Whether it’s rest and relaxation you need or a little bit of excitement and adventure, if you feel up to travelling then having cancer doesn’t need to stop you from exploring the rest of the world.
If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, a holiday can give you the time and space to come to terms with the illness. Or maybe you need a few days away to recuperate from cancer treatment. You might even want to go on holiday to celebrate the all-clear.
Unfortunately, many travel insurers are reluctant to cover cancer patients, or anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, because they are considered more likely to make a claim.
Finding travel insurance for cancer patients
The attitude of insurers towards cancer patients can seem harsh, but you should always be open and honest about your medical history. If you fail to disclose any relevant details, your insurer can justifiably refuse to pay a claim – and that could prove to be very expensive.
Holiday insurance options if you have cancer
If you have cancer, there are two main options open to you:
A mainstream lender may agree to insure your trip but will exclude any claim related to your cancer. For example, if you’ve finished treatment and pick up an infection when you’re away because your natural immune system is weaker than normal, your insurer may reject the claim. Also, if you have to completely cancel your trip because you become too ill to travel, then you’ll probably have to pay the cost out of your own pocket.
Specialist travel insurance for cancer patients
Alternatively, you could contact a specialist insurer, which will then take advice from a doctor as to whether you’re fit enough to travel and whether your travel plans are reasonable.
You will also have to answer a lot of questions about the cancer diagnosis, the stage and grade of your illness, as well as the prognosis. The experience can be distressing, but it can help if you have all the information to hand.
You should be prepared to pay a higher premium because of the greater risk of a claim. The premiums vary according to the severity of your cancer and the stage of treatment.
What if I no longer have cancer?
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer in the past but have now been given the all-clear getting travel insurance may be easier, but providers may still be hesitant to provide you with the standard cover.
Most insurers will insist on a letter from your doctor to confirm that you no longer have the disease and are well enough to travel.
Insurance companies differ on how long you must be free of cancer before you can be given a policy – between three and 12 months could be typical, but in extreme cases, it might be 10 years.
Travel tips for people with cancer
- You should seek advice from a medical professional before you travel. It is also wise to take with you any documents detailing your diagnosis, treatment and medication, plus contact details for your doctor in your home country.
- When you are planning your holiday, choose your destination with care. For example, you don’t necessarily want to sit on a long flight or undergo an arduous journey to a remote outpost with few creature comforts. You may also want to research how far the nearest hospital is to your accommodation.
- You should be allowed to carry medication in your hand luggage, though you should still check your airline’s regulations before travelling. When arriving at the airport, check in early for any flight and find out about any medical equipment on board the aircraft.
- If you are taking medication, you should check on the availability of your drugs overseas and keep a note of the prescription in case your medicines are lost or stolen. You might also need a letter to explain the presence of any pills or syringes in your luggage – and don’t forget to take advice on dispensing your medication if you are travelling to a different time zone.