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Explore pre-existing medical travel insurance

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Find tailored travel insurance for medical conditions by comparing deals from the UK’s leading insurance providers.

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How does medical travel insurance work?

Medical travel insurance is not a requirement to travel, but it is recommended because it covers unexpected medical expenses while you're abroad. If you fall ill or have an accident, the costs of treatment can be extremely high in foreign countries. Medical travel insurance ensures you get the necessary care without worrying about the bills.

If you’re being quoted a high cost, it might be cheaper to buy a single policy, instead of an annual travel insurance policy.

Do I need it ?

Medical travel insurance can cover you for any pre-existing health conditions while you’re away. To buy it, you will need to tell your insurer about your health condition and in some cases may need to show details of a recent medical exam. It’s important to be honest with your insurer, as if you leave something out and then make a claim, it may be rejected.

If a standard insurer can’t help, a specialist provider may offer you cover. The Money Helper website has a list of specialist providers that may cover your condition or you can call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790.

Can I get travel insurance for a pre-existing condition?

Yes, you can get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition, although it might be more expensive than standard travel insurance. This is because an insurer sees you as a higher risk of making a claim on the policy. However, there are still lots of policies to choose from for those with pre-existing conditions. They cover a wide range of health problems and there are also specialist insurers who can help. 

What is considered a pre-existing medical condition?

Pre-existing medical conditions are usually defined as an illness or injury you had before or when you take out a travel insurance policy. This may include but isn't limited to: 

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    Mental health issues

    Mental health issues need to be declared as much as physical ones. These include bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety

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    Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can affect your health in many ways and need to be disclosed 

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    Heart conditions

    It is important that you disclose any heart conditions or history of heart related issues to ensure your policy will cover you

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    Chronic illnesses

    Chronic illnesses such as Crohn's disease, cancer, and IBS can come under long-lasting chronic health issues 

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    Asthma and Respiratory issues

    Asthma can range in terms of severity, but other airway conditions such as cystic fibroisis also need to be disclosed 

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    Joint and bone inflammation

    Joint issues such as arthritis or gout  issues can cause you some problems while you're travelling 

What type of policy can I get with a pre-existing condition

You can get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing condition but you may need to pay more for it, and some insurers may exclude your health condition from claims. Here are some of the potential policies you may be able to buy: 

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    Standard coverage:

    Your health condition might not affect your insurance, and you could receive the same cover as someone without it 

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    Exclusion of pre-existing condition:

    The insurer may cover new health issues during your trip but exclude your existing condition 

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    Restricted coverage:

    You could be offered insurance with limitations or you may need to pay a higher excess if you make a claim 

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    Higher premium for full coverage:

    Insurance that includes your pre-existing condition but has a significantly higher premium 

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance policy inclusions and exclusions vary. The following information provides a general overview of common travel insurance inclusions and exclusions. Always read your policy documents thoroughly to understand what is and isn't covered before your trip.

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    What's covered?

    • Lost baggage & belongings: Up to £4,000 in case your baggage or personal belongings are lost, damaged, or stolen while you’re travelling, allowing you to claim for their full or partial value.

    • Cancellation cover: Up to £7,000 in compensation if you need to cancel your holiday for reasons specified in your policy, such as illness or bereavement.

    • Emergency medical expenses: Protection for medical bills or emergency medical treatments, with up to £15million of cover.

    • Travel disruption: You can claim for delays if bad weather, strikes, or something breaking down affects your flight, ferry or other mode of transportation.

    • Repatriation: if yourself or a family member becomes injured or falls seriously ill while you are away, emergency repatriation can cover the costs to bring you home.

    • Personal liability: Protects you if you are involved in an at-fault incident that results in legal costs or damages while you are on holiday.

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    What's typically not covered?

    • Choosing not to travel: You can’t claim simply because you no longer want to go on holiday.

    • Missed flights: If you miss a flight because you were late or didn't get through security on time, you will not be covered by your travel insurance provider.

    • Alcohol related incidents: If you have an accident or an incident occurs while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, most providers are unlikely to pay out on the claim.

    • Pre-existing conditions: Some insurers may refuse to cover treatment for certain medical conditions, such as cancer or respiratory conditions. or pre-existing medical conditions that weren’t mentioned in your application.

    • Airline strikes: Your airline is the first port of call for compensation in this case (although related costs such as accommodation may be covered by your travel insurance).

    • High-risk sports: Review your travel insurance policy to see which sports are covered. Activities deemed high-risk, such as skiing, may require a special insurance policy.

