Buying travel insurance can be both costly and stressful, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Insurers will often increase premiums, apply exclusions and may in some cases refuse cover altogether.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a proposal in July 2019 to help consumers with a pre-existing medical condition gain access to better travel insurance deals.
The FCA estimated that up to 14.1 million consumers that live with a pre-existing medical condition attempt to get travel insurance each year and based on their research, around 1.5 million of those will have an exclusion applied for their pre-existing medical condition. A further 100,000 would be declined cover entirely.
What are the travel insurance guidelines for pre-existing medical conditions?
The FCA introduced a 'signposting' rule. This means that if insurers cannot offer cover they have to 'signpost' (recommend) other insurers that can. Insurers that offer retail travel insurance also have to link to at least one of the following websites, BIBA and MoneyHelper.
Insurers have to signpost customers in the following instances:
- If cover has been declined or cancelled mid-term due to a pre-existing medical condition
- If cover has been offered but with an exclusion for a pre-existing medical condition that cannot be removed
- If cover has been offered but with an additional high cost to their premium due to their pre-existing medical condition
In addition, providers have to give details to consumers about the travel insurance market and information on pre-existing medical conditions. The information provided to consumers will highlight the risks and implications of travelling without travel insurance and the potential medical costs based on the country of travel.
Our article, 'Best travel insurance for pre-existing conditions' shares the providers that offer the best cover if you are looking to travel and you have a pre-existing medical condition.
How can I save on travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition?
1 - Shop around
2 - Talk to someone over the phone
On a website the medical screening is computerised. Calling an insurance provider gives you the opportunity to explain your condition over the phone.
3 - Have a joint policy
Some insurers offer couple/multi-member discounts.
4 - Check the destination
Medical cover costs vary by destination as well as the trip length. You may be able to save a significant amount of money by changing the holiday destination. For example, if you are travelling to the USA, insurance premiums are generally higher due to their privatised health care.
5 - Take out a single trip policy
An insurer is more likely to accept cover for shorter periods of time if you have a pre-existing medical condition, compared to covering your medical condition for a 12 month period (due to the level of risk).
6 - Have a GHIC card if travelling within the EU
A GHIC card allows access to state-provided healthcare in countries within the EU. It is advisable to have a GHIC card as well as travel insurance as it does not cover delays, cancellations or lost luggage etc. (GHICs were brought in to replace the current EHIC. If you have an existing EHIC it will be valid until its expiry date.)
For more information on travel insurance and the best providers, read our articles: 'Do you need travel insurance for a ‘staycation’ and how to get the best deal', 'Best travel insurance providers in the UK in 2023' and 'The best travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions'.
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