Most people love to travel and rightly so. The world has so much to explore and enjoy, so why should you be restricted to the UK alone when planning your next holiday? What’s more, if you have a medical condition, you shouldn’t be worried about travelling abroad – as long as you take the right precautions. Instead, it can be pretty easy to journey around the world and see the amazing sights on offer. This is regardless of whether you’re elderly, disabled, or even have a medical condition.
This resource will address some of the common problems associated with travelling abroad, providing expert advice and tips throughout.
We’ll give specific information on:
• Travelling with medication.
• Travelling with a disability that affects movement.
• Travelling with a medical condition that needs to be monitored.
You’re welcome to use this guide as you see best, with the opportunity to pick out the most appropriate sections or read the full resource. Just make sure you know the facts before travelling overseas with a medical condition.
Getting travel insurance with a medical condition
Whenever travelling abroad, insurance is vital. Otherwise, how would you be protected in the event of an accident or emergency situation? From needing hospital treatment abroad to requiring an emergency evacuation, insurance is in place to cover these costs.
Of course, we would all hope our travels are hassle free. However, planning for the worst is always recommended, so you have something in place for an emergency. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you have a medical condition or not, travel insurance should always be one of your priorities.
Travel insurance can be difficult to get, dependent on your medical condition. Unfortunately, you may not be covered by your first choice trip either, but there may be an alternative destination where cover would be possible. Therefore, it’s always worth checking with your provider.
It’s not just medical conditions that’ll be factored in either. Your physical and mental health will also be questioned, so if you have a disability or mental health problem such as anxiety or depression, you’ll need to state this when applying for insurance.
As you’d expect therefore, arranging travel insurance can be frustrating. However, remember it’s a necessity. Fortunately though, there are opportunities to get travel insurance tailored to certain medical conditions – so make sure to keep an eye out for these.
It would also be ill-advised to avoid stating a medical condition you have or are receiving treatment for. Any fabrication could lead to future claims being rejected and your insurance cover invalidated. Whilst you may feel tempted to twist the truth in an effort to benefit from cheaper insurance rates, companies can ask for access to your medical files, if you go on to make a later claim.
For that reason, you should include any medical condition or ailment and declare this from the very start. Once you’ve declared your medical condition, you’ll then be screened so the provider can find out more on your situation.
It’s also worth mentioning that your travel insurance quote could be affected by which region of the world you’re travelling to. For instance, countries where medical care is expensive may lead to increased pricing. These countries include Canada, the US, Caribbean countries, Cyprus and even Spain.
It is also important to inform the insurer of any changes in health that may happen from the time of purchasing to the date of travelling. If you or someone else named on the policy needs medical attention whilst on holiday and any changes have not been declared, the claim may be declined.
What is included in medical condition travel insurance?
As you’ll likely know, it can be difficult to get a good price for your travel insurance if you’ve a medical condition. Therefore, it’s important to find a policy that’s right for your needs, to ensure you’ll be fully protected when leaving the country.
Why is it difficult to get travel insurance with a medical condition?
It’s a question many people ask, but in essence, the answer is relatively straightforward. Travel insurance will be difficult to arrange and more expensive, because there’s a greater risk of insurers needing to pay out.
Overseas medical claims add up to an expensive outlay for travel insurance providers. Collectively, insurers can spend millions of pounds on foreign hospital treatment, emergency repatriation and other medical expenses.
Therefore, if you’re looking to travel overseas, some insurers may factor the increased risk into your costs. Insurancewith work differently though, individually screening each customer to ensure they pay for the right cover based on their personal situation.
What will your travel insurance cover?
If you have a medical condition and want to travel abroad, you may question what’s included in the contract. Of course, this would depend on the agreement itself and you should check what is and isn’t included before signing the dotted line. However, for those with a medical condition and arranging specialist insurance to cover this, your insurance will likely include:
• Medical expenses if you fall ill or are injured when abroad.
• Repatriation to ensure you’re able to get back home safely.
• Travel expenses if you’re forced to stay abroad longer than planned due to a medical condition.
Depending on your illness or condition, your insurer could ask a number of personal questions you may feel are invasive. However, even though you may not want to, you should answer every question honestly and give information that’s to the best of your knowledge. Your insurer could seek medical confirmation if they require anything else.
By taking your time to arrange travel insurance and ensuring to get the right cover, you’ll have the peace of mind you need to see the world safely and above all, with the protection you need.
Tips to help you travel safely with a medical condition
Travelling with a medical condition is widely accepted as being safe. Despite this though, airlines do have the right to deny passengers who could suffer complications in the air. For those travelling by plane, the most common in-flight problems are as follows:
• Neurologic events
• Cardiac events
• Respiratory events
• Gastrointestinal events
• Vasovagal syncope (fainting)
If you’re worried about the risk of being denied passage when leaving or flying back to the UK, it’s worthwhile speaking to your doctor to ask for medical clearance. Consider if any of the following apply:
• You could compromise the safety of the aircraft when travelling.
