If you have Crohn’s disease, you may have to pay more for travel insurance because of the risk of your falling ill and needing medical treatment while you’re away.
When you fill in an online quotation, you’ll be asked if you have what is known as a ‘pre-existing medical condition’ and given a list of options from which to choose. It is important to answer with full and accurate information because, if you don’t, you might not be able to claim on the policy.
The increase in your premiums will be determined by the severity of your condition and the treatment you are receiving and have received in the past.
If your condition is particularly aggressive, you may find that the number of insurance firms willing to provide a quote, even at higher prices, is reduced. They may also restrict or reduce the cover on offer.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that causes tissue in parts of the digestive system to swell periodically or continuously.
The charity, Crohn’s & Colitis UK has found that 1 in 123 people in the UK currently have inflammatory bowel disease.
What do I need to declare about my Crohn’s disease?
When applying for travel insurance, you’ll need to provide information, such as:
- whether you’ve been prescribed medication or attended a medical facility due to your condition within the last two years
- whether you’re on a waiting list for treatment or investigation
- the number of operations you’ve had to treat the condition within the past five years
- whether you’ve taken drug injections or infusions within the last 12 months
- the number of bowel obstructions you’ve had in the last five years.
What if I do not declare a pre-existing condition?
You could invalidate your policy if you try to claim due to an issue arising from a condition that you are aware of but did not mention when applying for cover. Your insurer may not pay out if it checks your medical records and finds that you’ve withheld relevant information.
If you have to pay for medical treatment and possibly repatriation back to the UK yourself, the bill could run into many thousands of pounds.
What happens if I have Crohn’s-related problems while away?
Use the emergency contact number provided in the policy documentation to notify your insurer as soon as possible. Provided it has enough time, it should pre-authorise your treatment and arrange for its payment.
If you’re unable to contact your insurer straight away, due to a medical emergency, for example, you will have to pay any bills upfront, and claim the costs back. It’s important that you keep hold of receipts for treatment so you can provide your insurer with copies.
You may have difficulty claiming back undocumented costs.
If you are travelling in Europe, you should take an EHIC or GHIC card with you so that you can obtain medical treatment on the same terms as a local – see below for more details.
What should I do if I’m taking medication abroad?
You will need a doctor’s letter explaining what your medication is for, if you carry it in your hand luggage.
Remember to take enough medication to last the duration of your holiday and make a note of what you are taking, and the doses, in case you lose them.
In some instances you may not be allowed to take certain medications across a country’s border. To find out what medication you can take with you, contact the country’s embassy or high commission.
How do I find travel insurance for Crohn’s disease?
To find the cover you need at the most competitive price try running quotes using a travel insurance comparison tool such as ours.
Policies including £3,000 for trip cancellation and a relatively generous £10 million for medical costs for seven days in Spain, start from £35.
This is based on a 30-year-old traveller who has been prescribed medication or attended a medical facility in the last two years due to their Crohn’s disease, and has experienced two to four bowel obstructions in the last five years, the last one being one to three years ago.
If a traveller has additionally had two or more operations to treat their condition within the last five years, they can expect to pay around £10 more for the same level of cover.
This compares to a starting cost of £8 for a traveller without Crohn’s disease.
EHICs and GHICs
It’s important to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or its replacement, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) with you if you are travelling to a country in the EU.
These cards grant the carrier access to state medical treatment on the same terms as a local in the country in question.
They are not a replacement for travel insurance as they do not cover costs for private treatment or repatriation, for example. However, some travel insurers will waive any excess charges on policies where a traveller has used such a card.
EHICs last for five years from the date of issue. You can obtain a GHIC free of charge from the NHS.
What else will my travel insurance policy cover?
In addition to cover for emergency medical costs, trip cancellation and lost or stolen baggage, many policies also offer other types of cover, including for travel delays or missed flights, if the cause was outside your control.
Cover for you and your equipment, if you’re planning to take part in sports or other activities, may be included as standard or at an additional cost.