Travel Insurance for Heart Conditions
A heart condition, no matter how long ago it was diagnosed or how stable it now is, should always be declared, along with any associated medication, when looking for a travel insurance policy.
If it is a new diagnosis or you have recently had heart surgery (angioplasty, stent or bypass) it is best to wait until you have fully recovered before you book a holiday as it may be a struggle to find travel insurance. Generally speaking, travel insurers require you to wait at least 8-12 weeks after a heart condition diagnosis or treatment before they can accurately assess your condition so they can provide cover.
Following the diagnosis of a heart condition it is likely you will have been prescribed medication to either stabilise the condition, relieve symptoms (GNT spray) or as a precaution against possible side effects i.e. high blood pressure.
When buying a travel insurance policy, we recommend you look for a travel insurer that asks what medication you take; you may need to contact these companies direct as they are not usually found on price comparison sites. Buying a travel insurance policy through a company that asks more information about your personal circumstances, for example your medication will provide you with a more tailored policy and appropriate quote.
What is a medical excess?
A medical excess is slightly different to a policy excess; it only applies to a claim related to a medical condition that has been declared to the travel insurer.
It is worth noting if there is more than one person insured on a travel insurance policy and you all need to claim for cancellation due to a reason related to the declared condition (i.e. cancelling the holiday due to the condition worsening), then the medical excess will apply per person unless stated otherwise on the policy.
When looking for travel insurance quotes, do check the medical excess, however keep in mind that this excess will not be payable should you need to make a baggage claim, or a cancellation claim unrelated to the declared medical condition, it is only payable if it is related to the medical condition.
Excluding a heart condition from a travel insurance policy
The majority of travel insurance policies will not allow you to exclude a heart condition, or a heart-related condition, from a policy due to the risks involved. If a condition is excluded it will mean there will be no cover available if you need emergency medical treatment related to the condition or the treatment and side effects of it. For example if a side effect of one of your medications is risk of fainting, and should you faint and need emergency medical treatment, if you had excluded your heart condition, then you would not be covered for.
Even if your heart condition is well-controlled, the stress of travelling by air and changes in climate is known to have an effect on blood pressure, which in turn can put strain on the heart and cause the condition to worsen. With this in mind, it is always best to make sure all conditions are declared and covered – just in case.
Declaring a heart condition and heart surgery
When completing a medical declaration make sure you have the name of the heart condition and any related surgery to hand. Declaring just ‘heart condition’ or ‘heart bypass’ is not enough information for the travel insurer to assess the risks.
It is important to note that if you are unsure of the name of the condition or the surgery, to ensure the correct cover is quoted for and provided, you may be referred back to your GP to confirm. Having this information to hand before starting a quote will make the process quicker and easier for you.
If you have been diagnosed with more than one heart condition, i.e. angina and a heart attack, it may not be necessary to declare both. Depending on the travel insurer you may only need to declare the condition that was diagnosed first and any related surgery. If this is the case and you are unsure about what to declare it is best to speak to your travel insurer direct, that way you can ensure you have the correct cover.