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.

Originally posted: 3rd Mar 2021

Why do I need travel insurance for diabetes?

We appreciate that it can often be challenging for people living with diabetes to find a suitable travel insurance policy without paying a premium. 

That’s why we’re here - to make the process as smooth and as straightforward as possible. 

Although many standard travel insurance policies will offer a certain amount of medical coverage, many providers won’t cover the costs if you require any diabetes-related treatment during your trip. This is why it’s important to have a policy that includes specialist cover for diabetes also. 

Medical Travel Compared helps you to compare quotes for specialist travel insurance covering diabetes in minutes. 

With us, you can compare cover from over 30 leading insurance providers at competitive prices. 

You’ll be able to find the right policy for you in no time - so why not get started today?

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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.

Is diabetes classed as a pre-existing condition?

Yes, diabetes is classed as a pre-existing medical condition and isn’t something that providers automatically cover. It’s not mandatory for you to buy diabetic travel insurance, but without it, you won’t be covered if you need emergency medical attention relating to your condition while you’re away.

However, you can rest assured that it’s easy to declare diabetes as a condition when you compare cover with Medical Travel Compared. We’ve helped thousands of people with pre-existing medical conditions find suitable holiday insurance over the years - so you can count on us to find you the right policy at a competitive price.

What does insurance for diabetes sufferers typically cover?

Diabetes holiday insurance could offer coverage for a variety of different things, including:

  • Lost, Stolen or Damaged Personal Belongings - this could include any medication you take abroad with you - like insulin, for example.  
  • Emergency Medical Expenses and Repatriation - this covers you for emergency hospital visits - and even covers the cost of medical evacuation back to the UK if necessary.
  • Cancellation and Curtailment - the insurance provider will cover you in the event of needing to cancel your holiday or cut it short at the expense of your condition.
  • Travel Delay - this won’t always be included, check with your provider.
  • Personal Liability - if you cause accidental damage to another person or someone else’s property - cover is provided.

These are usually the things you should expect to be covered as a minimum, so it’s always worth bearing these in mind before shopping around.

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Policies that cover different types of diabetes

Medical Travel Compared enables you to compare quotes from a range of providers that cover all types of diabetes. 

Despite 90% of patients being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is still possible to get cover for type 1 and other rarer forms of diabetes. 

When you compare cover with us, you’ll have the opportunity to declare diabetes as a pre-existing condition. Once you do this, you might be asked a few questions about your diabetes, including the type you’ve been diagnosed with. 

This helps insurance providers get a better understanding of your condition and general medical background so that they can offer you the right cover. 

Once you’ve purchased a suitable policy, the next step is to prepare yourself for your trip. This includes working around your condition to ensure your trip is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. 

To get you started, here are a few tips from medical expert - Dr Sarah Jarvis

Dr Sarah Jarvis, MBE

Top tips for travelling with type 2 diabetes

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

Having type 2 diabetes absolutely shouldn’t stop you enjoying a holiday – but you definitely need to take a few precautions. Start planning well before you travel, to avoid medical mishaps ruining your trip.

  1. Always take enough medication to last your entire journey, with spare in case of delays – ideally, take twice as much as required.
  2. If you test your glucose levels, remember you may need to check more often if you’re abroad to take account of changes to your usual schedule and diet – so bring plenty of testing strips.
  3. Always carry your medication in its original packaging, along with a copy of your prescription, in your hand luggage. If travelling with someone else, split your supplies with them in case one bag gets lost.
  4. If you use insulin, you will need to have a doctor’s letter with details of your condition, medication and equipment (including needles, insulin delivery device and glucose monitoring equipment) – and take all your equipment with you into the cabin. You’ll need to store your insulin at the correct temperature, so you mustn’t put it in the hold of the plane. Contact your airline provider in advance to discuss.
  5. If you take tablets for type 2 diabetes, you’re not always required to carry a doctor’s letter as long as you have your repeat prescription. However, it will make life easier at airport security or if you fall ill while you’re away.
  6. Check in advance with your pharmacist about how to store your insulin (if you use it) and contact your hotel to check there’s a fridge to store it. Take a cool bag and plastic ice blocks to store your insulin if you’re out for any length of time.
  7. If you take insulin or sulphonylurea tablets, you’re at risk of low blood sugar – so called ‘hypos’. Always carry a fast-acting glucose supply – along with glucose tablets, purchase a sugary drink or fruit juice after you get through security to take onto the plane.
  8. Hypos are more dangerous in cold weather because they can affect your body’s mechanisms to prevent hypothermia. If you’re on insulin or sulphonylureas, measure your blood sugar regularly and always carry a fast-acting glucose supply with you. And remember – cold may affect the accuracy of your glucose monitor.
  9. Unless you’re taking insulin, crossing time zones shouldn’t have much effect on the timing of your tablets. However, check with your pharmacist before you go whether you need to adjust when you take your tablets – and get detailed advice if you’re taking insulin.
  10. If you have diabetic neuropathy affecting sensation in your feet, you’re at higher risk of foot injury or infection. Always wear well-fitting shoes or sandals, even on the beach – you may not notice hot sand burning until it’s too late. And check your feet twice a day for blisters or injury.
  11. Dehydration due to tummy bugs can be particularly dangerous if you have diabetes. Where food and drink are concerned, follow the ‘boil it, peel it, cook it or forget it’ principle and always seek medical help if you develop diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
  12. It can be hard to know the carb value of foods abroad, but don’t let that put you off enjoying a healthy diet while you’re away. Download the carbs & cals app to keep track of the nutrients in your food.
  13. Keep a careful eye on your alcohol intake – alcohol increases the risk of hypos.
  14. Having diabetes puts you at higher risk of cataracts – and excess sunshine increases this further. Wear wraparound sunglasses with a UV400 label whenever you’re out in the sun.
  15. If you’re travelling in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you’ll still need an EHIC card until the end of 2020. However, do remember that the EHIC doesn’t offer free treatment for everything, as the NHS does.
  16. That’s why it’s essential to take out specialist travel insurance, even if you’re travelling in areas covered by EHIC, and especially if you’re going outside Europe.
  17. Buy travel insurance which covers the loss of prescription medication, so that you can make a claim to recoup the cost if you do have to buy replacement medication should yours be lost or stolen.
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Compare quotes from specialist diabetes travel insurance providers

You can count on us to provide you with plenty of choice when comparing quotes for diabetes travel insurance. 

We work with over 30 leading providers, so you can be sure to find a suitable policy in a matter of minutes. 

Our straightforward online comparison tool gives you the freedom to choose from all these providers in one place - saving you precious time and money!

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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.

A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now, or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!
It's really simple and quick to do! After you've told us about your trip details and answered some medical history questions you can add your pre-existing conditions, one by one, for each traveller. You'll only need to enter your details once, it's all online and there's no need to call, or provide details of your conditions in writing.
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.

It's easy! Enter your details just once and you'll be able to compare quotes from over 30 specialist providers. We'll even e-mail your top quotes to you so you can access them at any time. Once you've found the policy that is right for you, pay securely online and your documents will be sent to you directly from your insurance provider.

* Price is based on 1 traveller aged 61, who has declared either Diabetes Type 1 or Diabetes Type 2 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.