travel insurance pre existing conditions

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance pre existing conditions

Going on holiday is often the highlight of the year. We spend hours looking over internet sites, reading reviews, picking hotels, booking trips and the excitement reaches fever pitch until we are just about to click ‘BOOK NOW’ and the dreaded ‘Do you need Travel Insurance’ question raises its head.

If you are in perfect health this is not an issue, you have many choices in where to source cheap, quality travel insurance but if you have a pre existing medical condition obtaining travel insurance can become a real issue. This can lead to people not going on holiday due to the cost of the travel insurance or risking their whole financial future by travelling without cover.

This guide will not only look at the types of insurance available to people with pre-existing medical conditions but will also look at the most effective ways of obtaining your cover and some pitfalls to avoid and some tricks of the trade to keep your costs down and avoid paying over the odds.


Top Specialist Travel Insurance Brokers for pre-existing medical conditions

Just Travel Cover

online and telephone quotes for wide range of illnesses including serious and even terminal prognosis.*

Medical Travel Compared

Complete your medical details once and you will then receive online quotes for travel insurance for pre existing medical conditions from over 40 insurers.*

World First

World First offers cover for a wide range of Travel Insurance for pre existing conditions policies and looks at the medication you take to control these conditions.

Medical Travel Insurance*

Offering cover for over a 1000 different medical conditions, with competitive prices. Phone Quotes available on 0330 880 3601 please quote PREMED.
Medical Travel Insurance

For more serious conditions

All Clear Travel

All Clear cover over 1300 medical conditions and they have no upper age limit.


Clear2Go is offers travel insurance for more serious medical conditions including secondary cancers and some terminal conditions. If your pre-existing condition is in the serious category we would recommend ringing Clear2Go on 0800 999 3333 quoting PREMED rather than using their online quote system.
Clear2Go Travel Insurance

Quick tips on finding the best deal

Do you already have travel insurance cover you know about?

This may sound obvious but if you have an existing travel insurance policy ask them first about your medical condition to see if they are able to cover you for a reasonable cost. We have seen many times over the years people asking for numerous quotes from pre-existing conditions specialists only to ask their existing insurers at the last minute and be offered very competitive rates.

Do you already have travel insurance that you DON’T know about?

Again, almost as obvious but not quite! Many people have ‘Packaged’ Bank Accounts where they pay a monthly fee in exchange for a number of additional benefits. Often these benefits include travel insurance and they are often underwritten in such a way that they offer immediate cover for a range of named pre-existing medical conditions. It could well be that you already have travel insurance in place AND it already covers your pre existing medical condition so CHECK YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. (see Tricks of the Trade below for more details)

Approach a Specialist for Pre-existing medical conditions

In years gone by this was a real pain. You would have to ring dozens of insurers one by one, tell them your medical history and wait for a quotation. This is no longer the case and it can all be done online. Simply enter your medical conditions once and you will receive quotes from dozens of insurers. See below for our Where can I Buy it from section.

If you have a very serious condition it may however pay dividends to ring the providers to discuss your exact personal details as they often have schemes available that are not accessible via their online quotation systems.

Travelling to Europe?

If you are travelling to a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) make sure you are in possession of an EHIC card. This will give you access to that countries health system. This may however all change dependent on how BREXIT pans out. Read this useful BREXIT guide for the latest info.

To apply for a EHIC card please follow this link. Applying for a card is free but please be aware that THIS IS NOT TRAVEL INSURANCE and will not cover you for items such as cancellation, lost luggage, repatriation etc. It is however possible to add to the cover that the EHIC card provides by using EHIC Plus Expand or if your medical conditions are more serious Europe Plus Cover.

Please bear in mind that although a BREXIT deal has bee agreed and the continuation of the EHIC card is part of the deal (under a new name) the detail is still a little unclear so please bouble check with and your chosen insurer for exact details before prurchasing any cover.

Please see our Tricks of the Trade below for more details.

Types of Travel Insurance

Luckily buying travel insurance isn’t rocket science and most policies are reasonably similar. There are however some pitfalls you need to look out for and of course you should always check the level and type of cover is suitable.

Annual or Single Trip Policy

Normally for someone in perfect health you can generally say if you take more than two holidays per year it is better to take out an annual policy.

This however may not be the same if you have a pre existing medical condition as the insurer will look at how likely your condition is to produce a claim over the next 12 months. It is therefore worth getting quotes for an annual policy and individual trip policies to see which is most cost effective.

Free Cover with Credit cards 

As a general rule THIS IS NOT TRAVEL INSURANCE. This usually covers you for death and maybe certain injuries if you have an accident while actually travelling on a plane, train, coach etc. You still need a ‘proper’ travel insurance policy if you want to be correctly covered.

