.

    Global Health Insurance Cards are very worthwhile as they are completely free and can be used for minor medical issues if you don’t want to make a travel insurance claim.

    You can apply for your GHIC on the NHS website here: NHS – Get healthcare cover abroad

    If your GHIC or EHIC is lost or stolen, you should report this by calling 0330 330 150 or emailing nhsbsa.ghicenquiries@nhs.net.

    Note: A GHIC will always be free, so be wary of any sites that ask you to pay as this is likely to be a scam. The safest thing is to only apply for your card via the official NHS website.

    Does the NHS cover medical bills abroad?

    The NHS generally won’t cover the cost of your medical care while you are on holiday and will never cover the cost of emergency care while abroad. The NHS launched the EHIC and GHIC cards instead, which can be used to help with the cost of minor medical issues.

    The NHS might be able to fund pre-planned medical treatment within the EU, as well as in countries like Switzerland. This will depend on your eligibility, and it would all need to be pre-approved by the NHS before you travel.

    Be aware, that most travel insurance policies will state that they won’t pay out for pre-planned medical treatments. You will not be able to claim for the costs associated with pre-planned surgeries or treatments outside of the UK.

    What are the most common medical conditions in the UK?

    Based on information published by the Office for National Statistics, the most common medical conditions in the UK are allergies, high blood pressure, lower back pain, and depression.

    Allergies are the UK’s most common chronic condition, which would include things such as hayfever, food allergies, and allergies to pet fur or certain medications.


    Do travel insurers check medical records?

    If the travel insurance company feels that it is necessary, they might request access to your medical records before approving an application or claim. You won’t need to get this information yourself, and will usually sign a form that gives them to ask for this information on your behalf.


    What medical conditions do All Clear travel insurance cover?

    All Clear is a popular travel insurance company and the claim to cover common medical conditions including diabetes, heart conditions, stroke, respiratory conditions, and arthritis.


    What medical conditions can you not fly with?

    NHS Scotland’s ‘Fit for Travel’ service states that they would not advise you to fly if:

    • You suffer from angina or chest pain while resting
    • You have an infectious condition that could be passed on (e.g. chickenpox)
    • You have recently had a heart attack or stroke
    • You have a punctured lung
    • You have recently had an operation that could have trapped air in your body
    • You have an infection in your ear or sinuses
    • You are a baby that was born less than 48 hours ago
    • You are over 36 weeks pregnant (32 weeks for twins, triplets etc.)
    • If you have a medical condition that could be affected by travelling, you should check that your GP or specialist would declare you ‘fit to fly’ before you travel.

    The medical travel insurance policy that is the ‘best’ will vary from person to person. The main thing is to get a policy that covers everything that you need at a price that works for your budget.

    While some insurance companies consistently appear to be ‘budget-friendly’ options, they may not be the right choice for every medical condition. This is why you should apply through a medical travel insurance specialist to ensure you have access to specialist providers and fairly priced quotes from across the market.

    You should contact your insurance company as soon as you can, if you realise that you need to make a travel insurance claim. There are a few reasons you might need to claim on your travel insurance policy such as:

    • Cancelled trip
    • Lost luggage
    • Medical treatment
    • Repatriation to the UK
    • Replacement medication or medical equipment
    • Lost passport

    The travel insurance claims process should be simple, with a few easy steps to complete. You will have to:

    1. Contact your insurers as soon as you can once you know that you need to claim
    2. Talk to them and have them confirm (verbally) that they will cover the cost of medical care or treatment (if this is what you are claiming for)
    3. Have your claim approved or declined
    4. Receive your payment if your claim is successful

    You should get a report from the police for any items that are lost or stolen during your trip, as insurers will want to see this before approving a claim. Don’t forget to keep receipts and proof of payment for anything you will claim for later (e.g. replacement clothes if your luggage is lost).

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    If you aren’t happy with your travel insurance company, you should contact them as soon as possible to try and resolve the issue. Most insurance companies will have a dedicated complaints team that you can talk to, with contact details readily available on their website or in your policy documents.

