A guide to getting travel insurance for Crohn’s disease
If you’re one of the estimated 102,000 people living in the UK with Crohn’s disease, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, it is thought diagnosis rates have increased rapidly over the years – meaning more than ever before are becoming familiar with this painful, and at times, debilitating condition.
Newly diagnosed patients tend to be young - in their 20s, 30s or even teenage years. In other words, a time many of us are keen to start seeing the world and exploring new places.
Whilst being diagnosed might feel as if your life is being brought to a halt, once your condition is under control, there’s no reason whatsoever that the condition should stop you from exploring the world and ticking those items off your bucket list!
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Can I get travel insurance with Crohn’s disease?
You might think that having conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (or any kind of inflammatory bowel disease) would make it tricky to get insurance – but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a whole range of providers that can arrange cover for IBD – even if you’ve been unfortunate enough to have experienced recent surgery.
Our site enables you to quickly compare online quotes from over 30 specialist providers who offer pre-existing insurance cover. In other words, we can connect you to a whole host of insurance companies who have experience in providing insurance for those with ongoing health problems.
There’s every chance your belly will behave itself on your trip abroad, but travel insurance provides invaluable peace of mind and makes sure you are covered if the disease does start rearing its head midway through your holiday.
Won’t a standard travel insurance policy include cover for IBD?
Unfortunately, despite IBD being a well-known condition, many standard insurance companies won’t offer cover for it.
In fact, your average travel insurance providers don’t usually cover ANY pre-existing conditions as a way of keeping payouts low – even if you’ve been fortunate enough to have been in remission for several years.
Using a specialist provider makes sure you won’t be left in the lurch should the worst happen.
Do I need to declare Crohn’s disease on my travel insurance?
It might seem easier to simply omit the fact you’re got IBD on your travel insurance – especially if you’ve not had a flare-up for a while. However, missing out any details from an insurance form can invalidate your whole claim.
Not to mention that we all know how unpredictable life can be with Crohn’s disease at times.
Hot weather, change in diet, stress from travel and unwashed food can all potentially trigger a flare. Seeking treatment abroad is stressful enough without all the added worry of covering expensive hospital bills.
Are there any things that I should make sure I have included in my policy?
Most of the time, an insurance policy that covers pre-existing conditions should suffice. However, it’s important to take a closer look at the numbers. Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount the policy offers towards medical care.
IBD is a complex condition and hospital bills can easily run into the thousands. Not great if you’re policy only covers the basics.
If you’re packing a biological medication such as Humira, it might be worth getting specific extra coverage for this, as biological drugs can cost thousands of pounds to replace if their lost.
If the proposed fee doesn’t look high enough, many insurance companies offer premium packages with a higher amount of coverage. It may well be worth forking out a little bit extra to make sure you are 100% covered.
Top tips for travelling with Crohn’s disease
Travelling the world with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s is certainly possible – it just requires a little planning ahead!
Contact your hotel
Firstly, make sure you are in touch with your hotel before you leave the country. If you are bringing your own food or medicine, it’s always worth requesting a fridge in your room to store things correctly.
You can also request information about accessibility and extra facilities (a bath can be especially helpful if you’re prone to things like hemorrhoids, fissures or abscesses).
Talk with your doctor
Next, a chat with your GP should be on the cards.
Not only do you need to check about vaccinations (remember that some people with Crohn’s disease should avoid live vaccinations) but it’s worth requesting an extra supply of medicine and a summary of your medical history in case you need to explain it to another doctor.
Finally, do your research. Sites like IBD Passport contain destination-specific info for IBD patients looking to travel.
Using online forums to chat with other patients can be helpful: they’ll be able to tell you the best places to eat, recommend hotels and even local hospitals!
And, of course, before you pack those bags, there’s only one thing left to do: just make sure your travel insurance is sorted!
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.
*Price is based on 1 traveller aged 61, who has declared crohn's disease 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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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.