Ask the expert: What do I need to know about travel insurance?

Having lymphoma means that you need to plan ahead to get the right insurance.

Holiday image

Travel insurance is often more expensive for people who have a health condition. This is because insurance companies calculate the cost of your cover (the premium) by working out:

  • the risk you will make a claim
  • how likely you are to cancel your trip
  • how likely you are to fall ill abroad
  • the cost of any medical treatment you might need.

If you have lymphoma, it is important to have medical cover as part of your insurance. Insurers will ask medical screening questions which can be frustrating, but are needed to create a policy that is right for you. Don’t be tempted to hide anything or you might not be fully covered if you are unwell while you are travelling.

In countries where medical services are expensive, travel insurance can be costly. For example North America, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong and the Caribbean have high medical costs. Some companies won’t insure you for these countries, but may do so if you’re going on a cruise.  Australia, New Zealand and Europe have lower medical costs and some insurers class Egypt, Morocco and Turkey as part of Europe.

A company might offer you cover for medical conditions excluding your lymphoma. This is known as a policy with an exemption or exclusion. Although it is cheaper you may not be covered for any illness that your lymphoma might be linked to. For example if you develop a heart problem, the insurer might argue that there was a possible link between the chemotherapy you have had in the past and your heart problems now. If you are thinking about taking cover that excludes your lymphoma, ask your doctor for advice.

If you have an existing annual travel insurance policy, you must tell your insurer that you have been diagnosed with lymphoma. They may agree to cover you for your lymphoma, although you will probably have to pay extra. If you don’t tell them, you are unlikely to be covered if you need to make a claim.

Question originally covered in Lymphoma Matters issue 111

8 August 2019