    If you believe that you have been caused undue distress or financial loss because of your policy, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. In some situations, they may rule for you to be awarded compensation if they think you have been treated unfairly.

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    Making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

    The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an impartial and free service for financial services customers in the UK. This service can be used to settle any disputes between life insurance companies and their customers in the United Kingdom. If they feel that you have suffered any financial loss as a result of your life insurance policy, then they may rule for compensation to be awarded.

    Telephone – 0800 023 4567 (or 0300 123 9123)

    Telephone (outside the UK) – 0207 964 0500

    Emailcomplaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

    There are literally millions of people in the UK living with medical conditions every day and of course, many of them will still want to go on holiday.

    It is possible to get travel insurance to protect yourself, even if you have one or more medical conditions. If you need help with comparing the UK’s best travel insurance quotes, you can CLICK HERE to get the cheapest online quotes.

    You will need to answer a few basic medical questions, as well as questions about your holiday. Then our brilliant travel insurance partners will get to work to find you quotes for the best cover with the lowest pricing.

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    What does Martin Lewis say about travel insurance?

    Martin Lewis provides lots of guidance for holidaymakers who are searching for the best deals on their travel insurance. One of the biggest recommendations from Martin Lewis travel insurance advice is ‘ASAB’ (As Soon As you Book), which basically translates to suggesting that you should buy your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.

    In an interview on This Morning talking to Martin Lewis about travel insurance, he claims that he is constantly being asked by consumers, “what can I do if I’ve been diagnosed with a medical problem and I can’t go on holiday because my travel company won’t give me a refund?”. According to Martin Lewis travel insurance recommendations, 50% of the value of your travel insurance cover is before you are due to travel.

    Top reasons for holiday cancellations before travelling:

    • Sickness or illness
    • Accidents causing an injury
    • Emergency at home
    • Family emergency
    • Work commitments
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    Is it worth taking out travel insurance?

    Almost all financial experts such as Martin Lewis and citizensadvice.org.uk, strongly recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy and that you do it quickly. The financial and emotional impact of not having travel insurance while overseas can be catastrophic if you require medical treatment or if you are victim of a crime.

    The cost of travel insurance is generally affordable for most holidaymakers and you should factor this in to the cost of your holiday. Risking not having travel insurance and then having a medical emergency when you are overseas, especially in certain destinations, can cost you thousands.

    What does travel insurance cover?

    Most travel insurance policies will provide the same core elements such as medical emergencies, repatriation, legal expenses, loss, theft or damage to personal belongings, and cancellation or curtailment of your trip. The types and levels of cover can vary dramatically from one policy to another so you should make sure that you’re getting the cover that you want and that you need.

    Also, some travel insurance policies won’t cover you for certain destinations, activities or types of holidays, such as:

    • Cruise holidays
    • Winter sports
    • Worldwide travel
    • Pre-existing medical conditions

    Note: Travel insurance will generally exclude any accident or injury that has happened whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    What is classed as a pre-existing medical condition for travel insurance?

    According to one of the UK’s top travel insurance providers, Staysure clearly states that ‘you must declare ALL pre-existing medical conditions when your take out a travel insurance policy’. Witholding any information about your health or medical history could expose you to the risks of rendering your cover invalid and therefore class any claims as ‘null and void’.

    Any of the following pre-existing conditions must always be disclosed on your travel insurance application:

    • Cardiovascular conditions (e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease etc.)
    • Cancer(s)
    • Any Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

    You should also let your travel insurance provider know about any of the following medical investigations, tests or treatments in the past two years:

    • Symptoms (whether or not you have consulted a doctor)
    • Medication or treatments
    • Scans or investigations
    • Medical appointments and check-ups
    • Surgery
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    How much should I spend on travel insurance?

    According to a recent travel insurance survey carried out by Forbes Advisor’s Analysis (Average cost of travel insurance 2023), the average cost of travel insurance is between 5% and 6% of the cost of your trip.

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