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Travel insurance for cancer patients

Our guide on travel insurance for cancer patients

Jake Edmonds
Written by  Jake Edmonds
10 min read
Updated: 30 Jan 2024

If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, a holiday can give you the time and space to come to terms with the illness. Alternatively, it could be that you need a few days away to recuperate from cancer treatment. You might even want to go on holiday to celebrate the all-clear.

Navigating travel insurance for Cancer patients: A comprehensive guide

Travel insurance is an essential consideration for anyone planning a trip abroad, offering peace of mind by covering potential mishaps such as lost luggage, cancellations, curtailment, and medical expenses. However, for cancer patients or those in remission, securing travel insurance can be a daunting and often more costly task. This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of obtaining travel insurance for those affected by cancer, providing guidance and resources to ensure safe and secure travel.

Traveller sitting in the sand

Can I get travel insurance if I have cancer?

For cancer patients, the quest for travel insurance can be fraught with challenges. The higher likelihood of needing to make a claim can lead to higher premiums or even outright coverage exclusions for cancer-related issues. Here's what you need to know:

  • Higher costs: Unfortunately, cancer patients may face more expensive policies due to the increased risk perceived by insurers.

  • Coverage exclusions: Some insurers may not cover claims related to cancer, which could leave you paying out of pocket for any cancellations or treatments needed while abroad. Mainstream insurers might agree to insure a trip but exclude cover for any claim related to cancer.

  • Specialist providers: There are firms that specialise in offering comprehensive policies for those with pre-existing conditions, including cancer. These policies might come with higher premiums but can provide the coverage you need.

  • Medical details required: Insurers will typically require detailed information about your cancer diagnosis, including the stage, grade, prognosis, and a doctor's confirmation of your fitness to travel. They may ask specific questions regarding the cancer diagnosis and require a letter from your doctor.

Can I get travel insurance if I have recovered from cancer?

Surviving cancer is an incredible feat, and it's natural to want to celebrate life by traveling. However, even in remission, you may need to seek out specialist cover:

  • Specialist cover post-remission: Policies vary widely on when they will insure someone post-recovery, with some insuring patients who have been clear for three months and others refusing cover for several years.

  • Doctor's confirmation: Nearly all insurers will ask for a letter from your doctor confirming your remission status and that you're fit to travel.

  • Honesty is key: Being upfront about your health and medical history is crucial. Failure to disclose your condition can result in denied claims or voided policies.

Are there limitations on where I can travel to?

Cancer does not have to limit your travel destinations, but it's important to consider the cost of medical care in the countries you're visiting:

  • Varied medical costs: Medical expenses can vary greatly by country, with some destinations, like the U.S., known for particularly high costs.

  • Travel to the U.S.: In fact, travel insurance for terminal cancer patients is usually more expensive if you are heading to the US. This is because of the high cost of medical bills in the country. If your cancer is incurable, you may not have the chance to obtain travel insurance for the US at all.

What protection does a GHIC card offer?

A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) can be a valuable asset for travellers:

  • Access to healthcare: The GHIC allows you to access state-provided healthcare in Switzerland and EEA countries at the same cost as a local resident.

  • Not a substitute: It's important to note that the GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not cover repatriation costs. You might, for example, need to cancel the holiday because of ill health or seek expensive medical treatment while you are away. In some circumstances, you might need to be repatriated to the UK from abroad, which can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

What else do I need to consider?

When planning your trip, there are several additional considerations to keep in mind:

  • Medical advice: Always seek medical advice before traveling and carry all necessary medical documents with you, including details of your diagnosis, treatment, and medication, plus contact details for your doctor in the UK.

  • Destination choice: Choose your destination wisely, taking into account the length and comfort of the journey.

  • Healthcare standards: Research the healthcare standards of your destination and consider how vaccinations may affect a compromised immune system.

  • Medical equipment and medication: Check restrictions on medical equipment and medication for flights and obtain the necessary documentation. Ask airlines about restrictions on medical equipment and take advice on dispensing medication in different time zones.

  • DVT precautions: Take precautions against deep vein thrombosis (DVT), especially if you have forms of cancer that increase susceptibility to DVT, and ensure you have access to your medication abroad.

Where can I find more advice on travel insurance for cancer patients?

For more advice and travel tips, visiting the Cancer Research UK website is highly recommended. Cancer charities often provide comprehensive guidelines for traveling with cancer, and you may find personal stories and tips on relevant websites. For instance, Cancer Research UK has a full page dedicated to travel advice and information for cancer sufferers wishing to go abroad. You can also visit Macmillan’s website, where you will find valuable tips from people who are in a similar situation.

Looking for travel insurance for cancer patients?

If you’re a cancer sufferer looking for appropriate travel insurance, finding the right deal can be difficult. That’s where MoneySuperMarket comes in. We can help you compare prices and policies from a range of leading insurers, tailored to those with pre-existing medical conditions. Just provide us with a few details about you and your medical history, and we’ll take care of the rest. If you still can’t find cover, it may be that your condition doesn’t align with our provider's requirements however, the Money and Pension Service (MaPs) have a list of specialist insurers that could give you some options to explore, visit their website or call them on 0800 138 7777.

Traveling with cancer can present unique challenges, but with careful planning and the right insurance in place, you can embark on your journey with confidence. Remember, your health and well-being are paramount, so take the necessary steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

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