Travel insurance for cancer patients

Travel insurance for cancer patients

Travel insurance for cancer patients

Thinking about cancer insurance?

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If you go abroad without travel insurance, you risk having to pay medical costs if you become ill, which could add up to thousands of pounds. You could take the simple package offered by your tour operator or travel agent, but they do not suit everyone and rarely provide cover for those with an illness or a history of cancer.

Are you fit to travel? 

Travel insurance assumes that you are fit to travel, and so may not pay any claims if you are not. If you’re living with cancer, you should check with your doctor or other healthcare professional that you are fit to travel. 

What travel insurance covers 

Policies vary in detail but the most important items to include are:

  • Medical expenses - the cost of emergency treatment while abroad, including ambulances and getting you back home (with a medical escort, if necessary). 
  • Cancellation - refunds if you have to cancel or cut your trip short due to illness. 
  • Personal liability – for any compensation you may pay if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property. 
  • Baggage - if your belongings are lost or stolen. 

Single trip or annual cover 

You can take out a new single trip policy each time you travel, or an annual policy to cover all the trips you make during a year. 

What you must tell your travel insurer 

If you have, or have had, cancer, you will need to tell your travel insurer. It is safe to assume that insurers will want to know this, even if there is no specific question. Make sure you know what you need to tell your insurer, and find out what is and is not covered in your travel insurance plan before you buy it. If asked to declare any pre-existing medical conditions, you must answer as fully and as accurately as you can, to the best of your knowledge and belief. If you do not, your insurer may refuse to pay your claim and could cancel your policy. 

You need to tell the insurer about the health of someone close to you if it may affect your trip. For example, if a close relative (such as your partner, parent, child, brother or sister) friend or colleague has cancer, there is a risk your trip may have to be cancelled or cut short because of their health. 

Often, there are no specific questions on the application form about close relatives’ health, but you have to indicate that you have read the policy terms and conditions. These may state that claims will not be covered if you ‘or any person whose condition may give rise to a claim’ are receiving or waiting for hospital treatment or have a terminal condition. 

You must tell the insurer of any change in your own condition, tests or medication, or that of a close relative, between taking out the insurance and travelling.

What insurers may not cover on cancer

Some insurers will exclude all claims arising from any pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, even if treatment is complete. Some insurers will offer full cover to people who have or have had cancer. If an insurer excludes cancer cover then you will have to pay for any cancer treatment, including any air ambulance or repatriation costs.

Travel insurance for people with pre-existing conditions

Some insurers will offer cover, but at a high price or with a long list of conditions, so a specialist travel policy for people with pre-existing conditions may be the solution. Some specialists charge similar prices to a normal travel policy, others charge more, while price and availability may depend on how severe and/or recent the cancer is.

There are many specialist policies available for people with pre-existing conditions. It is increasingly common for insurers to replace long proposals for people with health problems or a health history by using specialist medical underwriting by phone. 

Travel insurance for people with cancer

There are one or two policies targeted only at people living with cancer. Each case is individually underwritten and with specialist knowledge of the treatment and management of cancer, so insurers will even consider individuals undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and those with a terminal prognosis. A key requirement is that travellers should be clinically stable and be travelling with the consent of their oncologist. Availability and price depends on medical history, health and clinical status.

Thinking about cancer insurance?

Download our free PDF guide



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