Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition and is believed to affect more than 100,000 people in the UK, but it doesn’t have to be a barrier to travel. Here we answer some of the most common questions from those living with Crohn’s.
Can I get travel insurance if I have Crohn’s disease?
Yes, but because Crohn’s is classed as a pre-existing medical condition, you may need a specialist policy.
A pre-existing condition means an injury or illness you were aware of before taking out a policy.
Should I tell my insurer that I have Crohn’s disease?
As with all pre-existing conditions, you’ll need to tell your insurer you have Crohn’s disease when you get your quote – even if it isn’t a severe case – otherwise your policy is likely to be invalid.
You’ll be asked about your medial history when you take out your policy. This is where you should let the insurer know you have Crohn’s.
Questions may include how many operations you’ve had and when, what medication you are on and when you last experienced any symptoms.
Although this can seem intrusive, it’s important to be honest so your condition is properly covered by the policy.
What happens when I tell my insurer I have Crohn’s?
Once you have given them the information about your condition, the potential insurer will either
- refuse to cover any medical costs relating to Crohn’s but cover you as standard for any other issues that may arise during your travels
- offer cover but add restrictions to your policy
- offer full cover with a higher premium and/or higher excess
- decline your application
What will I be covered for with my travel insurance policy?
Once your policy is in place, you will be covered for the same criteria as a standard travel insurance policy.
Am I limited in where I can travel because I have Crohn’s?
No, but because medical costs differ from country to country, you should think carefully before setting your maximum cover limit.
You need it high enough to cover potential medical bills – but the higher the cover limit, the higher your premium.
Will I need a letter from my doctor before I can travel?
You may require a letter from your doctor stating you’re able to travel – you should check the terms of your travel insurance policy.
Will a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) help if I am travelling and have Crohn’s disease?
An EHIC allows you to access state-provided healthcare across Europe on the same terms as a local resident – this means at reduced cost or sometimes for free.
But it is not a replacement for travel insurance, and it will not cover you for treatment at a private hospital.
If you need treatment, head to a state medical facility first and then tell your insurance provider. You’ll then be advised on what additional private treatment might be covered by your policy.
Does Brexit mean I can no longer use my EHIC?
UK residents can still use the EHIC as usual until 31 December, 2020.
Whether the EHIC will still be valid after the transition phase for leaving the European Union ends depends on the negotiations of the future UK-EU relationship.
What else do I need to consider for travel if I have Crohn’s disease?
Make sure you keep your policy and your insurance provider’s contact details to hand when you are on your trip. If you change travel plans, be sure to update your insurer so it can be reflected in the policy.
You may also need a doctor’s letter and you should have clear instructions of the medication you need to take while you are on your travels.
Make sure you have enough medication to see you through your trip and take note of when you need to take your medication if you are travelling through and visiting countries in different time zones.
If you need to transport the medication in your hand luggage while flying, arrive at the airport early so you can explain the situation as necessary.
What other medical conditions related to Crohn’s disease will travel insurers cover?
Insurers may offer specialist cover for ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease.
Tips for those travelling who have Crohn’s disease
- Invest in a ‘can’t wait card’. These are designed to allow you to gain quick access to bathroom facilities without having to explain yourself. The cards have appropriate logos and simple language on them to help while you’re abroad and are available from Crohn’s and Colitis UK
- Have you travel insurance policy handy. This will allow your insurer to be contacted easily in case of an emergency
- Carry your medical records. This will help explain your condition to medical professionals should you need their support. Even better, take a translated version in the language of the country you’re visiting
- Plan ahead for travel. Whether you are going by car, train or plane, plan ahead to keep inconvenience down to a minimum. For car travel, maybe avoid rush hour and check in advance where you can stop en route. For air travel, consider booking an aisle seat for quick access to the bathroom
Compare travel insurance quotes
Comparing travel insurance quotes on MoneySuperMarket is a quick and easy way to find cover. Just tell us a little about yourself – including any pre-existing medical conditions you have, as well as where you’re going and how long for, and we’ll search the market for a list of deals.
You’ll be able to compare quotes by the overall price you’ll pay, the level of cover you’ll get and the excess payment required to make a claim. Once you’ve found the one you want, just click through to the provider’s website to finalise your purchase.
As with any insurance policy keep in mind the cheapest quote isn’t always the best. You should try to balance the cost with the cover you’ll get, so you know you have the protection you need at the best available price.