Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Can you get travel insurance if you have cancer?

Yes, it is possible to get travel insurance if you have cancer. While it is not guaranteed (it depends on the severity of your condition), most cancer patients should be eligible.

Travel insurance for cancer patients is offered by many specialist travel insurance providers. We work closely with these providers to ensure you get the best deal on travel insurance for people with cancer.

Travel insurance for cancer is designed to cover you for any issues related to your condition while travelling.

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COVID-19 Medical Cover

We’ll only show you quotes from providers who cover emergency medical expenses (including repatriation to the UK) if you catch the virus whilst travelling abroad.

Enhanced COVID Cover

Extra cover that'll give you & your holiday even more protection against COVID-19. Compare quotes from leading providers with this additional cover today.

What information do I have to disclose?

First of all, most insurance providers will expect you to tell them if you’ve ever had a cancerous condition. 

Just to be clear - this applies if:

  • You’ve recently been diagnosed with a cancerous condition 
  • Your cancer is in remission 
  • You’ve been given the all clear following treatment 

However, you should also bear in mind that insurance providers will also take your individual circumstances into account when you purchase a policy. 

For example, once you declare cancer - we’ll ask you a few questions about the nature of your condition, treatment and anything else that can help us determine the type of cover you would need from any given provider. 

This also applies when providers calculate the cost of your cover. For example, if you’ve had cancer in the past, but got the all clear many years ago - your premium will be less than it would be if say you’ve had a recent diagnosis.

Which types of cancers are covered?

We understand that there are lots of different types of cancer. The good news is that we can help you find and compare cover for a range of different cancerous conditions all in one place. 

We know that there are many different types of cancer, but here are a just a few that we can help you find cover for.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, MBE

Top tips for travelling with cancer

Sarah is the Clinical Director of the Patient Platform, an active medical writer, broadcaster, and is the resident doctor for BBC Radio 2.

More and more people are surviving cancer and having cancer certainly shouldn't mean you'll never get away with family and friends again. But cancer, and treatment for cancer, can definitely affect your energy levels, your chance of getting infections and more. However, with the right timing and the correct precautions, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to enjoy time away with your loved ones.

  1. Timing is everything. While you may think the time you most need to get away from it all is when you're recovering from treatment, it may not be safe to travel too soon after surgery. Check with your medical team before you book anything.
  2. Ask your medical team if there are certain climates you should avoid. For instance, some radiotherapy and cancer drugs can make you more sensitive to the sun.
  3. If you're taking medication which might increase your risk of infection, you should probably avoid travelling to developing countries or anywhere outside Western Europe, the USA or Australasia. You should certainly not aim to travel to remote locations where it could take a long time to reach medical help. Clearly if the risk is very high, you should avoid travelling until your team advise it's safe.
  4. What vaccinations might you need? If you've had a transplant or have had chemotherapy in the last six months, you probably won't be able to have any live vaccines, such as those for yellow fever, BCG, MMR or oral typhoid vaccinations. It's essential not to risk a trip without having all the correct vaccinations – speak to your pharmacist or visit fitfortravel for the latest guidance on any destination you're considering.
  5. Think about what the food is like at your destination. You may be suffering from nausea or problems swallowing or digesting food: it's important to have access to a wide range of foods you know will not disagree with you.
  6. If you're not eating or drinking as well as usual, you may be at higher risk of dehydration if you get a tummy bug. These are more common in developing countries and staying at a smart hotel doesn't guarantee protection – flies that carry germs don't care how expensive the resort is.
  7. Don't overdo it. Having cancer or cancer treatment can really take its toll on your energy levels. Plan activities with plenty of space in between to recover, and don't be afraid to duck out if you're feeling too tired.
  8. You don't necessarily need to wait until your course of treatment is completely finished before you go on holiday, but do speak to your team about the best time to go – for instance, once you've recovered from one course of chemotherapy but before you start the next.
  9. Long haul travel can increase the risk of a clot on the leg, called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This clot can break off and travel to the lungs, leading to a life-threatening pulmonary embolus or PE. Unfortunately, some cancers and cancer treatments can also increase this risk. Speak to your medical team in advance about whether you should limit the distance you travel and any precautions you should take (stockings to reduce the risk of clot forming, medication etc). When you're sitting in a plane, get up regularly and move around, keep well hydrated and avoid alcohol. If travelling by car, stop regularly to stretch your legs.
  10. If you're likely to need assistance at the airport, contact your travel agent or airline well in advance. This could include transfer from the car park, a wheelchair inside the terminal, assistance at security or a specific seat on the plane.
  11. Order medication well in advance and check the regulations for travelling with certain medications. For instance, you may be taking strong opioid painkillers – bringing these into certain countries is illegal. Read our article on carrying medication abroad for the full low-down.
  12. Do make sure you have the right travel insurance – you will need to declare any cancer you've ever had (apart from basal cell cancer of the skin). If you don't, it could invalidate your insurance.

