Travel insurance for diabetics

Find out what travel insurance you need if you’re diabetic and how the right cover can help you travel with confidence.

Do I need travel insurance if I'm diabetic?

You’re not required to have travel insurance, but if something went wrong on your trip or even beforehand, it could prove to be invaluable.

Many standard travel insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, but diabetic travel insurance specifically caters for people living with diabetes.

With this cover in place, any unplanned complications or cancellations related to your condition could be covered and emergency treatment accessed when you need it.

Child looking out of an airport window at a plane

Key points

  • Most standard travel insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing health conditions
  • Diabetes travel insurance provides full cover for anything that might happen while you’re away
  • Insurers will ask medical screening questions to make sure you get the right cover
  • If you don’t declare pre-existing medical conditions, you risk invalidating your policy

What does diabetic travel insurance cover?

Diabetic travel insurance should cover you for everything that good standard policies do, so you’ll be protected against common situations like lost luggage and flight cancellations.

But it’s also designed to make sure any emergency medical and hospital expenses related to your condition are covered.

A typical diabetic travel insurance policy may include cover for:

  • At least £5 million for emergency medical expenses
  • Repatriation if you need emergency transport back to the UK
  • Cancellation or cutting short your trip due to your diabetes
  • Costs if you need to extend your trip while you recuperate
  • Lost, stolen or damaged personal belongings - this can include medication you take away with you - like insulin
  • Travelling companion cancellation - this may be offered as a policy add-on to cover your companion’s trip being cancelled due to your condition
  • Travel delays due to your condition

Cover may vary between providers so always check your policy to see what is and isn’t included.

Will I pay more for insurance if I have diabetes?

A pre-existing medical condition may push the price of your travel insurance up, but this isn’t the only factor that insurers take into consideration.

Your premium will also be calculated based on factors like your age, where you’re travelling to and how long you’ll need cover for.

The price can vary a lot between providers so it’s always best to compare quotes and check policies to see what’s included and what the excess amounts are.

What will I be asked in my screening process?

When you take out a travel insurance policy, you’ll be asked a number of screening questions about your condition so you can be given the right cover.

The questions could include:

  • Whether you take medication for your diabetes
  • If you’ve had to go into hospital because of your diabetes in the past few years
  • Whether your diabetes has caused you to have any other health conditions
  • If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol

Insurance for diabetes type 1 and travel advice

If you’re a type 1 diabetic it’s a good idea to do some research before you set off. For example, the NHS advises taking three times as much medical kit as you’d expect to need.

A doctor’s letter explaining your condition and the medication you’ll need to take on the plane can help when you’re going through airport security.

And if you need to use a pump or continuous glucose monitor on board check with your airline before you travel, you may need to complete extra paperwork.

Insurance for diabetes type 2 and travel advice

If you need to bring medication with you, take more than you need to cover unexpected delays or losses.

Be aware of time zones that could affect your medication schedule and keep details about the medication and doses you need and will be carrying.

Take your GP's contact details with you as well as your travel insurance paperwork. Before you leave, check where the nearest doctor’s surgery is to your accommodation.

Tips for people travelling with diabetes

There are a few things you can do to help manage your diabetes when you’re travelling, these include:

  1. Make a packing checklist

    List everything you’ll need to manage your diabetes on your journey and once you’re there. Remember to check this list for the return trip too

  2. Talk to your doctor or diabetes care team

    Get advice from them on travelling and managing your insulin across different time zones. You can also read the NHS guide

  3. Keep what you need at hand

    Keep your diabetes supplies, ID and any medication you need in your hand luggage. And give some to a partner or friend to take in case it goes missing

  4. Follow your usual meal plan as closely as possible

    You may also need to correct your ratios more, as many people experience high blood sugars when they’re travelling

  5. Get to the airport in good time

    This can help if it takes a while to have your medication cleared by security

  6. Plan for delays

    Take extra snacks with you and try to carry extra starchy foods like biscuits and cereal bars which have longer-acting carbohydrates