How to get cheaper pre-existing medical travel insurance

The cost of your travel insurance will depend largely on where you’re going, what you plan on doing and the severity of your condition. As you would expect, the more adventurous you’re being and the longer you’re away are key considerations. There are things you can do to reduce the cost of your quote, however:

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    Shop around

    Comparing quotes lets you find the best deal at the best price, with the add-ons you need

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    Buy in advance

    The longer you leave it to buy travel insurance, the more it costs – and you won’t be covered for cancellations

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    Consider multi-trip cover

    If you plan on travelling three or more times in 12 months, an annual policy may work out cheaper overall

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    Pay more excess

    Asking for a higher excess fee tells insurers you’re less likely to claim, so it'll often mean a lower premium

Will I pay more for travel insurance with a pre-existing condition?

"Having a pre-existing medical condition means you will most likely have to pay more for travel insurance as there is a higher risk that you will make a claim. It’s important to declare our medical history when travelling as it could have serious consequences if a condition flares up while we're away. With the right cover we can avoid being landed with an expensive medical bill. It's simple to compare policies to get the right cover, which costs from as little as £1.01iii so you can travel with peace of mind and enjoy your trip."

Jake Edmonds - Insurance Expert at MoneySuperMarket

Why compare travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket?

At MoneySuperMarket, we’re here to make sure your holiday planning is as easy as possible. Here’s what you’ll get:

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    Flexible to suit your plans

    Get fully comprehensive cover for as long as you need it, whether that's one day or a few months.

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    Best coverage for you

    You may be asked for additional questions or a health check to ensure your insurance policy best suits your needs.

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    Rated highly

    Thousands of happy holidaymakers say they’d use our services again – so why not try it now and see how much you could save?

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Compare travel insurance quotes in three easy steps

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    List any conditions you have, or anyone on your policy has, and give details of recent medical treatment for the condition. If you have a terminal illness, list it here.

  • 2

    Choose a policy option

    You can choose a policy, insurer, and level of cover here. Read all the small print so you know exactly what you are (and aren’t covered) for with your existing health conditions.

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    Get covered

    Easily compare policies from the leading providers in the UK and get cover for your trip and any existing medical conditions from today

If you go on holiday with a standard travel insurance policy and don’t inform your insurer of your medical circumstances, there’s a very real danger that any claims you make – especially those of a medical nature – are rejected. The worse the condition, or the more directly it is involved in claims you make, the more chance there is that your insurer will investigate your medical records and reject your claim.

In a standard travel insurance policy, £5m is considered a decent level of cover for medical expenses. For most people, this will be enough to cover treatment for pre-existing conditions, but policies for people suffering from the most complex or severe might have a higher threshold – for a higher price.

Your travel insurance is likely to be approved in all but the most serious circumstances, though there’s a good chance you might have to pay more than the average traveller. 

If your condition is mild or well-managed, you may not see any bump in premiums at all.

UK residents can still use a valid European Health Insurance Card, or the new replacement – the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The GHIC is not as comprehensive as good quality travel insurance so holidaymakers should have both. It does not cover treatment in private hospitals overseas and it doesn’t cover repatriation costs, for example.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition you should still be able to find travel insurance, but you might need to take out specialist cover as not all standard policies will offer the right level of protection. 

Your destination is a major factor that travel insurance providers consider, and it can be particularly important if you have a pre-existing condition – for two main reasons:

  • Medical treatment costs: The cost of medical treatment in some countries, such as the USA, can be very expensive, so you may need to pay more for cover

  • Local diseases: Some areas also carry high risks of disease – for example, malaria in tropical countries 

If you need medical treatment while you’re abroad, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible and get them to agree on coverage of any treatment before you receive it. However, this may not be possible if you’re in a medical emergency.

You may be required to pay upfront for your treatment – in this case, you’d claim back the cost when you get home, so remember to get a receipt for any medical costs you pay.

If you develop a condition after buying travel insurance you should tell your insurer as soon as you can. They may have to adjust your policy, and it could affect the overall price you pay – but better than voiding your policy completely. 

If you’re waiting for a diagnosis for a medical condition you shouldn’t take out travel insurance until after you’ve received the diagnosis. 

Terminal illnesses will still be classed as pre-existing conditions, and whether or not they will be covered will depend on your insurer.

If you are on any over the counter pain killers or anti-biotics, it is unlikely that you will need to disclose that to your insurer however, if you are on blood thinners or any medication for any mental health issues or chronic health problems, you will need to disclose that on your insurance application as it will likely be highlighted on your medical health check as well.

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