What is typically covered in a policy?

Different providers will include different types of cover, but the main things generally include:

  • Cancellation
  • Medical expenses & repatriation
  • Theft/loss of belongings
  • Personal accident

Cover will also depend on the nature of your condition (as per the answers you provide during medical screening, see below) and also whether you choose to select any optional extras.

Optional extras can be selected before comparing quotes. This relates to additional travel insurance that can be added on to your main policy. This includes gadget cover, cruise cover and winter sports cover

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Medical screening for cancer travel insurance

Medical screening refers to the questions you’ll be asked about your condition. This helps travel insurance providers get more of an understanding of your individual circumstances and medical history - so they can offer you the right cover. 

If your cancer has spread to any other areas of the body, make sure to declare the primary cancer (where it started) first.

It’s also possible you will also be asked if you take strong painkillers. This refers to patches, Tramadol and anything Morphine based – if you’re not sure, please consult your doctor.

You must answer these questions as accurately as possible to ensure you find policies that fully cover you once abroad.  

If you need any further support or assistance when declaring your condition - just know that our friendly support team is on hand to answer any questions you might have.

Compare quotes from specialist insurance providers

Our online quote comparison tool is easy to use - and once you declare your condition, you can compare from a variety of different specialist travel insurance providers in minutes. 

To get started, all you need to do is complete some personal details (including age) and tell us about your trip. 

Following on from this you can declare your pre-existing conditions before comparing quotes. You’ll be able to sort out your travel insurance in a matter of minutes - meaning you can crack on with the more exciting things on your holiday to-do list. 

Once you’ve listed your personal details including age, all you need to do is tell us about your trip and any pre-existing conditions before comparing quotes. 

Again, it’s worth reminding you that we work with the very best and most reputable providers - so you can be sure you’re in good hands.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We’ll only show you quotes from providers who are able to cover emergency medical expenses (including repatriation to the UK) if you catch the virus whilst travelling abroad.

Some of our providers are able to offer additional cover, such as cancellation cover should you catch COVID-19 or have to self-isolate because of suspected symptoms before departure. We’ll make it clear who these providers are when you’re comparing quotes so you can choose the policy that is right for you.

This doesn’t apply to all insurance providers, so unless otherwise stated, for all other sections of cover, you wouldn’t be covered if making a claim as a result of COVID-19.

For more information, we recommend reading our full guide here.

If the FCDO are advising against all, or all but essential travel to your destination at the time of your trip, there will be no, or extremely limited cover provided by your policy.

You can still choose to take out a policy now for a future holiday, but it is very important to note that if the FCDO are still advising against all but essential travel to your destination at the time of your trip, your cover will not be valid.

For more information, we recommend reading our full guide here.

Yes, we'll need to know if you or any traveller on your policy has ever suffered from a cancerous condition. So, this could be a condition that is present now or a condition that you've had in the past and have made a full recovery from. But don't worry, we'll ask you a set of questions relating to your condition to take your individual circumstances into account.
Once you've declared all of your relevant pre-existing medical conditions we'll only show you quotes based on the conditions you have told us about.
No, we are unable to provide cover with any of your pre-existing medical conditions excluded.
If you don't travel much then a single trip cover is perfect as you can cover specific dates suited to your trip. If you have cancellation cover, you'll also benefit from this as soon as you buy your policy. If you travel 2 or more times a year, it may be cheaper for you to go for an annual trip cover. It's best to start your annual trip cover as soon as possible, as if you have cancellation cover, you'll only benefit from this from your policy start date.
Nearly all insurance policies will come with cancellation cover included. Cancellation cover will start as soon as you buy your single trip policy, or your policy start date for an annual trip (so you may want to start this cover as soon as possible). Cancellation cover will help you with the cost of your trip, including flights, accommodation and, in some cases pre-paid excursions. The cover limits will be the amount per person.

* Price is based on 1 traveller aged 61, who has declared a hernia and is travelling to Spain for 7 nights. Price is correct as of December 2019. Prices may vary according to your individual requirements.

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Don't just take our word for it...

If we're unable to help you find cover for a pre-existing medical condition, the Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) have launched a new directory listing companies that may be able to assist you. You can find out more information on their website.