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Travel Insurance For Medical Conditions – Forbes Advisor UK

Travel travel insurance is a valuable resource for anyone heading off on holiday. It provides valuable cover for the cost of medical treatment, repatriation back to the UK, theft or loss of belongings and, crucially, the need to cancel because of illness, bereavement or other serious reason for not travelling.

As you might expect, travel insurers take your health into account when calculating how much to charge you for cover. When you run a quotation on our website, you’ll be asked if you have what is termed a ‘pre-existing medical condition’ and told:

“To ensure you have the right cover for your trip it is important you tell us about your medical history. If you do not declare medical conditions this could invalidate your policy.”

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If you’re traveling with a heart condition, be prepared for insurers to either charge more due to the increased risk that you could make a claim, or even exclude claims relating to medical conditions.

If your condition is sufficiently serious, you may need to seek out a specialist insurance provider because standard insurers are not willing to cover you.

If your condition results in you being quoted a premium of more than £100 for an individual, we will suggest you try the MoneyHelper to see a list of specialist companies who provide travel insurance to those with pre-existing medical conditions.

You can call them free on 0800 138 7777. Many of these companies are also on our panel.

If your condition is less serious – for example, if you have angina – you will see an increase in your premium but you may still consider it affordable.

For example, a man in his 60s traveling to Spain for a week might expect to pay £15 if he has no medical conditions, but this could top £30 if he has angina and raised blood pressure.

What if I do not declare a pre-existing condition?

If you withhold information when applying for travel insurance, you could invalidate your policy. So if you do not mention your heart condition but then need medical treatment for it while you are away, you probably would not be able to claim back the cost if the insurer checks your medical history and finds out the true situation.

There would be a routine inspection of the medical notes from the doctors and the hospitals that treated you while you were away, and these would no doubt highlight any pre-existing issues you had been suffering.

Should an emergency relating to your heart condition arise, you could face tens of thousands of pounds in medical bills and costs to get you back home.

What constitutes a heart condition?

There are seven million people in the UK with a heart condition, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

For travel insurers heart conditions can include anything from heartburn, angina (pain to the chest caused by reduced blood flow to the heart), and arrhythmia (an irregularity in heartbeat), to a heart attack or heart failure. You’d also need to declare if you had undergone or a heart transplant.

What do I need to declare about my heart condition?

An insurer will take you through a medical screening process which involves answering questions about your condition. It will want to know, for example, if you:

  • are taking treatment for any heart or circulatory conditions – this includes problems with blood flow, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or strokes
  • have ever been a smoker
  • have attended a medical facility within the last two years
  • are on a waiting list for treatment or investigation
  • have had any procedures and how long ago
  • use a device such as a pacemaker or have stents
  • have a terminal illness.

As noted, if you omit information and later make a claim related to your condition it will probably be rejected.

Can I get insurance for a severe heart condition?

You will in all likelihood need a specialist insurer for a severe heart condition. This includes conditions that carry a high risk of you needing to cancel your trip or needing treatment while away.

And an insurer won’t cover you if, for example, you’re traveling against the advice of your doctor.

What happens if I have heart-related problems when I am away?

If you need treatment while away, contact your insurer as soon as possible on the emergency contact number provided with your policy documentation to claim for the cost.

If there’s time, the insurer should be able to pre-authorize any treatment and co-ordinate the payment of the bills, so you won’t have to make any payments.

Where you’re unable to contact your insurer immediately, such as in a medical emergency, you may need to pay for the treatment upfront and claim the costs back when you return to the UK. Your insurer will need to see receipts for any medication and treatment you have had.

Which travel insurers cover heart conditions?

You can find the best quote for the cover you need among our extensive panel of standard and specialist travel insurers, by using our travel insurance comparison tool.

First, you’ll need to enter a few details about yourself and your holiday, such as your date of birth, your holiday destination and when you’re due to travel. After, you will be able to complete the medical screening process online.

If you would like to compare other specialist insurers to those available on our site, a comprehensive list is provided by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association and the MoneyHelper.

Should I travel with a heart condition?

Most people can travel with a heart condition if it is controlled and stable, according to the British Heart Foundation.

As a rule of thumb it is still best to check whether traveling is a good idea with your GP prior to booking your trip.

What should I do if I am taking medication with me abroad?

Before travelling, check if your holiday destination has any restrictions on medications it allows across its border by contacting its embassy or high commission.

Remember to take enough medication to last you your whole trip, and make sure you know exactly what they are, and the doses you take, in case you lose them.

If you carry medication in your hand luggage, you will need a doctor’s letter explaining what each is for.

Is there insurance for travelers with a terminal prognosis?

Yes, certain specialist insurers cover travel if you have a terminal prognosis, typically stipulating that your prognosis must be no more than six months from the date you’re due to return home.

Can I use my Global Health Insurance Card for treatment abroad?

If you’re traveling to a country within Europe, a GHIC or an unexpired European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), its predecessor, will grant you access to medical care on the same terms as a local. This means treatment can be free or at a reduced cost.

However, a GHIC or EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. They do not cannot cover private medical treatment or repatriation costs, for example.

What else will my travel insurance policy cover?

In addition to medical costs, your travel insurance policy should also cover trip cancellation and loss or theft of your possessions as standard.

Many policies also offer an array of optional extras, such as cover for travel delays or missed flights, if the cause was outside of your control. They may also cover you and your equipment if you’re planning to take part in sports and activities. This may be at an additional cost.

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