Travel insurance for cancer patients

Compare travel insurance policies for that much-needed break.

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Can you get travel insurance if you have cancer?

Not all insurers will cover people with serious medical conditions, but it can still be possible to get suitable travel insurance for a good price.

If you compare travel insurance quotes with us, we’ll ask about any pre-existing medical conditions you have, including whether you currently have, or previously had, cancer.

Your options may depend on the severity of your condition and it can be more difficult to find cover for serious health issues.

Some insurers refuse to cover certain pre-existing conditions. Others will give you cover, but they may exclude your particular condition from the cover, or charge extra to include it.

Depending on how serious your cancer is, you may need to look for a specialist provider - one that’s used to insuring people with more complex medical needs.

If you have trouble finding a policy, you can try contacting insurers listed on the Money Helper directory of providers.

Why do I need travel insurance for cancer?

Buying a travel insurance policy that covers cancer means you may be protected for treatment relating to your condition.

So if you fall ill abroad because of your diagnosis, things like medical care and repatriation to the UK could be paid for.

These sorts of expenses can amount to tens of thousands of pounds. Without travel insurance that covers your cancer, you’d have to foot the bill yourself.

A policy that covers cancer could also reimburse your holiday costs if you have to cancel or cut short your trip because of your condition.

If you plan a holiday without buying travel insurance or purchase a policy that doesn’t cover cancer, you’re taking a risk.

Do I need to declare cancer for travel insurance?

Yes, you should always inform your insurer about your cancer (and any other medical conditions you have), or you won’t be covered for any claims related to it.

Even if you no longer have cancer, you still need to declare that you’ve previously had it, whether you’re in remission or cancer-free.

If you don’t let your insurer know about a current cancer diagnosis - or cancer in the past - they can refuse any claims you make.

Types of travel insurance

Single-trip insurance

This covers you for one holiday. It begins on the day your holiday starts and it ends when you get home.

Annual insurance

Also known as multi-trip insurance, this covers you for multiple trips over the course of a year. If you find it difficult to get an annual policy because you have cancer, then you may still be able to get cover with single-trip insurance.

Whether you choose single-trip or annual travel insurance, you’ll need to state whether you want European or worldwide cover which will affect the cost.

What does travel insurance with cancer cover include?

You’ll be covered for the same things as everybody else, but also for situations relating to your cancer. It should include:

  1. Medical care

    If you fall ill, including cancer-related illness, or if you have an accident and need medicine or hospital treatment.

  2. Repatriation

    If you fall ill while you’re away and need specialist care, your travel insurance will cover the cost of transporting you back home or to the nearest hospital.

  3. Holiday cancellation, curtailment and delays

    If you have to cancel or cut short a trip, including if it's because of your condition, you’ll be compensated.

  4. Lost or stolen luggage and personal belongings

    Helps you recoup the cost of replacement items.

  5. Legal fees

    Cover for legal expenses if you need to claim damages from a third party because of something that happens during your trip.

What won’t travel insurance cover?

In general, you won’t be covered for:

Travelling against medical advice

If you've been advised not to travel by your GP or hospital consultant, your insurance will be invalid.

Changing your mind

If you decide to cancel your holiday simply because you’ve had a change of mind, this won’t be covered by travel insurance.

Travelling against government advice

When the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) warns against all travel, or all but essential travel, to your holiday destination, you normally won’t be covered if you decide to go ahead with the trip.

Failure to get vaccinated for a preventable tropical disease

If you haven’t had the recommended inoculations or medication for the destination you’re travelling to and you subsequently get ill from a tropical disease, a claim for medical expenses or repatriation can be rejected.

Taking part in extreme sports and activities

Standard travel insurance won’t cover you for certain dangerous activities like hang-gliding or bungee jumping. You’ll need to take out extra cover if you’re planning on taking part in risky sports. Always read the policy documents carefully to see what is excluded, you may be surprised.

Optional extras

You can usually add extras to your policy, including:

  • Golf cover - It can cover you for loss, theft or damage of your expensive golf gear and can pay for replacement equipment hire, so you don’t have to miss out on playing.
  • Winter sports - This upgrade offers protection should you suffer an unfortunate accident while taking part in a winter sport. It also covers lost, stolen or damaged ski equipment and even piste closures or avalanches which affect your holiday.
  • Cruise cover - Compensation if you’re confined to your cabin, miss excursions or if there’s a change of itinerary and you can’t dock due to bad weather.

How much is travel Insurance for cancer patients?

It depends on the insurer and policy. But travel insurance for cancer patients does tend to be more expensive because of the extra risk involved in insuring someone with a serious medical condition.

Insurers will consider a few things when pricing your policy - like the type of cancer you have, how advanced or severe it is and whether you’re now in remission. Prices will also depend on how long your trip is and how old you are.

Where you’re travelling to will also influence the cost of cover. For example, medical treatment is extremely expensive in countries like the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. So you can expect a policy covering these places to cost more.

Compare a range of policies to see which is the right choice for you.

What details will you need to provide to get a quote?

Your insurer will need to know your personal details, where you’re travelling to, how long for and who with.

You’ll also need to let your insurer know that you have, or have had, cancer.

You’ll then be asked for details of your cancer. This is called medical screening, and it’s so insurers can assess whether they have a policy suitable for your needs.

Let them know about any other pre-existing health conditions you have, too, so they can be included in your travel insurance.

What you need to know before buying travel insurance

Not all insurers will offer travel insurance that includes medical cover for cancer.

Some may refuse to cover you altogether. Others might offer to cover you, but will exclude anything to do with your cancer.

So, if you fall ill on holiday due to your cancer, you’d have to pay for any treatment yourself. And for repatriation home, if it’s deemed necessary. This could cost you tens of thousands of pounds.

There are providers who will include medical cover for your cancer, though. So you need to shop around.

You may need to send a doctor’s letter to your insurer saying you’re fit to travel. You’ll also need to answer a series of questions about your cancer. Ask your doctor or cancer nurse about anything you’re unsure of.

Frequently asked questions

Insurers will ask a few questions about your cancer to determine if they’re able to offer you cover. And to personalise the cover to you if they’re able to offer travel insurance.

They’ll want to know about:

  • The type of cancer you have (or had)
  • If the cancer has spread (what stage your cancer is) or if it’s been completely removed
  • The grade of your cancer
  • What treatment you’re currently undergoing or what treatment you have planned
  • What medication you take
  • How long ago your last treatment was

It’s important you let your provider know about any changes to your health after you’ve bought your policy.

If you don’t let your insurer know and you need to make a claim further down the line, it might be rejected.

If your insurer feels that the change in your cancer alters the insured risk, they may charge you an extra premium and an administration fee to update the policy.

In some instances, an insurer could withdraw cover altogether if they feel the change in your health is so drastic, they can no longer take on the risk. If that happens, you’d need to look for alternative cover.

Some drugs are restricted in certain countries. So you may need a doctor’s letter to take your medication abroad with you. Ask your GP well in advance of your trip to provide you with a letter that explains your condition and lists the drugs, as well as the dosage, you’re taking.

Check with the country’s embassy or high commission for restrictions.

Not all will, but some insurers will cover people with terminal cancer.

Terminal patients will need a note from their doctor saying they’re fit to travel. And their life expectancy would usually need to be more than six months after the date of their return from the trip.

You still need to tell your insurer. Some insurers won’t offer cover unless you’ve been in remission for a certain amount of time.

If you’re being investigated for cancer, it’s unlikely you’ll get a provider willing to cover you until you’ve been diagnosed, or given the all-clear.

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Last reviewed 17/05/2023

Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

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