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Travelling with a medical condition – insurance tips

Cover against the risk of your suffering an accident or some other medical emergency is typically at the heart of any travel insurance.

It is little wonder, therefore, that insurers take a particular interest all the material facts relating to your existing state of health and any pre-existing medical conditions – these are just the factors which might increase the risk of an incident occurring whilst you are away and the likelihood of your needing to make a claim, therefore.

If you are looking for simple weekend break insurance, or cover for a longer period of travel, you might want to pay particular attention to precautions you might take when travelling with a medical condition:

Your declaration

· given the importance attached to it by insurers in calculating the risks, whenever you apply for travel insurance you are likely to be asked to sign a declaration about your current state of health and any pre-existing medical conditions;

· the proposal documents typically define what is meant by a pre-existing medical condition, but it you are in any doubt, the prudent course of action is to declare it;

· in many cases, this does not mean that the insurer is going to reject your application, but if you subsequently make a claim and it comes to light that you have been suffering an undeclared, pre-existing condition, the insurer is entitled to reject your claim;

· tempting as it might seem, therefore, it never makes sense to attempt to hide or to be less than honest about any condition which you already have or is suspected;

European Health Insurance Card

· a pre-existing medical condition is no obstacle to your obtaining a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC);

· this gives you access to any publicly provided health services within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;

· although the facility may be very useful, however, it is important to remember that it is no substitute for suitable travel insurance, because of the limitations and restrictions that may still apply if you need treatment or care;

· even with an EHIC, for example, there may still be treatments and procedures that are not provided free of charge in the country in which you are travelling and you may still be obliged to make a contribution towards the costs;

· when treatment is provided under the terms of your EHIC, the costs of any necessary medical evacuation or repatriation to the UK are unlikely to be covered;


· when packing for your trip, it is important to remember to take with you – the original and a photocopy – of any prescription for medication you are currently taking;

· this is going to be indispensable if you lose or run out of the prescribed medication of course, and need to buy it wherever you are travelling, but it might also be necessary to present to border control officials as evidence of your legitimate need for the drugs – bearing in mind that medication which has been perfectly legally prescribed in the UK may be subject to further controls or restrictions in the country in which you are travelling.

It is important to keep in mind that any pre-existing medical condition is only rarely any obstacle to your travelling as you wish. In order to ensure that your travel insurance continues to provide the cover you need, however, you might want to keep in mind these tips and suggestions.

Read our Guide to Travelling with Existing Health Conditions.