Understanding Travel Insurance As A Cancer Patient - AAH UK

Understanding Travel Insurance As A Cancer Patient

When diagnosed with a serious illness or disease such as cancer, a holiday can be the perfect way to give you time to come to terms with what lies ahead. Alternatively, you may well want to go on holiday to celebrate having successful surgery or treatments.

Among the many things that need organising before a holiday, one of the most important is travel insurance.

Travel insurance is vital because it covers cancellations, luggage, personal belongings and most important of all medical expenses.

Cover for Cancer Sufferers

Generally, many insurers are reluctant to cover someone suffering from a serious health condition such as cancer. This is because you are more likely to either need expensive medical treatment while abroad or will cancel the holiday all together in advance due to ill health.

However, don’t get too downhearted, because there are ways to get covered so you can go enjoy that well deserved holiday.

Essentially, there are two ways in which you might get covered for a holiday, one more comprehensive than the other.

A select amount of mainstream insurers might well cover you for travel insurance if you have cancer. However, while they will cover you for cancellations and lost luggage, they will not cover you for anything medical related. Depending on your health, this could obviously be very risky.

The more comprehensive option is to search for a specialist insurance company. There are a number of specialist insurers who give full travel cover to people suffering from cancer. The drawback is that this sort of cover requires you to pay a much higher premium.

The process of applying for this sort of travel insurance is much more rigorous than standard cover too. First of all, you may well be required to provide a letter from your doctor which says you are fit and healthy enough to travel.

Providing your doctor clears you for travel, you will then likely have to answer a lot of questions about your cancer diagnosis treatments and prognosis, which for many can be understandably distressing.

The premium you pay will depend on the severity of your cancer and the stage of treatment you’re currently undertaking.

Specialist cancer travel insurance can also vary depending on the country you plan on travelling to. For example, premiums for a holiday in America are usually higher because of their health system.

Cover Once You’ve Recovered

It would be entirely reasonable to think that once you enter remission that it wouldn’t be so difficult to get travel insurance, however, it isn’t quite that simple.

Different insurers have different policies on covering people who’ve recovered from cancer. Some need you to have been clear just a couple of months and others won’t cover you unless you’ve been clear for a number of years.

One thing that they will all have in common is that they will ask for a note from your doctor to officially confirm you actually have recovered.

Whether you are currently suffering from cancer or in recovery, the attitude of insurers can seem a little harsh.

However, it is very important to always give them the necessary information because if you need to claim and they discover you have lied, you may find yourself in a very expensive situation.


The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which many of you will probably have, entities UK residents to emergency hospital treatment whilst temporary visiting a European Union nation, as well as a select few others. Read more on it here.

Remember that this is not a direct substitute for travel insurance and should be taken on holiday as well as insurance.

This card means you will be treated like a local in a hospital which is not always a good thing. Some countries don’t have the same standard of healthcare as the UK or they expect some form of payment for treatments.

Extra Tips

If you suffer from cancer and are considering a holiday, the first thing you should always do is to seek the advice of your doctor before committing to anything.

Once you have booked everything and have secured your travel insurance, remember to take any documents detailing your diagnosis, any medication and contact details for your doctor in the UK.

If you are on medication when you leave, check ahead if it is available in the country you’re visiting in case you misplace your prescribed amount.

Certain forms of cancer can make sufferers more susceptible to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), so make sure to take precautions and ask flight staff about any medical equipment on board before you take off.

Depending on your condition, consider what type of holiday you’ll be able to enjoy. While a trek through the Amazon rainforest might sound amazing, the physical demands, long-distance flights and vaccinations might not be great for you right now.

If you are concerned about the quality of healthcare in the country you’re planning on visiting, get in touch with the local Embassy or Consulate who should be able to give you all the information you need.

Posted In: Cancer, Cancer Support

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