With proper planning, diabetes needn’t stop you from having a great time while travelling abroad. But it needs to be approached sensibly, and it may affect the price of your travel insurance.
Living with diabetes often requires a little extra preparation and routine, and going travelling is no different.
If you have diabetes type 1 or type 2 and are looking to travel, you’ll need to disclose this when applying for travel insurance. And, put plainly, it’s likely to increase the cost if you have complications.
This is because diabetes is classed as a pre-existing medical condition for travel insurance purposes.
Many standard policies exclude pre-existing medical conditions, and as such you’re likely to need additional cover. If you’d like to get travel insurance with Admiral, you can call us on 0333 234 9913 to discuss your condition. This’ll give you a better idea of whether you can get covered, and how much it’s likely to cost.
How common is diabetes?
Almost 3.7 million people in the UK are diagnosed with diabetes (February 2018), according to Diabetes UK, who also estimate there's likely another million people living with the condition un-diagnosed.
Almost nine in 10 people with diabetes have type 2, where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or cells in the body don’t react to it. This type can be prevented or delayed in three out of five cases by making healthier lifestyle choices. Being obese is the primary cause in the majority of preventable cases.
Type 1 is where the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin at all. It isn’t preventable at the time of writing, but it is more rare.
Do I have to declare diabetes for travel insurance?
Yes - while it isn’t proven that those travelling with diabetes are more likely to become unwell, changes in diet, environment and activity can affect blood glucose levels, and lead to complications. Insurance providers must know about your condition to make sure you get the right treatment quickly if anything happens.
By and large, people who live with pre-existing medical conditions are at greater risk of needing medical treatment while travelling. And although this isn’t necessarily the case with diabetes, treatment may be more complicated and expensive if you do become unwell.
Be assured that any medical disclosures you make are treated in the strictest of confidence.
Can I travel without travel insurance?
Travel insurance isn't compulsory but if any complications arise while you’re abroad, the cost of medical care can be ruinously expensive. If you take out travel insurance without disclosing a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll have to pay for any medical costs related to the condition.
Take a look at the costs of getting ill abroad without travel insurance to give you a better idea.
How much is travel insurance for diabetics?
Your travel insurance price is likely to be higher if you have diabetes-related complications, but it shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive. It’ll be significantly cheaper than paying for medical care out of your own pocket.
If you apply for Admiral Travel Insurance and declare your condition, there’s a good chance you’ll get a quote and hopefully at a price you’re happy with.
What preparations should I make for travelling with diabetes?
It’s a good idea to have a check-up with your GP or diabetic consultant before you travel, for a number of reasons:
- Get a prescription for twice the amount of your regular medication - this’ll allow for any unexpected delays or losses
- If you take insulin, you can get advice on when you should be taking it - particularly if you’re travelling to another time zone
- You may need additional devices, such as monitoring equipment
- Obtain a doctor’s letter - this will detail your prescribed medication, any monitoring and dispensing devices, and other necessary equipment such as needles and syringes needed while you travel. You can present this to customs or security staff, which should make transit easier
- The doctor’s letter will also help you out in the event you lose your medication or need treatment abroad. It’ll also have your diabetic team contact details.
When it comes to travelling:
- If you take insulin, pack it in a cool bag and keep it in your hand-luggage so it’s always accessible
- Pack snacks in case you experience delays
- If you’re flying, get to the airport in plenty of time. Tell airline and security staff about any medication and any other required equipment. Ideally tell the airline about these ahead of time.
What should I do if I become ill while abroad?
If you need medical care abroad, it’s best to contact your insurer’s emergency service as soon as possible. If your travel insurance is with Admiral, our 24-hour emergency assistance helpline is +44 (0)292 010 777.
Bear in mind that becoming ill while abroad may affect others’ travel plans in addition to your own. If you have to cancel and return home, does that mean those travelling with you will have to as well? If so, it’s wise for them to have adequate cover for cancellation too.
To find out how much travel insurance for diabetics will cost, get a quote for travel insurance with medical conditions.