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

A guide to key areas to look out for

There’s no doubt that travel insurance is an important part of arranging any holiday, but you should never make the mistake of thinking that one travel insurance policy is like another. Travel insurance policies can be riddled with exclusions and the last thing we at Medical Travel Compared want, is for you to jet off happily believing that your insurer will ride to the rescue if anything should go wrong! So we’ve put together this guide detailing the key exclusions to look out for when buying your cover.

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Pre-existing medical conditions

Many people forget to tell their insurer about their pre-existing medical conditions, mainly because the condition they have been diagnosed with no longer affects them or has little impact on daily living. But failing to declare anything that falls outside of an insurer’s Medical Declaration could in fact void the policy or result in a medical or cancellation claim being rejected. If in doubt, tell your insurer about all of your medical history and what you are prescribed medication for.

Medical conditions under investigation

We're unable to provide a quote if you are currently have an undiagnosed medical condition. As soon as the condition has been diagnosed we can help you find a quote.

Travelling companions

If you live with pre-existing medical conditions, be aware that your travelling companions, if insured on a separate travel insurance policy to you, are unlikely to be covered should they need to cancel, cut short or extend the trip as a result of your medical conditions causing trip complications. If you’re travelling together it pays to be insured together!

Deck chairs

Non-travelling relatives

If you have to cancel your trip because a close family relative back home suddenly falls ill or even dies, the insurers on our panel will cover for this, although the limits do vary. However, if your relative becomes unwell related to a medical condition that existed at the time you purchased insurance, it’s unlikely you will be able to claim as insurance providers deem this as a ‘known circumstance’.

Adventure and sports activities

Insurers have different rules when it comes to covering adventure and sports activities and if you’re taking part in trekking, scuba diving, horse riding, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, windsurfing, water skiing, hot air ballooning to name just a few, you will need to check the policies terms. Whilst a number of activities may be covered as standard, there will be limits, for example, how far down you can scuba dive or at what altitude you can climb to when trekking. Skip to the ‘Sports & Activities’ section in the policy wording to find out how you stand.

Alcohol consumption

Err on the side of caution when drinking alcohol on holiday! If an airline refuses you to board a flight because they feel you have consumed too much alcohol, or if you have an accident whilst under the influence, your claim is likely to be declined and you could find yourself out of pocket, although The Financial Ombudsman says ‘insurers cannot simply assume that certain injuries are alcohol related and there must be evidence’.


With any cruise holiday, there is a risk for the need of airlifting if you become unwell
miles away from the mainland. Not all policies include cover for airlifting as standard within the ‘Medical Expenses and Repatriation’ section, and some policies even have a clause that state if you fail to declare that you are going on a cruise, the policy will be invalid. Select the ‘Cruise Cover’ option when using our comparison tool here online and a policy will be tailored accordingly.

Docked Cruise ship

Travel delays

If your policy includes cover for travel delays, there will be a limit on the amount of time you have to be delayed before you can make a claim. Some policies it’s 12 hours and others it’s 24. Make sure to check this limit before you make the decision to cancel otherwise you could be left out of pocket. 


Do not confuse the ‘Personal Belongings’ limit with the ‘Single Article’ limit! The Personal Belongings limit is the total amount you can claim up to for lost, stolen or damaged items; whilst the Single Article limit is the maximum amount you can claim per item. If you have valuables such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones and expensive jewellery, the single item limit may not be enough. Check the policy wording carefully or ask your insurer so you know how you stand in advance!

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Underinsuring your trip

Whilst you may be tempted to select a policy with lower cover levels to save money, did you know that by underinsuring your trip you may only get a percentage of the holiday costs back and not the full cancellation limit? Some policies even have a clause stating if you knowingly under insure your trip, the policy will be void. It’s wise to buy a policy where the Cancellation Cover matches the cost of your holiday.

Our Top Tip – “Don’t focus on price alone when choosing travel insurance, check the cover levels and select a policy that meets your needs!”

Frequently Asked Questions

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 is 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.

Yes. Any changes to your health or medication that occurs before your departure need to be declared to your insurer.
You must have a permanent UK address, have lived in the UK for the last 6 months and be registered with a medical practitioner in the UK. All trips must start and end in the UK and you must purchase the insurance before you depart for your first trip.
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