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Travel Insurance and Kidney Cancer

travel insurance

We know it can sometimes be difficult for kidney cancer patients to organise travel insurance when taking a holiday, or travelling to visit family or friends abroad. Kidney Cancer UK has therefore put together this information sheet to help make this process a little easier for you.

This information sheet details general information regarding travel insurance and cancer. It also provides a list of insurance associations and a number of companies who, as far as we are aware, will consider travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions, such as kidney cancer.

Please do let us know your own experiences so we can update this list as necessary.

General information

Whether you obtain travel insurance when you go abroad is your own personal decision; however, you should bear in mind any potential medical expenses you may incur should you require treatment abroad, or if you need to cancel your trip

beforehand due to health reasons (see examples below).

If you don’t have travel insurance, or if you take out a policy that excludes any cancer related issues, then the potential costs to you could be extremely high. This is particularly relevant if you are travelling to a country outside the European Union, or to a country with high treatment costs, such as the USA, or should you need to be flown home in an emergency (medical repatriation).

You should also consider the people who will be travelling with you. These people may need to be covered in case you are taken ill, either before you travel or during your trip. It is important that you read the policy carefully, as some insurers will not cover the other members of your party if they are insured separately, and they have not declared they are travelling with a person who has cancer.

Should you be taken ill while abroad and need medical repatriation back to the UK, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have provided the following examples of the costs that may be incurred:

Medical repatriation from North America: £25,000-£30,000

Medical repatriation from Europe: £5,000-£10,000

Additionally, in the event you are taken ill before your trip and are unable to travel, the level of cover reimbursed by insurance companies because of cancellations is typically £3,000 – £5,000 per claim. It is important to check the level of cover provided by your policy to avoid being underinsured in the event of a claim.

Please note

Kidney Cancer UK does not recommend any particular insurance company, broker or product. This information is intended as a guide to help you make your own informed decisions. We are passing this information on in good faith. Kidney Cancer UK has compiled this list from recommendations based on the experiences of cancer patients and their families, and from discussions with the relevant insurance associations.

Why is it sometimes difficult to obtain travel insurance if you have cancer?

If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, an insurer will refer to this as a pre-existing condition. The insurer will ask you a number of questions about your

cancer (this is known as medical screening). This helps them to assess the likelihood of you making a claim and the potential costs they may have to pay out. This is called an assessment of risk and is based primarily on their claims experience over a period of time, not just on your individual situation. Specialist insurers are therefore likely to have more claims data relating to the area they specialise in, and this helps them assess those risks more accurately. It may be a good idea, therefore, to have an outline of your medical history handy when you contact insurance companies for quotes, and to make sure you give all the companies the same details so you are comparing like with like.

Fortunately, many insurance companies are now looking at cases individually rather than refusing to insure everyone who has had cancer.

Travelling within the European Union

If you are a UK resident, you are entitled to medical treatment at reduced cost or sometimes free of charge, if it becomes necessary when temporarily visiting a European Union (EU) country, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Only treatment provided under the countries’ own state scheme is covered.

However, to obtain any treatment if you are taken ill while in the EU you will need to have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and you must take this card with you when you travel. Saying you are a citizen of a member state if you are taken ill is not good enough.

An EHIC will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care. However, an EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance; it will not cover the costs of private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property.

Applying for a card is free and is then valid for up to five years. You can apply for a card online at, download the EHIC application form and return it by post to the address given on the website, pick up an application form at the Post Office, or telephone the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) organisation on 0300 3301350 (please note this is also a general enquiry line).

Please note

The European Health Insurance Card is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and does not cover repatriation costs or cancellation reimbursement.

Further information about the EHIC can be found on the NHS website at

Insurance Associations, Companies and Brokers

The companies listed below are intended as a guide only to help you make your own informed decisions. Kidney Cancer UK has compiled this list from the recommendations of patients and their families based on personal experience, and from discussions with the relevant insurance associations. We cannot guarantee that a company will definitely insure you. Please let us know your own experiences so we can update this list as necessary. 

Association of British Insurers (ABI)

020 7600 3333

The ABI is the voice of the UK’s insurance industry. The Association has around 400 member companies, which between them provide around 90% of domestic insurance services sold in the UK. The ABI provides useful information to commonly asked questions regarding obtaining travel insurance. It also provides details on specialist travel insurance brokers and health support groups.

Association of Travel Insurance Intermediaries (ATII)

The ATII has a number of member companies that provide cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions. All the companies listed below have the ability to provide cover for patients with cancer.

Good To Go Insurance

0844 334 0160

01279 621 662


0845 6195 833

Free Spirit

0845 230 5000

InsureCancer Medi TravelCover Ltd

01252 780 190

0845 649 0190

British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)

0870 950 1790

BIBA have a consumer Find a Broker helpline, which specialises in finding insurance for those who have specialist risks. The call centre will take the details of the type of insurance cover you are looking for and call around a number of insurance brokers until they find one who is able to offer cover.

Recommended by patients

J.D. Travel Insurance Consultants

0844 2474 749

Specialise in all types of pre-existing medical conditions. Each application is assessed on its own individual merits. One insurer they use has a health declaration that if a cancer patient is at least 12 months clear of any cancer related treatment, other than regular medication and regular check-ups, then the cancer is covered under normal terms of the policy. Be sure to check this when you call and give as many details as you can.

MIA Travel Insurance

0845 647 2777

Specialise in all types of pre-existing medical conditions. All applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.


We would like to thank the Association of British Insurers (ABI), and patients who have helped us put this information sheet together.