Disability travel insurance

Having a disability shouldn’t hold you back from travelling. And with the right insurance in place, you can be confident that you have the cover you need for your next holiday.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 15 May 2023  | 3 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Does travel insurance cover disabilities?

If you have a disability, whether it’s physical or a chronic condition that affects your mobility, it shouldn’t put a stop to your travel plans.

But it’s wise to have a suitable travel insurance policy in place - one that covers your particular disability, so you’re fully protected should anything happen.

The right policy can pay for any emergency medical expenses, including anything that happens as a result of your disability. It’ll also cover the cost of getting you back home, when necessary, if you fall ill while you’re away.

Plus, if you have to cancel your trip beforehand, or come home early, travel insurance can cover that too, as well as paying out for lost or stolen luggage and possessions.

It can be more difficult than usual to get travel insurance when you have a disability. But, provided you’re not travelling against the advice of a medical practitioner, there are insurers which will cover you. It’s just a matter of searching and comparing cover.

Look for insurers that include cover for pre-existing conditions and check if your disability is included in their cover. Or search out specialist providers that offer tailored cover for your disability.

Disability travel insurance is likely to be more expensive than a standard policy. But it’s vital you let the insurer know about your condition. If you don’t, you won’t be covered for any claims related to it.

Each policy will cover different things, so it's always best to check the policy covers what you want before committing.

What does disability travel insurance cover me for?

A disability travel insurance policy should cover you for everything a standard policy does including:

  • Medical expenses - including those related to your particular disability
  • A 24/7 emergency medical helpline
  • Repatriation cover
  • Cancellation and curtailment cover
  • Lost or delayed luggage
  • Theft or loss of personal possessions
  • Personal liability

It could also include extras like:

  • Cover for medical aids/mobility scooters and wheelchairs
  • Loss of medication
  • Replacement carers

Cover for mobility scooters and wheelchairs

Mobility scooters and wheelchairs can be expensive pieces of kit. So if you’re taking your own with you, check whether your policy provides cover if they’re lost, stolen or accidentally damaged.

Though personal belongings can be covered on a policy, there’ll usually be a single-article limit imposed. This is the maximum amount you can claim for any one item.

If the single-article limit on your policy isn’t enough for your mobility equipment, you may need to take out extra cover or insure them separately on a policy that includes cover for taking them on holiday.

A specialist disability travel insurance policy may include specific cover for your mobility equipment up to a certain amount - perhaps £2,000 or more. It could also pay for the cost of hiring a temporary replacement if something happens to yours.

If you have to make a claim, the insurer will want to be sure you took adequate care. This means not leaving your scooter or wheelchair unattended in a public place.

Cover for loss of medication

Check that your travel insurance would cover an emergency replacement prescription if your medication got lost on holiday.

Similarly, find out if it covers the cost of getting extra prescription medication if you run out because you’ve had to extend your stay for a valid reason.

A specialist disability travel policy often includes loss of medication as standard.

Cover for replacement carers

If you’re travelling with a carer you depend on, it’s important to have a plan in place should something happen. For example, what would happen if they fell ill or had an accident and had to cancel going away with you?

Some disability travel policies include replacement carer cover. It’ll pay for the emergency replacement of a carer (accommodation and travel, if necessary), so you can still take the trip or continue on with it even if your original carer can’t.

Tips for travelling with a disability

  • You should let your transport carrier (airport and airline or the ship operator and port terminal) know of your assistance needs at least 48 hours before you travel, preferably when you book though. Especially if you plan to take your own mobility scooter, wheelchair or an assistance dog with you.
  • ABTA has a useful travel checklist for disabled and less mobile passengers to fill in and give to tour operators or travel agents. With the completed list they can check that the transport, accommodation and facilities at the destination are right for you and that your accessibility needs are met.
  • Make sure the accommodation can cater to your needs. If you’re booking through a travel agent or tour operator, they should be able to confirm this with the provider. Or contact them directly if you’re unsure and want to query potential accessibility issues, such as access to your room, restaurant, swimming pool and beach, for example.
  • If you’re taking medication with you, be aware that some countries have restrictions in place. Speak to your doctor and check with the country’s embassy to verify that you’re able to take your medication with you. You may also need a letter from your doctor with details of your medication in case you need to get more while travelling.