Free Cover with your holiday

You may have received free travel insurance cover from your Travel Agent or holiday company. If you have a pre-existing medical condition you need to carefully check the cover. Most ‘free’ policies will exclude either all or most pre-existing conditions.

 EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)

If you are travelling to a country in the European Economic Area (dependent on the BREXIT outcome) you should apply for a EHIC card as it will give you access to that countries equivalent of the NHS.

It will not however pay for any private treatment so you need to make sure you visit a hospital or Doctor who is available with the EHIC card (your friendly tour rep will probably send you to a private Doctor/Hospital so beware).

The card also doesn’t cover you for cancellations, lost luggage and many other items that a travel insurance policy does. It is a very useful Card but again IT IS NOT TRAVEL INSURANCE.

PLEASE NOTE: There is (slightly) more clarity regarding the future of the EHIC card after 1 January 2021. Please read the following excellent article on Money Saving Expert for more details and also refer to

Please see our Tricks of the Trade below to see how you can top up your EHIC cover.

How do medical conditions affect travel insurance?

Most travel insurance policies will ask you to declare any medical conditions. Some insurers will have a list of certain conditions that are automatically covered without the need to declare them.

When you declare a pre-existing condition to an insurer they will ask you a number of screening questions and your answers will be ‘scored’ by the system. The more points you score the higher the eventual premium will be.

Unlike life insurance it is highly unlikely that the insurer will write to your Doctor or request a medical. They will believe what you tell them and price the policy accordingly.

In the event of a claim they may well then write to your Doctor to make sure you answered the screening question correctly so it is vital you are honest and fully declare your medical history. If you are unsure if something is relevant tell them.

The Insurer will then make a decision on the level of risk you pose eg. If you fall ill while away what could it potentially cost them? Do you have the type of illness that would require a long stay in hospital, specialist treatment, flying home in an air ambulance?

Some insurers simply don’t want the risk and will either decline cover or demand a very high premium. Other Insurers will want to take the risk and try and price competitively to secure the business. Hopefully we can help you find the latter and find you a Travel Insurance for pre existing conditions. 

Do I really need cover?

Insurance is there to pay for the unexpected. If you can afford the unexpected then maybe you don’t need insurance but you may still consider it good value.

If you fall ill or have an accident on holiday the costs can very quickly mount up.

In 2016 the average medical travel insurance claim was for £1200. Not too bad you may say. I prefer not to pay it but it wouldn’t be a financial disaster.

However, there was also a claim for £760,000 for medical bills for a Brit travelling in America. I guess that would put a hole in most people’s wallet.

Remember many countries do not have an NHS like ourselves. Imagine the cost of falling ill, being transported by a private ambulance to a private hospital to be treated by a team of specialist surgeons before recovering in a private bed for 10 days and then being flown back to the UK by Air Ambulance accompanied by a specialist crew.

Your call!  

Why is it so dear?

My holiday only cost £600!

We have heard this said so many times over the years. “My holiday only cost £600 but they want £800 to insure me, it’s ridiculous”

The insurers aren’t really bothered what your holiday cost as that is only really relevant if you have to cancel the trip. Yes they would prefer to pay out £300 for a budget holiday than £5000 for a luxury one but this is small potatoes to what really concerns them……. Medical expenses.

If you have recently had a serious illness and have been in and out of hospital and there is a chance that your pre-existing condition may flare up again you have the potential to cost the Insurers a huge amount of money.

Even if your medical condition is stable, if there is a risk of a flare up and a requirement for specialist treatment and maybe repatriation to the UK the Insurer will want to be compensated for taking that risk.

It is not unusual for medical claims to run into the tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Do I really need to tell them about my illness?

Yes, if you want to be properly covered.

The Insurer will base their premium for your policy on the information you give them in their medical condition questions.

If you don’t tell them about your pre-existing condition or you don’t tell them the full story then the quotation may be cheaper but it won’t reflect the true risk.

If you then make a claim the Insurer is in their rights to contact your Doctor to make sure the information you supplied was truthful and complete. If it wasn’t they can legitimately reject your claim.

You can however choose to exclude the cover for your condition. If this is of interest read on.

Can I exclude cover for my illness?

On certain policies you can. On others you can’t.

Some Insurers will expect you to declare all your medical conditions and will then offer you a premium to cover all these conditions. It is then your choice to accept the quotation or reject it.

Some Insurers such as Citybond will allow you to declare a pre-existing medical condition and then give you a price to cover that condition. If you decide you don’t like the price then you can still have the cover but that condition will not be covered.

