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Save on travel insurance with pre-existing conditions

There are several simple steps to follow that can save you hundreds of £’s on your travel insurance

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 7 March 2021

5 min read

Save on travel insurance with pre-existing conditions

Travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions can be extremely expensive if you don’t know where to look or what to do. There are several quite simple steps to follow that can save you hundreds of £’s on your travel insurance. 

There are lots of different options for anyone looking for travel insurance. Most insurers will offer cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions. 

We know from personal experience that travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions can be extremely expensive, and often unnecessarily. It is common for people with certain medical conditions to be quoted premiums in the hundreds of £’s. 

EXAMPLE: A good friend was 40 years of age has Type 1 Diabetes and was diagnosed with Cancer. She was looking for cover for an upcoming trip to Spain. She was being quoted £200+ for the travel insurance policy she needed. She then spoke to a pre-existing medical conditions travel insurance specialist and got cover for under £50. 

Learn more in our guide ‘Travel insurance with medical conditions’.

FCA rules about travel insurance with pre-existing conditions 

In July 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a new proposal. This proposal was to help consumers in the UK to access better deals for travel insurance with pre-existing conditions. 

There were (approx) just over 14 million people in the UK currently living with a pre-existing medical condition. Research also showed that around 1.5 million people with pre-existing medical conditions would have an exclusion applied to their travel insurance policies per year. A further 100,000 people were refused travel insurance based on their health or medical history. 

The new rules became effective from April 2021. This meant that insurers and providers had to signpost consumers to refer them to a specialist. 

The rules applied where: 

  • An exclusion was automatically applied due to a pre-existing medical condition and a quote could not be provided 
  • Cover was declined or refused due to a medical disclosure or a medical screening 
  • Premiums being offered were above £100 (excluding IPT) for all providers on all products 

Can I still have travel insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes, you can still get travel insurance if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition or a health condition. Travel insurance is designed to protect you against the cost of health care or medical treatment whilst you are travelling abroad. 

The only difference between standard travel insurance and travel insurance with pre-existing conditions, is that your medical condition will also be covered. So if you suffer an attack or require medical treatment for your condition(s) whilst you are overseas, then this treatment will be covered by your travel insurance policy. This could help you avoid significant medical expenses. 

There are a number of pre-existing conditions travel insurance specialists that offer this type of cover specifically. It is important to make sure that your travel insurance policy is valid and suitable, so make sure that you answer any medical questions truthfully. 

Why is travel insurance with pre-existing conditions different? 

Essentially the cover is exactly the same so there should be no difference between your cover and a standard travel insurance policy. The only real difference is that your health and medical history will be considered and you should be covered for that as well. 

Some policies may offer travel insurance with an exclusion for your pre-existing medical condition, which may be cheaper, but there are added risks if you’re not properly covered. An exclusion might be far more costly in the long-run in the event of needing treatment from a foreign healthcare provider. 

How to save money on travel insurance with pre-existing conditions 

There are some simple steps and a few rules that you can follow which could save you hundreds of £’s on your travel insurance. If your policy is invalid or inappropriate then you could save thousands of £’s on treatment whilst overseas, so it’s important to be careful with choosing cover. 

Here are just a few simple steps that can help you to save money on your travel insurance cover with pre-existing conditions. 

  1. Get multiple quotes for travel insurance with pre-existing conditions can help you to see what the sort of level is that various travel insurance providers will offer. You might find an insurance provider that is much cheaper than others because they offer lower premiums for your type of medical condition. 
  2. Speak to a pre-existing conditions travel insurance specialist who can help you to get quotes from multiple insurers across the travel insurance market more quickly, and can give you proper advice. There are a number of these specialists that are operating in the UK and they should be able to find you the best cover with the level of cover you need at the right price. 
  3. Get cover as soon as you can after booking to make sure that you are protected against potential loss of money for cancellations because of your medical condition and other reasons. Many people put off taking out travel insurance until the last minute but this can be too late and can result in losing money because you need to cancel your trip for medical and other reasons. 
  4. Check prices for joint and single policies because some insurance providers will offer cheaper premiums if you’re travelling together with a partner, friend or family member. It might also be cheaper to have separate policies so it’s worth looking at both options just in case. 
  5. Is your destination high risk for medical treatment and healthcare? Some countries are classed as higher risk for certain medical conditions due to the higher risks to the insurance provider in the event of claims (e.g. USA, Asia, Australia etc.). If a destination has a privatised healthcare system, then this would usually mean that the cost of treatment could be considerably higher. 
  6. Compare prices for single trip and annual cover depending on the amount of trips that you are taking in a 12 month period and the amount of time you spend abroad. Short trips can be best on a single policy but an annual policy might save you more for longer stays or multiple trips. 
  7. Speak to your bank to see if you already have cover on your bank account or with a credit card for example. Some banks will offer complimentary travel insurance with your account so can provide you with travel insurance automatically. You should however make sure that this covers you if you have a pre-existing medical condition. 
  8. Get your free GHIC card (if travelling in Europe) which is the replacement to the old European Health insurance card (EHIC) if your old card has expired. These will give you access to any care or treatment (e.g. emergency medical treatment) that is provided with state healthcare system. This only applies within EU countries.

This may not be sufficient to provide full or adequate cover so you should make sure that you get a quote for proper travel insurance as well. This can help you avoid potentially very expensive medical bills/medical costs.

How to buy cheaper travel insurance with pre-existing conditions

There are a number of pre-existing conditions travel insurance specialists in the UK that offer cover for people with all types of medical issues. You should make sure that you speak to a specialist to get proper advice if you fit in to this category. A specialist will be able to compare travel insurance quotes to make sure you never end up paying too much when buying travel insurance.

There are also resources such as the British Association of Insurers (BIBA) Travel Insurance Directory and MoneyHelper Travel Insurance Directory for more information or guidance. 

Resources – Travel insurance facts

Statista – Travel insurance claims paid by type UK

Association of British Insurers (ABI) – Travel Insurance

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