Coronavirus: information and updates

Travel insurance for disabled people

It’s important to buy travel insurance when planning a trip. Policies cover things like medical costs, equipment and cancellations. It means that if something happens during your trip, like you become ill or get injured, you will have the support you need and you can claim some of the costs.

Warning Travel insurance and coronavirus

Travel policies may not cover cancellations or medical expenses caused by coronavirus. Check with your insurance company before buying.

You may be covered if you booked your holiday and bought insurance before mid-March 2020.

Find travel insurers and see what they cover (Which?)

The more things the policy covers, the more expensive it is. Some people find that the cost is higher to cover certain health conditions.

It’s against the law for a company to refuse to insure you or offer worse terms because you’re disabled. But they can charge you more or apply special conditions if they believe you’re at a higher risk of making a claim.

Warning Buy insurance as soon as you book

Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip so that you’re covered if anything happens before you go.

If you’re booking your trip through an agency or broker, you can usually buy your insurance at the same time.

Questions you might be asked

You may need to answer personal questions about your medical history to get a quote. Depending on your condition or impairment, the insurer may ask about your medical history, such as:

  • prescription medication you take
  • mobility equipment you use
  • any hospital admissions or surgery in recent years
  • ongoing or planned treatment
  • any tests or results you’re waiting on
  • relapses or a decline in your health

You may need to contact your doctor if there are questions you cannot answer.

The insurer might use a language you’re not familiar with. Ask as many questions as you need until you’re sure you understand each other clearly.

Travel insurance jargon buster (Endsleigh)

Warning Be honest with the insurer

You must tell an insurance company of any conditions you have before buying a policy. They call these ‘pre-existing conditions’.

If you do not let them know and then need to make a claim, your policy may be invalid and the company may not pay.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you’re travelling in Europe, an EHIC lets you have state healthcare at a reduced price or for free. The card is free but may not be valid after Brexit in 2021.

Apply for an EHIC (GOV.UK)

What cover do you need?

Make a list of things you want your policy to cover. You may want things like:

  • medical and dental costs for emergency treatment abroad
  • getting home if you become ill, usually called ‘repatriation’
  • luggage and equipment protection
  • cancellation if you cannot go or have to cut your trip short

You can also consider covering:

  • delays or missed departures if something outside of your control happens
  • your money, cash and passport if lost or stolen

Check that the company has 24-hour assistance that you can access during your trip, especially if you’re travelling to different time zones.

What does a good travel insurance policy look like? (Money Advice Service)

Shop around for quotes

Compare prices from several insurers before you buy. Make sure that they can cover the things you need. You can also check with your bank to see if travel insurance is included with your account.

You will need to provide details of any conditions you have to get a quote. It’s important to be honest, even about things you think are small. They may call or email you for more details.

Some insurance companies specialise in helping people with pre-existing conditions. These specialist insurers may be more familiar with your condition and able to give you a better price. These include:

Check with your friends, families and support group to see which companies other people with similar needs are using.

See how others rate your insurer on Trustpilot

You can also use an insurance broker who will shop around for quotes for you. You may have to pay extra for this service. Remember that you know your condition best, and which company you use and what your policy covers is still your decision.

Get a pre-existing medical quote (MoneySuperMarket)

Find an insurance broker (BIBA)

If you’re travelling with family or friends, group policies are based on the person the insurer believes is the highest risk. This could be the oldest person in the group or someone with pre-existing conditions. It may be cheaper to buy separate policies.

Check the excess

The excess is the maximum amount of money you will have to pay if you make a claim. The insurer should pay the rest. If what you need to pay is lower than the excess, you will not get any money from the insurer.

Companies may set different excess amounts.

For example, the insurer says they will cover you for costs of up to £1 million in medical fees on a trip in Europe. The excess is £250.

This means that you pay for anything up to £250 if you need emergency medical treatment on your trip. The insurer will cover the rest.

Read the terms and conditions

Always read the terms and conditions before you buy. You may find a list of things that are not included in your policy.

Tell your insurer about changes

Once you buy travel insurance, you must tell the insurer if there are any changes in your health or condition. They may ask you for a letter from a healthcare professional to show that you’re still fit to travel.

See what changes insurers need to be told about (Which?)

Buying insurance if you're ill or disabled (Money Advice Service)

Travel checklist

Before you travel, make sure you have:

  • your insurance policy number
  • the insurer’s support line number and email address
  • instructions of what to do if something happens on your trip

Last reviewed by Scope on: 20/08/2020

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