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Medical travel insurance

Compare prices for travel insurance with a pre-existing condition

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Do I need medical travel insurance?

Travel insurance covers you for all sorts of mishaps and disasters when you’re on holiday. From lost luggage to cancelled hotels and flights – as well as any medical expenses you incur – travel insurance could save you from a hefty bill if it all goes wrong.

Travel with a pre-existing condition

Travel insurance is vital for any holidaymaker, and if you suffer from a medical condition you’ll know from experience that the peace of mind it gives you is even more important. But because medical costs are the most expensive type of claim people make on their travel insurance, premiums tend to be more expensive for people already experiencing a health condition.

The affect your pre-existing condition will have on the price of your travel insurance depends massively on what it is, but in general the more severe the illness or disability, the more you’ll be asked to pay.


Customers with more serious medical conditions

We can show you prices from a panel of specialist medical insurers that cover many pre-existing medical conditions, so it’s worth getting a quote

If you're struggling to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPs) also provide a list of specialist insurers on the MaPs directory website, or you can call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790.

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 includes physical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or respiratory issues, as well as non-physical conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Is pregnancy a pre-existing medical condition?

Insurers don’t usually categorise pregnancy as a pre-existing condition, and you should be covered for medical emergencies related to your pregnancy so long as you haven’t had any prior complications.

You may not be able to travel if you’re more than 37 weeks pregnant – though if you’re having twins or triplets the limit may be different. In any case, it’s best to check with your insurance provider directly to make sure you’ll be covered. 

How to compare travel insurance quotes for medical conditions

  • It doesn’t take long

    Give us details on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, and a little about your medical condtion and you’ll be able to compare travel insurance quotes

  • We’ll search for savings

    We’ll show you which travel insurance quotes are the cheapest along with info on claims experience, a quality score and cover level, as well as any extras you may need

  • Get covered

    Once you’ve found a policy that suits your medical and travel needs, you can call or click through to apply for your insurance policy directly with the insurer

What does travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions cover?

Do I need to undergo a medical exam to get cover?

When searching for an insurance policy that covers pre-existing medical conditions you will be asked in-depth questions and to submit detailed – and sometimes very personal – answers. 

This is unfortunately necessary for the insurance company to tailor your policy to your specific needs and determine any risk you may pose. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may also need to sit a medical exam before you get cover.

If you don’t declare a medical condition – no matter how minor – claims you make may be rejected, forcing you to cover costs yourself. It can be tempting to withhold information in order to obtain a cheaper premium, but in the event of a claim your insurer can access your medical records.

Once you have answered all relevant questions there are a number of potential outcomes:

  • 1

    You get a standard travel insurance policy

  • 2

    You get insurance, but without medical cover for your condition

  • 3

    You get insurance at a higher price

  • 4

    The insurer imposes certain exclusions, terms or higher excess payments

  • 5

    You are refused insurance

Anna Sant

Our expert says


You’ll still be able to find travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as cancer, diabetes or a history of heart problems – but it’s important to declare it beforehand. This way your insurer is fully aware of the cover you need, so you’ll be able to claim for medical treatment if your condition flares up while you’re away. When you answer the questions we ask about your medical history, it will become clear whether you need to declare anything – and MoneySuperMarket also has a live chat service to help you if there is anything you’re unsure about.


- Anna Sant, Senior partnership manager of travel insurance

How to get a cheaper medical travel insurance quote?

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:

  • Shop around

    Comparing quotes from a range of providers lets you find the best deal at the best price, with the add-ons you need

  • Buy in advance

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

  • Get multi-trip cover

    If you plan on travelling three or more times in 12 months, an annual policy will likely work out cheaper over all

  • Pay more excess

    Asking for a higher excess fee tells insurers you’re less likely to claim, so they’ll reward you with a lower premium

Tips for travelling with a pre-existing condition

  • Tick

    See a doctor

    Before committing to any travel plans, you should speak to your doctor – they’ll be able to advise you on which destinations, activities or forms of travel are more suitable or recommended with your condition

  • Tick

    Research your destination

    Once you’ve decided on where to go, you should research the local area so you know where to find the closest clinic, emergency room or pharmacy. You should also look up the region’s emergency numbers and the location of the British embassy, high commission, or consulate 

  • Tick

    Take your EHIC

    Even though Britain is no longer part of the EU, UK residents can still use a valid European Health Insurance Card, or the replacement – the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to access free or low cost state emergency healthcare in EU countries.  However they aren't a substitute for health insurance – just a useful extra to have with you for travels in Europe

  • Tick

    Don’t forget anything

    You should ensure you have more than enough medication to last your trip, as well as any documentation you might need – including a doctor’s letter, copies of your prescription, and details about your medication and health. You should also factor for any equipment like oxygen tanks or mobility/hearing aids. 

Single trip vs multi-trip cover

If you’re a regular traveller, you might find that buying single-trip policies can become expensive. An annual multi-trip policy could be better for your needs, both in terms of price and convenience. However, a pre-existing condition may complicate things, as you’ll find cover in general to be more expensive.

It’s always best to compare quotes from a range of providers, so you can find a good deal for the cover you need.


A pre-existing medical condition can be any kind of illness, disability or injury that you have suffered from when or before you take out your travel insurance policy. 

It can also mean acute or chronic conditions you’ve recovered from and been given the all-clear such as cancer, or high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Even though it’ll probably cost you a little more, it’s a good idea to inform your insurer of any condition you are currently suffering from or receiving treatment for – even minor conditions like mild asthma and depression, or recovery from an operation. If you don’t, you run the risk of having your claims rejected.

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) in EU countries to access free or low cost state emergency healthcare. This arrangement will continue even though the UK is not part of the EU. The EHIC/GHIC is free and can be obtained through the NHS website. But the EHIC/GHIC is not as comprehensive as good quality travel insurance so holidaymakers should have both. The EHIC does not cover treatment in private hospitals overseas and it doesn’t cover repatriation costs, for example.

Defaqto is a company which rates and compares the quality of various financial products, awarding them a star rating out of five according to their features and delivery. A four- or five-star rating is a decent guarantee that a particular insurance policy will be right for you

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 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 up front 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 this 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 a pre-existing condition, and whether or not it will be covered will depend on your insurer.

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