Travel insurance guide for asthmatics

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Travelling with Asthma

When it comes to travelling with asthma, it’s important to plan things carefully before you set off on your trip.

It’s also important to make sure you’re covered by a travel insurance policy that’ll protect you financially if you become ill while you’re abroad. 

That’s why we’ve broken down everything you need to know about travel insurance for asthmatics below, along with a few tips on how to prepare for your trip, so that you can travel worry-free.

Why do people with asthma need travel insurance?

Buying travel insurance means you’ll be financially protected if certain things go wrong on your trip.

Typically, travellers with health conditions are more likely to fall ill while they’re on holiday. That’s why it’s important to have an insurance policy in place – before you leave – to cover any potential medical costs.

What should travel insurance for people with asthma cover?

For travellers with asthma, a travel insurance policy should cover:

  • emergency medical costs
  • repatriation (meaning the costs involved in transporting you to your home country ) if it’s medically necessary for you to return to the UK 
  • any lost, stolen or damaged medication (like your asthma pump)
  • costs for if you need to cut your trip short or cancel it completely due to any asthma-related illness

Is asthma a pre-existing medical condition?

Yes – when it comes to buying travel insurance, asthma is considered to be a pre-existing medical condition

We define a pre-existing medical condition as an illness or injury that:

  • has been identified by a doctor
  • is under investigation by a doctor
  • is known to you before your policy starts or when you book a trip (whichever is later)

Do I have to declare that I have asthma when buying travel insurance?

Yes, you must always tell your insurer that you have asthma when buying your policy. If you don’t, the insurer can refuse a claim which is in any way connected with a pre-existing medical condition, or the insurer may not pay a claim in full. 

What questions will my insurer ask during the screening process?

The screening process is completely confidential. Its purpose is to make sure your insurer can give you the right cover that you need while you’re abroad. 

During the screening process, the questions your insurer will ask you will cover:

  • the medications you take for your asthma
  • whether you've recently been hospitalised with your condition
  • if you have any associated health conditions, like osteoporosis 

How much is travel insurance for people with asthma?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition like asthma, the cost of travel insurance is likely to be higher. 

That said, travelling without travel insurance – and paying for your own medical care while you’re abroad – would be a lot more expensive.

Ultimately, the price of your travel insurance policy will always depend on:

  • where you're travelling to
  • how long you're going there for
  • what you'll be doing while on your trip
  • the nature of your pre-existing condition

Does a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) cover my asthma?

Yes. As well as covering your asthma or any other kind of pre-existing condition, a Global Health Insurance Card (also known as a GHIC) helps you access medical care when travelling around certain countries in Europe.

Specifically, your GHIC can be used when you’re visiting:

  • any country within the EU (you can find a list of EU countries on the GOV.UK website) 
  • Montenegro
  • Australia
  • Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man
  • St Helena, Tristan and Ascension

Read our guide on how and where you can use the EHIC/GHIC card.

What preparations should I make for travelling with asthma?

Before you travel, you should make sure to see your GP for a check-up. If your asthma is severe, you might need their permission to confirm that you’re fit to fly.

Other preparations we would also recommend include:

  • checking the pollution levels and air quality in the region you’re travelling to
  • checking the location of where you will be staying, and how far it is from the places you intend on visiting (this is particularly important if your asthma is exercise-induced)
  • checking, before you travel, whether your intended destination has any rules or restrictions surrounding importing medication – in some cases, you might need to take your prescriptions with you to confirm that the medication you carry is for your own use

Flying with asthma

For your flight, we recommend:

  • packing two inhalers, or two kinds of any medication you take, in separate bags in case your luggage is lost or delayed
  • discussing your needs with your airline before you book your flights – if you need assistance during your flight, you should tell your airline at least 48 hours before you fly 

Read our guide on travelling with medication.

What should I take with me when I travel with asthma?

When you’re travelling with asthma, we recommend that you take:

  • the contact details of your GP
  • a note of your medical history, translated into the language spoken at your intended destination
  • a written list of all the medications that you take
  • contact details of a doctor based in your intended destination

What should I do if I become ill while I’m abroad?

If you fall ill while you’re abroad, you should contact the emergency services, go to the nearest hospital, or seek the medical help you need immediately. 

You will also need to contact your insurer’s emergency service or helpline as soon as you can.

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