Lifestyle Guides

Travel insurance for people with medical conditions

If you have a pre-existing condition and want to travel, getting cover is still possible. Find out how.

Happy family on travels

Pre-existing medical conditions and directory

Travel insurance is a vital aspect of going away. Whether you're travelling around the UK or going abroad, you need to make sure that you and your travel companions are protected with comprehensive travel insurance. A good premium is even more important if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Making sure you're covered and fit for travel

Fit for travel means you're fit, healthy and able to travel without concern.

If you're in any doubt if you're fit for travel, you should contact your doctor for advice as you won't be covered by travel insurance if your doctor deems you unfit for travel. Before you buy or renew your cover, you need to tell your insurer if you or anyone named on your policy has a pre-existing medical condition.

For most policies, including Admiral Travel Insurance, it includes medical conditions you’ve had within the last two years. You’ll need to tell your insurer about:

  • Advice, treatment or prescriptions from a doctor
  • Investigation of your health or waiting for diagnosis
  • Being on a waiting list for inpatient treatment or being aware that you need inpatient treatment.

If you require cover for more serious medical conditions, the Moneyhelper medical directory may be able to help.

What constitutes a pre-existing medical condition or illness?

The following list of examples is not exhaustive but acts as a guide to pre-existing medical conditions generally recognised by insurers (and are in Admiral's policy docs).

  • Cancers
  • Heart conditions (irregular heartbeat/angina/heart disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Circulatory conditions (strokes/high blood pressure/high cholesterol)
  • Breathing conditions (asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD))
  • Gastro-intestinal or digestive conditions (Crohn's disease/IBS)
  • Bone or joint conditions (arthritis/gout)
  • Psychiatric or psychological conditions (anxiety/depression)
  • Terminal prognosis

If you make a claim for injury or illness, your insurer may need to contact your doctor to receive your medical records and you may not be able to make a claim if you refuse access.

Medical examinations (or a post-mortem) may also be required in light of your claim - your insurer may pay cover expenses for these.

Why do I have to tell my insurer if I have a medical condition?

This is to certify you're fully covered should anything happen on your trip relating to a pre-existing medical condition. It will go on your insurer’s file and is confidential – you can check this with your insurer. This information means that if you require medical assistance, the experts at the emergency assistance service will be able to advise you on the best care.

Your insurer may refuse a claim if it's in any way connected to a pre-existing medical condition that you haven’t specified. Claims are also often denied for people who:

  • Travel against the advice of their doctor, or fail to seek advice where travel would have been denied
  • Travel for the purpose of receiving treatment i.e. an operation in a foreign country
  • Fail to take necessary medication i.e. any prescribed medicines or inoculations.

Will my insurance be more expensive if I have a medical condition?

The cost of your cover usually depends on:

  • The number of travellers on your policy
  • Where you're travelling to
  • The nature of any pre-existing medical condition(s)

I've been diagnosed with a medical condition after buying insurance, am I still covered to go away?

Yes, usually, as long as:

  • Your doctor says you are fit for travel
  • You've told your insurer about the changes to your health

When you tell your insurer about a new medical condition and they agree to cover you for it, you may have to pay an additional premium.

If they can’t cover you or you don’t agree with any changes to the terms and conditions, you may be able to cancel it as long as you haven’t already started your trip. You should get a full or partial refund.

The MoneyHelper directory

If you require cover for more serious medical conditions, MoneyHelper may be able to help you find specialist travel insurance through their medical directory. 

If you wish to get in touch with them you can call them on 0800 138 7777 or find them online here. (Monday to Friday 8:00-18:00, closed on Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays.)

Can I make a claim once I return home?

Ideally, claims should only be made while you’re on holidays; retrospective claims aren’t normally considered, no matter how costly or minor the treatment.

As soon as you require medical care abroad, contact your insurer’s emergency service as soon as possible. Admiral's 24-hour Emergency Assistance Helpline is on +44 (0)292 010 777.