Travel insurance

How cancer can affect travel insurance

When you already have a health problem before buying travel insurance, travel insurance providers call this a pre-existing condition.

Providers typically consider pre-existing conditions to be:

  • any serious condition such as cancer, heart trouble or respiratory problems
  • any conditions you have seen a doctor about in the last year, including minor ones
  • any condition you are waiting for test results for
  • any condition you are waiting for an operation on.

You should tell travel insurance providers about any of these that apply to you and ask for their guidance. If you don’t tell them about any health problems, whether related to cancer or not, they may later refuse any claim you make.

What providers may offer

Depending on your situation and the travel insurance provider, it’s possible that they may not offer to insure you. If the provider is willing to insure you, they may offer you travel insurance:

  • within their usual terms and conditions
  • with a higher premium because you have or have had cancer
  • with an excess
  • with a cancer-related exclusion – where you would not be covered for claims related to your cancer. Whether or not you are comfortable with this will depend on your situation. If your insurance provider applies an exclusion, you should make sure you understand exactly what you are and are not covered for.

If someone close to you has cancer

You need to tell the insurance provider if someone else’s health may affect your trip – for example, if your partner, relative or friend has cancer. This applies to someone travelling with you or someone at home. This is because there is a risk that your trip may have to be cancelled or cut short because of their health.

There are often no specific questions on travel insurance application forms about the health of someone you know. But the terms and conditions of the policy may refer to someone else who might cause you to make a claim. So it’s really important to read the terms and conditions carefully.

You should also tell the provider if there are any health changes between taking out the insurance and travelling. This includes any changes in the health of the person you know with cancer, and your own.

If you give all this information to your insurance provider in advance, you may be covered if you need to cancel the trip. This depends on the provider and the policy. Ask the provider as early as possible about this.