Please bear in mind that cover will also be invalid for any claims that relate to the excluded condition eg, You declare diabetes but decide to exclude cover for diabetes. You then travel on holiday and have a heart attack and the Insurer successfully argues the heart attack was more than likely due to your diabetes then they would not have to settle the claim.

You should think very carefully about excluding any conditions and the possible financial impact. 

Tricks of the Trade

Here are a few tricks that we have gathered over the years that may result in cheaper premiums for your travel insurance.

Packaged Bank Accounts

 Many banks offer current accounts that include a package of extra benefits in return for a monthly cost.

Typically, these benefits include items such as Car Breakdown Cover, Mobile Phone Insurance, Identity Theft Protection and also Travel Insurance.

Generally, we are not huge fans of packaged accounts as you may be paying for cover that is not needed or duplicated elsewhere however sometimes their Travel Insurance policies offer a surprising benefit, cover for certain existing medical conditions at no extra cost.

Example: First Direct offer a Packaged Account called First Directory. The cost of the account is £15pm but it includes Mobile Phone Insurance, Breakdown Cover and Worldwide Travel Insurance.

 The Travel Insurance automatically covers an extensive list of pre-existing medical conditions with no extra cost or the need to declare the condition. These conditions include Diabetes (with no complications for example retinal, kidney or nerve damage), Asthma, IBS, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol.

If we run a quick quote for a family travel insurance through Medical Travel Compared for an equivalent policy where one of the adults smokes and has high blood pressure and raised cholesterol the cost for the year is over £230 which makes the £15pm from First Direct look like great value considering the additional benefits of Breakdown Cover and Mobile Phone Insurance.

As ever you need to check the policy carefully and make sure it is suitable for your needs and that you look for any specific clauses relating to medical conditions. Look out for general ‘Catch All’ clauses such as “Are you aware of any reason that may result in your holiday being cancelled” and make sure if you are in any doubt you ring the insurer for clarification.

Other Banks that offer packaged accounts include Halifax, Nationwide, Co-op, Nat West and HSBC. We will at a later date do a review of all the Travel Insurance relating to these accounts.

Existing Insurer

If you already have existing Travel Insurance you must tell them as soon as you develop a new medical condition. Many people assume that their existing insurer will be very expensive and immediately try and source their cover elsewhere.

We have known many instances when an existing insurer has actually covered a new condition for a very reasonable cost, so make sure you give them the opportunity to quote for your business. The worst scenario is that they provide a high quote but at least it then gives you a benchmark of the premium you need to beat.

EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) Top Up Schemes 

Most people have heard of the EHIC, formerly known as the E111, is a free card that entitles travellers to state-provided healthcare or emergency treatment within the European Economic Area (EEA) country they are visiting. So basically, if you fall ill you are treated by that countries NHS equivalent as if you were a resident of that country. You can apply for a free card here.

This is good, but it is not a substitute for Travel Insurance as it does not cover you for items such as holiday cancellation, lost luggage, rescue and repatriation. For example, if you need to be air lifted from a mountain, or are unable to board a commercial flight and need a private flight back to the UK, travel insurance would be necessary to avoid an enormous bill.

You can however increase the scope of your EHIC cover with a private Top Up policy. This will add the ‘Travel Insurance’ benefits but keeps the cost very low as the Insurer does not cover most of the medical side as this is covered by the EHIC.

Top Up Plans are offered by EHIC Plus Expand but this only includes certain named pre existing medical conditions, all other conditions are excluded.

If your medical conditions are not named on the EHIC Plus Expand policy then you should consider the Europe Plus Cover. Please check the details of their medical screening requirements

Due to leaving the EU the terms of the EHIC card may alter. The most up to date information can be found at We would also suggest you read the excellent information at Money Saving Expert and speak to your insurer for clarification before purchasing a policy.

What about the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or E111

For details of the EHIC and how to increase the level of cover it offers please read the Trick of the Trade section above.

Where can I buy it from?

The choices for where to buy travel insurance are huge.

In years gone by if you had a pre-existing medical condition it was very difficult to obtain comparison quotes and ensure that you had competitive cover. Now, with the introduction of technology it couldn’t be much easier. With many travel insurance websites you simply enter the details of your medical conditions online and they will automatically provide you with a quote and some will even provide comparisons from numerous companies.

As a general rule we would suggesting trying the options in this order and keep working through Steps One to Five until you have the quote and cover you are happy with:

If after following Steps 1-3 you still haven’t found suitable affordable cover then consider Steps 4 and 5 but BEWARE these steps will not give you comprehensive cover.

We hope you have found this guide helpful. As ever please make sure you check policy cover and wording before you buy to make sure that it suits your needs. This site should only be used as part of your own research to find the most suitable contract. We hope this allowed you to find Travel Insurance for pre existing conditions.