FINDING THE RIGHT TRAVEL INSURANCE AFTER A STROKE
When looking for a travel insurance quote after a stroke it may not be best to open all the familiar comparison sites on the internet, as they will all offer similar policies and prices, instead select just one to complete a quote on. Then we recommend looking for a travel insurer that specialises in medical cover and uses a medication-led risk rating tool (you will be asked to provide the name/s of your medication as well as the condition) as these policies can assess your condition based on the current risks and not just by diagnosis, therefore offering you a more tailored quote at an appropriate price. Once you have quotes from both options, comparison site and specialist provider, you can then compare cover and premiums and pick the one most suitable for you.
When completing a medical declaration it is important to note you will need to know the type of stroke you have had i.e. transient ischemic attack (TIA/mini stroke) or cerebrovascular accident (CVA/major stroke). If you are unsure it is best to contact your GP before starting the quotation, so you are able to give accurate information.
It is advised you do not fly within two weeks of having a stroke, however travel insurers may not be able to offer cover until at least six weeks after diagnosis. This time frame will differ between insurers so it may be a good idea to ask how many weeks clear you need to be before starting the quote.
If this is your first holiday since diagnosis you may need to be flexible with your destination and length of time you wish to travel. Some travel insurers may only be able to offer short haul holidays to Europe so have a few options in mind when starting your quote.
Understanding a medical excess on a travel insurance policy
Whether it’s a ‘policy excess’ or a ‘medical excess’, excesses are one of the most misunderstood terms in a travel insurance policy.
An excess is to be paid in the event of a claim and is per person unless stated otherwise in the policy wording. A medical excess relates only to a claim related to a condition that is on the medical declaration and is to be paid on top of the policy excess.
In an attempt to keep the premium as low as possible, particularly if the condition is well controlled, travel insurers may add on a medical excess; if nothing happens related to the condition but you need to claim for personal possessions then you will only have to pay the policy excess and not the medical excess.
How does a travel insurer assess a stroke?
Travelling by air can pose more of a risk if you have had a stroke, this is due to there being less oxygen at a higher altitude; as both mini and major stokes are caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain your body may not be able to cope with the changes.
As part of the medical declaration, the travel insurer will ask you to confirm if you are able to climb a flight of household stairs or walk more than 200 metres without getting breathless – if you are able to do this with ease, you are more likely to be able to cope with the lower oxygen levels in flight.
Following a stroke some patients will experience paralysis which could put you at risk of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis or an embolism, particularly on long haul flights. In order to prevent blood clots, it is advised you wear flight socks and move around regularly, if your mobility is limited try lifting your heel off the floor a couple of times.
Bespoke medical declarations
Sometimes a medical condition is a little more complex than first anticipated and you may find you are not able to get a travel insurance quote even though your doctor and consultant have said you are fit to fly. We understand how frustrating this can be and recommend you look for a specialist medical travel insurance policy that offers a bespoke medical declaration service.
Very few insurers have this but it means an advisor trained in medical screening will speak with you and ask a few more questions to get a clearer understanding of your condition before deciding if they can provide you cover. This process could take up to two weeks so make sure you look at booking your travel insurance well in advance of your departure date.