If you have Crohn’s disease, you may have to pay more for travel insurance due to the risk of getting sick and needing treatment while you’re away.
When you fill out an online proposal, you will be asked if you have a so-called “pre-existing medical condition” and given a list of options from which to choose. It is important to provide complete and accurate information because if you do not, you will not be able to claim the policy.
The increase in your premiums will be determined by the severity of your condition and the treatment you receive and have received in the past.
If your condition is particularly aggressive, you may find that the number of insurance companies willing to provide rates, even at higher rates, is decreasing. They may also limit or reduce the coverage offered.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease in which tissues in parts of the digestive system periodically or constantly swell.
The charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK found that 1 in 123 people in the UK currently have inflammatory bowel disease.
What do I need to report about my Crohn’s disease?
When applying for travel insurance, you need to provide information such as:
- have you been prescribed medication or visited a healthcare facility for your condition in the past two years
- are you on a waiting list for treatment or testing
- the number of surgeries you have had to treat the disease in the last five years
- have you taken any drug injections or infusions in the last 12 months
- the number of bowel obstructions you have had in the last five years.
What if I don’t claim a pre-existing condition?
You can cancel your policy if you try to file a claim because of a problem arising from a condition that you are aware of but did not mention when you applied for coverage. Your insurance company may not make a payment if it checks your medical records and finds that you withheld relevant information.
If you have to pay for treatment and possibly repatriation back to the UK on your own, the bill can run into many thousands of pounds.
What happens if I have a Crohn’s disease problem while I’m away?
Use the emergency contact number on your policy documentation to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. If he has enough time, he must preauthorize your treatment and arrange for payment.
If you are unable to contact your insurance company immediately, for example due to a medical emergency, you will have to pay all bills in advance and claim reimbursement. It is important that you keep receipts for your treatment so that you can provide copies to your insurance company.
You may have difficulty recovering undocumented expenses.
If you are traveling within Europe, you should bring your EHIC or GHIC card with you so that you can receive health care under the same conditions as a local resident – see below for details.
What if I am taking medication abroad?
You will need a doctor’s note explaining what your medicine is for if you are carrying it in your hand luggage.
Be sure to bring enough medication to last your entire vacation and write down what you are taking and doses in case you lose them.
In some cases, you may not be allowed to bring certain medicines across a country’s borders. To find out what medicines you can take with you, contact your country’s embassy or high commission.
How can I find travel insurance for Crohn’s disease?
To find the coverage you need at the most competitive price, try browsing quotes using a travel insurance comparison tool like ours.
Policies, including £3,000 for a trip cancellation and a relatively generous £10m in medical expenses for seven days in Spain, start at £35.
This is based on a 30-year-old traveler who was prescribed medication or visited a healthcare facility in the past two years due to Crohn’s disease, and who experienced two to four intestinal obstructions in the past five years, the last of which was one to three years ago.
If a traveler has had two or more additional surgeries to treat their condition within the past five years, they can expect to pay approximately £10 more for the same level of coverage.
This compares to a starting cost of £8 for a traveler without Crohn’s disease.
EHIC and GHIC
It is important to bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or its replacement, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), if you are traveling to an EU country.
These cards provide the carrier with access to public health care under the same conditions as a local resident of the respective country.
They do not replace travel insurance as they do not cover, for example, private treatment or repatriation costs. However, some travel insurers waive additional fees on policies in which the traveler has used such a card.
The EHIC is valid for five years from the date of issue. You can get GHIC for free on the NHS.
What else does my insurance policy cover?
In addition to covering emergency medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen baggage, many policies also offer other types of coverage, including trip delays or missed flights if the cause was beyond your control.
Coverage for you and your gear, if you plan to play sports or other activities, may be included as standard or at an additional cost.