Most of us are well aware that we need to tell our travel insurance company about any illnesses which we have, or anything which we have spoken to the doctor about and is still under investigation. However, many cancer patients who have been given the all-clear by doctors after successful treatment have discovered that they are penalised when it comes to arranging travel insurance and end up being quoted very high sums for their policy, or being refused cover entirely. So what are the options in these situations?
All Cancers Are Different
There are many different types of cancer, and whether you have been diagnosed with one of the cancers which is easier to treat and which has a high rate of recovery, or one of the more aggressive types of cancer, you have to tell your insurer. All insurance companies operate a risk scoring system, whereby they will look at all of the information you have given them and work out the possibility of you making a claim, and the potential amount they may have to pay out. Many insurers will refuse to underwrite the risk of complications arising from cancer treatment completely, so any illness connected in whatever way with a previous cancer diagnosis will not be covered. Furthermore, the mere fact you have had cancer – even if it has been completely cured – could add hundreds of pounds onto the cost of travel insurance.
There are a few options for people who still want to enjoy holidays overseas after successful treatment for cancer, or indeed any other illness. The first option is just to pay the increased premium, and accept that you will not be covered for a recurrence of any cancer. Shopping around will always get you the best price, and many of the cancer charities can advise on which insurance companies have the best policies and prices. Alternatively, an insurance broker who can access a wide range of policies from specialist insurers and find cover which most closely suits your personal situation.
EHIC For Europe
One good alternative for travel to many countries within Europe is EHIC cover. The reciprocal healthcare agreements do cover pre-existing medical conditions, so anyone who has previously had a cancer diagnosis can get state healthcare in 31 countries across Europe. State healthcare in many countries is just as good as it is in the UK, and if fees are charged, these will be a lot lower than in the private hospital system. EHIC will also cover for medical treatment unrelated to any previous illness. Having this cover, and knowing how it can be used in the country being visited can give additional peace of mind to someone who has been diagnosed with an illness in the past. Most travellers take a “belt and braces” approach of EHIC cover backed with a good travel insurance policy to meet the costs of repatriation in an emergency or for other eventualities such as stolen baggage or cancellation.