Travel insurance if you have cancer

If you have or have had cancer, you may find it much harder to get travel insurance or cover which is affordable.

Some of the biggest travel insurance companies seem to take a ‘tick box’ approach to working out what kind of risk you might be if you’ve had cancer. Lots of the insurers use the same screening system, so if one turns you down, you may be refused by others.

Having said that, not all insurers use this system. Some companies use specialist medical screening services or rely on a ‘fit to travel’ note from your GP.

Problems getting travel insurance if you have cancer

The financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has published some research it carried out into the problems that people with cancer can have getting travel insurance. Its report says that:

  • Charities and consumer groups have found ‘excessively high prices’ and big differences in the prices charged by the mainstream insurance companies compared to specialist providers.
  • There’s little consistency in how insurers assess someone who’s in remission or cancer free, so it’s hard to compare quotes.
  • Insurance premium tax (IPT) penalises those who have to pay the most for their travel insurance, as it’s levied at a rate of 20% of the price. The FCA passed the feedback onto the Treasury.

How to find travel insurance if you have cancer

It is possible to get travel insurance if you have cancer by shopping around on a price comparison site. However, some insurers listed on these sites are very keen to insure the lowest risk travellers, and less keen to insure those who may have or have had a serious illness.

However, there are a number of specialist travel insurance companies that are aimed at people who have cancer and there are also a number of specialist insurance brokers. According to the FCA, around 100 insurance brokers who are members of BIBA (the British Insurance Brokers’ Association) can arrange travel insurance for someone with cancer.

Cancer charities’ websites are a good starting point for information and sometimes for suggestions of travel insurance companies. Be aware that the charities aren’t recommending these insurers or guaranteeing that you’ll be able to get insured by them. It’s just that they’re more likely to say yes to you than other companies.

The following brokers are listed on Cancer Research UK’s website:

JD Travel Insurance

Orbis

Insurance Choice

The following insurance companies offer travel insurance if you have or have had cancer. It’s not an exhaustive list as there may be other companies that also insure people with cancer.

Freedom Travel Insurance

World First

InsureCancer

It’s So Easy travel insurance

AllClear Insurance

Insurance from your bank

If you have insurance through a bank account that you pay a monthly fee for, you may well find that you’re able to get cover on your existing policy for anything that’s not related to your cancer. Check with your bank. Don’t assume that you’re insured unless you’ve got something in writing from them (a letter or email).

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