Finding travel insurance for your family when your child has cancer

Getting the right travel insurance when your child has cancer can be tricky. But, with the right advice, you can find a policy that works for your family. Here are some tips on what to look for.

Can you get travel insurance if your child has cancer?

You can get travel insurance if your child has cancer but it might be harder and cost more than usual.

MoneyHelper has a list of companies that offer insurance to people with serious medical conditions like cancer. Medical Travel Compared compares quotes for people with medical conditions.

Always make sure you know what is covered before you take out a policy. If you are unsure, ask the insurer or a broker. You can find regulated brokers through the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).

Do you need travel insurance if your child has cancer?

You do not have to take out travel insurance. But if you go abroad without it, you could end up paying out a lot of money. Travel insurance can protect you if:

  • You have to cancel or cut a trip short
  • You have a medical emergency
  • Your items are lost, stolen or damaged

This kind of cover is even more vital if your child has cancer.

Healthcare abroad

If your child needs emergency healthcare in some EU countries, you can use a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This can make treatment cheaper or even free.

Apply for a GHIC for your child via the NHS website here.

If your child still has an old UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it is valid until the expiry date. You can then apply for a GHIC.

You should have both a GHIC and travel insurance to help make sure your child can get the care they need abroad.

The UK has agreements with some countries outside of the EU. This means you might be able to get cheaper or free healthcare there. The Government has a list of these countries with details of what you will have to pay for.

Challenges of finding travel insurance if your child has cancer

It can be hard to get travel insurance if your child has cancer. This is because providers think you are more likely to make a claim.

You might need to take some extra steps to make sure you get the right policy for you. You should:

  • Check with your child’s care team to make sure they are fit to travel
  • Make sure your policy covers pre-existing conditions
  • Check if you will need to pay extra if you make a claim related to your child’s cancer

Medical costs in the US are very high. This can make it harder to get travel insurance if you are planning a holiday there.

Do you have to declare cancer for travel insurance?

You should always declare that your child has cancer for travel insurance. You need to do this even if your child has finished treatment. If you do not declare your child’s cancer, the company may not pay any claims you make.

Most companies will insure your child if you have a doctor’s certificate saying they no longer have cancer. Some may want your child to be cancer free for months or even years.

Be honest when taking out any policy to make sure you have the right cover.

Average cost of travel insurance with cancer

How much your travel insurance costs will depend on things like:

  • The level of cover you want
  • Where you are going
  • If your child is still having treatment

Prices should go down the longer your child is cancer free. Prices are likely to be higher if you are going somewhere with very high healthcare costs.  You might want to check out insurance costs before deciding where to go.

Advice for finding the right travel insurance for you

Getting the right cover will take time. Compare providers to make sure you are getting the right policy for your family.

Finding the right provider

It is a good idea to get a range of quotes. You can do this using:

  • Insurance brokers
  • Comparison websites
  • Online searches

Make sure insurance brokers are registered with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).

Comparison sites can be useful for starting your search but try to limit yourself to one or two. They all work in pretty much the same way so the results you get are likely to be similar.

You might want to start by making informal enquiries. Some insurance companies ask if you have been refused insurance in the past. If you have only made informal enquiries, it should not affect any new applications.

We have a list of providers that cover children and young people with cancer below.

Providing the right information

What information is needed will depend on your insurance provider. If your child is currently having treatment, they might want to know:

  • The kind of cancer your child has
  • Any medication they are taking and the dosage
  • Dates and types of treatments
  • Their symptoms
  • If they need medical equipment to travel

If your child has had the all clear, they might want to know:

  • When they last had treatment
  • If they are receiving any follow-up care

They may also want to ask questions about your travel plans including:

  • Where you are going
  • How long you will be away for
  • Who will be travelling with your child

It can be hard answering questions about your child’s cancer. Give yourself plenty of time and take breaks if you need to.

How destination affects costs

Where you want to go on holiday can affect how much your travel insurance costs. It may be cheaper if you are travelling to a country:

If you are visiting a country with high healthcare costs, like the US, your insurance is likely to be higher.

If you are going on a cruise, you will need medical care cover for anywhere the ship could stop. This includes unscheduled stops. Again, this can make insurance more expensive.

Single trip vs year-long policies

There are two main types of travel insurance.

Single trip insurance covers your family for one trip abroad. You need to take out a new policy every time you travel. This can be easier to get if your child has cancer.

Annual, or multi-trip, insurance covers you for lots of trips in the same year. You will need to update your insurer if you already have a policy when your child is diagnosed.

You will need an updated doctor’s certificate every time your child travels on an annual policy.

Common questions to ask when comparing insurance offers

Here are some questions you can ask when comparing travel insurance:

  • Is there a cancer exclusion?
  • Are cancellations covered?
  • Does cancellation cover include children with a terminal diagnosis?
  • Is medical equipment covered?
  • Is private healthcare covered?
  • Will it get you home if you need to cut your trip short?
  • Is lost or damaged medication covered?
  • Is there an emergency helpline?
  • What is the total cover amount?
  • How much excess will I need to pay if I make a claim?

How to check policy wording

Check the policy wording to make sure your travel insurance covers everything you need. Cheaper insurers may not cover cancellation if your child becomes ill before you travel. Some exclude private healthcare.

Check to make sure the policy covers pre-existing medical conditions. You may have to pay extra for any claims relating to your child’s cancer.

If your child currently has cancer, check the policy covers emergency medical problems relating to their cancer while you are away.

Even if your child no longer has cancer, make sure the policy covers emergency medical problems related to their previous cancer or treatment.

Tell insurance companies your child’s full medical history to make sure your policy covers what you need.

Can you get travel insurance with terminal cancer?

It is harder to get travel insurance if your child has terminal cancer. But some insurance companies do provide specialist cover. They will need a certificate from your child’s doctor saying they are fit to travel.

They may also want to know things like how long your child is expected to live. It can be upsetting answering these questions. Give yourself breaks between calls. It can help to work with an insurance broker who can find specialist policies for you.

MoneyHelper has a list of firms which will provide insurance for people with a terminal diagnosis.

Does being in remission affect travel insurance?

Travel insurance prices should go down the longer your child is cancer free. Most companies will give you medical cover if you have a doctor’s certificate saying your child no longer has cancer and is fit to travel.

Some companies will want your child to be cancer free for months or even years before insuring you.

Shop around to make sure you get the best cover for your family. You will still need to provide a full medical history even if your child is in remission.

Providers that cover children and young people with cancer

Young Lives vs Cancer cannot recommend specific insurance providers.

Below are some organisations which provide travel insurance for children and young people who have had a cancer diagnosis. They are included based on feedback from parents and carers.

Do not assume a company will insure your child just because they did it for someone else. Each company has its own rules. Always check the wording of any policy.

Please note: Inclusion on this list does not represent an endorsement by Young Lives vs Cancer. We do not accept responsibility for services provided by these companies.

We’re here to help – how we can support you

Young Lives vs Cancer is here to support you when your child has cancer.

Cat Macleod shares her tips for safe, happy travel when your child has cancer here. You can also join our Facebook group for parents and carers.

For more advice contact our social care staff using Live Chat. Just click on the pink chat button at the bottom right of this page.

Live Chat is staffed between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. If you message us outside these hours, we’ll get back to you when we’re live again.


Please note

Young Lives vs Cancer has put this list together based on positive feedback from parents, but this is not an endorsement by us nor do we accept any responsibility for the services provided by these companies.

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