• You require specialist medical care or equipment in the air.
• Your condition may worsen from flying.
• You are at risk of affecting fellow passengers.
For those with an underlying medical concern, even if it’s unlikely to cause problems when flying or won’t worsen drastically whilst abroad, it’s still important to get the sign-off from your doctor. These medical conditions would include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy and respiratory issues.
Take a look at our top tips for keeping safe abroad if you suffer from a medical condition.
1. Have enough medication for the trip
Unfortunately, travelling abroad can be unpredictable. Who can second guess when a third party incident could result in delays and cancellations? If you need medication for your condition, ensure to carry extra with you to compensate for any problems. You should also keep all medication in your hand luggage, to prevent the risk of it being lost in transit.
2. Ensure your medical identification is wornPatients suffering from a medical condition may have an identification bracelet. This enables medical staff to identify the problem quickly and easily, should you become ill or be involved in an emergency abroad. Your bracelet will alert medical teams at the scene that you have a condition they should be aware of. If you don’t have a bracelet, make sure to keep a card or certificate with you at all times.
3. Keep medical paperwork on you
Regardless of whether you have a medical bracelet (see point 2), it’s still important to keep your medical information on you at all times. You can even have all the necessary info printed onto a small card for convenience. This means foreign medical services are able to help you out in an appropriate way, should you run into difficulties.
Your medical card should include information such as:
• Your GP’s name and contact information
• Your relevant health insurance information
• Your full travel insurance information
• The names of all medication being taken
• A full list of allergies and illnesses
4. Ensure your travel insurance is inclusive of your condition
This has been discussed in some detail already, but it’s worth reiterating once again. When travelling overseas, let your insurers know of all current medical conditions and ensure these are fully covered abroad. Make sure to include illnesses, recent injuries and conditions requiring treatment or you have symptoms for. Of course, how your travel insurers view this condition will vary from company to company and dependent on your health, you may still be accepted onto a standard package. There are also tailored options for travellers with a certain condition, so keep a lookout for these too.
5. Have documents to prove any implant
If you have an implant of any kind, having a doctor’s note handy will save aggravation and ensure you’re able to travel safely without disruption. For instance, at airport security checks you’ll need to be scanned and this can lead to problems if you’ve an implant and no letter. There’s also the risk of complications caused by the magnetic scanners at airports, so speak to your doctor about the best course of action for passing through these checks.
With a doctor’s note, you’ll be able to show this to security and therefore, pass through safely. Security scanners have been known to impact pacemakers and other implants, so it’s simply not worth taking the risk.
6. Travelling abroad with oxygen
If you suffer from a respiratory condition, you may need to take oxygen with you. However, as you would expect, these can be problematic when it comes to boarding planes. Oxygen could be extremely hazardous when mishandled and as such, you’ll need to speak to the airline to find out what is and isn’t accepted.
Also, if you do require oxygen as part of your treatment, ensure to bring more than enough to cover your trip. You’ll want refills to cover your back should there be any delays.
Check with your own doctor prior to travelling regarding your oxygen requirements and inform the airline.
7. Research the country’s medical care system
As part of your planning and preparation, you should research foreign medical systems and find out how you’ll be treated and what you need to do should you require medical help. Whilst this wouldn’t be a problem travelling around the UK, when abroad you’ll fall under different regulations and may not speak the local language either.
Therefore, if you’re planning on a trip in the near future, make sure to conduct enough research to ensure you’re well prepared. There are some great sources for you to obtain this information, such as:
• Speaking with your travel insurance provider. They’ll be able to help you find emergency medical care abroad.
• The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers. You can become a member of the IAMAT for free and gain access to healthcare providers vetted by the organisation.
It’s always recommended to have both of these options at your disposal. Then, should you have any problems abroad, you’ll have information right at your fingertips.
8. Ensure to plan ahead and have a back-up
For those traveling with a medical condition, organisation and prior planning are both key. You need a back-up plan for everything. For instance, if you lose your medication – make sure to have copies of your prescription to hand. This means you’ll be able to get more abroad if necessary.
Likewise, if you’re caught up in an accident and need emergency help, having your medical bracelet and paperwork handy will ensure you get the best care possible. In essence, plan for the worst and you’ll be suitably prepared.
When you’re travelling abroad, guarantee a wonderful experience by having your back covered and planning for any eventuality. Whether it’s a heart condition or ongoing illness, a health issue shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world. Just make sure you’re prepared and safe to travel.
For more information, please see the following links:
Citizen’s Advice Guide To Travel Insurance: