About this group
This group is for those battling cancer, those who are undergoing treatment and working toward an all clear (note if you have previously battled and defeated cancer and been given the all clear, you might want to join our Travel Insurance After Cancer group).
In those situations a holiday represents more than just time away - it can become a valuable memory to help them on their journey to health or, in some cases, a memory for their loved ones to cherish.
Why does this group exist?
In short, because we think the insurance industry doesn't serve cancer patients as well as it could. For many, having cancer does not represent a reason to stop traveling abroad; however, the cost of getting insurance is often more expensive than the holiday itself. Many insurance companies ask up front questions that mean they refuse to insure cancer patients, or are only willing to provide cover that excludes any event related to the cancer. Most commonly these questions ask whether you’re undergoing treatment, on a waiting list or awaiting a diagnosis.
The process of applying for insurance is also inadequate; it involves a lot of shopping around and repeatedly answering a lengthy list of distressing questions relating to the grade, stage and prognosis of the cancer. Additionally, many cancer patients report the companies they have dealt with showed a lack of sympathy to their situation.
How will the group help?
When we founded this group, we said we believed everything we described above needed to change. We asked you to join the group and add your voice to help us negotiate with insurers to make a difference. We had some early success with this group, providing travel insurance to 20 people who could not find it elsewhere. It had no medical screening, no intrusive questions, just a note from your doctor was needed. However that offer was only available for a limited time so we now need your help to grow the group, extend its negotiating power and give us the chance to open that offer again.
The benefit of joining the group
You will add your voice to that of the group, so that over time we can negotiate a deal for cancer sufferers to get travel insurance easily. As a group member, you'll be the first to know when that deal is done.
I need insurance to travel now and can't wait for the group to negotiate, where can I go?
There are very few insurers who cover people currently undergoing cancer treatment. However, feedback from group members has indicated that Insure Cancer has been a productive option. We have not negotiated a special deal with them and have no relationship with them as a company, but members say they have a very caring approach to providing the insurance and have covered travellers when other insurers would not. They might be worth contacting if other insurers have turned you down.
What about if I am no longer a cancer patient, but have beaten the disease before?
If you are in remission or have fully recovered from cancer, you might want to join the Travel Insurance After Cancer group.
Top questions answered by us
What is the current process for getting travel insurance as a cancer patient?
Most insurance companies do not offer online quotes to people who have pre-existing medical conditions, including cancer. Those looking for a quote are often asked to answer personal, distressing questions, only to be rejected altogether or asked to call the company instead. Even when cover can be offered, it can be simply unaffordable (cancer patients have been quoted thousands of pounds for a 2-week holiday in Europe) – in which case the only alternative is to get a policy that does not cover anything to do with the cancer. Cancer sufferers who opt for this should read the small print of their policy carefully, as if they become ill due to their immune system being weak following chemotherapy, they may not be covered, since the insurance company can claim this is related to the cancer.
What are the considerations for cancer patients travelling abroad?
Most insurance companies will require a letter from your doctor confirming you are fit to travel. However, even if you are, there are several factors to consider when choosing your holiday destination. You should look into the level of health care in the country you are travelling to and whether you would feel comfortable being treated in the local hospitals, should the need arise. You should also look at what health risks are involved in travelling to the country, such as food poisoning, insect bites and even the length of the flight from the UK. Finally, from an insurance point of view, North America and some parts of the Caribbean come with astronomical premiums, due to higher local medical costs - so, if possible, you should avoid these locations.
What is the EHIC?
The European Health Insurance Card grants UK residents access to state health services in all countries within the European Economic Area (EAA) at a discounted rate, or sometimes for free. The card only covers treatments that are offered to local residents as part of state care, and these might not include everything the NHS provides. The EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not provide cover for some events, including the need for repatriation.