Travel insurance for pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing condition travel insurance protects against illness or injury whilst on holiday. The type of medical condition you have may affect the cover or the price of your travel insurance, however it’s important to declare any pre-existing conditions when you apply, as failure to do so could invalidate the cover. 

But what is a pre-existing medical condition and can it be covered when you travel?

The following information explains how pre-existing condition travel insurance works, what conditions are included and how to find the best medical travel insurance for you.

What is pre-existing condition travel insurance?

A pre-existing condition is an illness or injury you have before or when you take out your travel insurance. This includes anything you’ve experienced symptoms of, been treated or investigated for, or had surgery for. Depending on the travel insurer, this could also include conditions you have subsequently recovered from.

So to be on the safe side, when you apply for your holiday insurance, it’s important to declare any pre-existing conditions, no matter how minor they may be. If you don’t, any claim you make could be rejected.

How does medical travel insurance work?

When buying or getting a quote for medical travel insurance you will be required to answer questions about your medical history. Whilst many insurers cover pre-existing medical conditions, the type of condition you have may impact your policy in some way.

Once you have gone through the medical screening process, the travel insurer will choose to either:

  • Insure you on a standard travel insurance policy
  • Insure you but exclude the pre-existing condition
  • Charge you more for cover
  • Impose certain exclusions or higher excess payments
  • Refuse to insure you

If you are refused travel insurance for medical conditions, try contacting a specialist over 50s travel insurance provider such as Staysure, Saga, or pre-existing condition specialist AllClear. Alternatively the British Insurance Brokers Association’s ‘find insurance’ service could help.

What is classed as a pre-existing medical condition?

Pre-existing medical conditions are illnesses or injuries you’ve had before the start of your travel insurance. Each insurer will have a list of what they consider to be pre-existing conditions. This will typically include chronic or long term illnesses like cancer, diabetes, respiratory illnesses like asthma and heart related conditions.

Examples of travel insurance pre-existing conditions are:

  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions such as angina or cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Psychological conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • HIV
  • Hernia
  • Gallstones
  • Allergies
  • Lupus
  • Sleep apnea
  • Broken bones
  • Alzheimer’s

What pre-existing medical conditions are not covered?

Whether a pre-existing condition is covered or not will be down to the insurer. Whilst some travel insurance providers will refuse to cover certain illnesses, other more specialist insurers may provide some form of protection.

If you’re concerned that you may struggle to get travel insurance for a pre-existing condition, it’s advisable to speak to the insurer over the phone so they can refer to their underwriter if necessary.

If there is a charity that supports your condition such as Marie curie or Cancer Research UK , it may also be worth contacting them, as they frequently have information on holiday insurance companies that could help.

Alternatively the Money Advice Service travel insurance directory also has details of companies that specialise in serious medical conditions.

What happens if I develop a medical condition after I have bought my travel insurance?

If you develop a medical condition once you have bought your travel insurance policy, you must inform your insurer. This may result in a change to your holiday insurance, however if you don’t inform them of a medical condition, your cover may be void.

How to compare travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

To compare travel insurance for pre-existing conditions try using one of the online comparison services. Most providers also offer a freephone number should you need to talk through your condition.

Remember, travel insurers vary in terms of price and the way they treat pre-existing conditions, so comparing policies is a must.

What should I do now?

If you are ready to compare pre-existing condition travel insurance, use our free comparison service to compare quotes with leading companies or get a quote from over 50s travel insurance specialists Staysure and Saga - there maybe other specialists providers available.

Alternatively, for more information on annual and single trip holiday insurance, travel insurance for the over 60s or cruise insurance, read our helpful guides and company reviews

Frequently asked questions about medical travel insurance

Can you get travel insurance if you have pre-existing conditions?

You can get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing condition but it will depend on the insurer. Whilst some travel insurers include certain pre-existing medical conditions as standard, others may increase the price of the policy or the excess, exclude the condition or refuse cover altogether.

Can I get travel insurance if I’m waiting for a medical condition to be diagnosed?

Some travel insurance providers will insure you whilst you are waiting for a medical condition to be diagnosed. However usually you will not be covered for any claim relating to your undiagnosed condition. Other travel insurers will ask you to wait until your condition has been diagnosed before providing cover.

What happens if I don’t declare a medical condition?

If you don’t declare a medical condition when applying for travel insurance, your insurer will usually reject any claim you make relating to the condition.

Which is the best travel insurance for medical conditions?

To find the best travel insurance for medical conditions, compare quotes using a free online comparison service. In addition to comparing price, also compare how each insurance provider treats your pre-existing medical condition, as it will vary from company to company. 

Is high blood pressure a pre-existing medical condition for travel insurance?

High blood pressure is classed as a pre-existing medical condition. Therefore, it’s important to declare if you have, or have previously suffered from high blood pressure when you apply for your holiday insurance.

What are the most common pre-existing conditions?

Some of the more common travel insurance pre-existing medical conditions include alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Updated 17th March 2021
by Ashley Shepherd
Ashley Shepherd

Ashley is the founder and managing director at Over50choices. With over 30 years’ experience in financial services, he has held senior roles in building societies, banks and insurance companies.

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