Getting Travel Insurance when you’ve had cancer.

By: Michael Challiner
If you have been a person who has previously had cancer and wants to go on an overseas holiday, you may find that you have your work cut out for you when it comes to finding an affordable travel insurance policy.

In fact, there are some insurance firms which will not offer any insurance at all to those who have had or do have cancer. Of the companies that do offer insurance, they sometimes charge you more than the cost of your flights. For instance, one company, Free Spirit, charges a 48-year-old woman who had breast cancer five years ago ?248.70 for a 17-day worldwide policy. Compare this to someone without any health concerns where the insurance costs are as little as ?20.

This example has been backed up by a recent survey conducted by the charity ‘Cancerbackup’ which reveals that nine in ten people struggle to get travel insurance if they have had cancer. Even if people are fit to travel, seven in ten are offered policies with sky high premiums or else refused insurance all together, the survey suggests.

And so as a result of insurance problems, one in 20 people linked to cancer choose to travel without insurance.

One in ten, as a result, cancel their trip.

But there is now, perhaps, some hope. As a result of the survey conducted by ‘Cancerbackup’, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is investigating whether companies are in fact discriminating against cancer sufferers. The association says it also wants to make sure the ‘Cancerbackup’ survey results have not put people off taking out travel insurance all together before going on holiday. A spokesperson for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support calls for this sort of probing saying: “The insurance industry needs to recognize that not all cancers are the same and treat people accordingly."

Cancer as a disease itself is so grueling for people it is only natural many of them want to give themselves a relaxing overseas holiday when their treatment is finished. And rightly so says, one of the firms that does offer cancer suffers insurance – Medi Travelcover. A spokesperson for the company says the extra costs for the insurance are worth it because when someone is feeling low, a holiday can be just what they need. The company says it has sympathy with people who are refused travel insurance outright.

“Being refused insurance can have a terrible impact on their morale", the spokesperson says. When it comes to life insurance or private medical insurance it is quite understandable how someone might be refused the opportunity to take out cover. But then it seems crazy that someone who has had cancer a long time ago cannot get any reasonably priced medical insurance for a straight forward holiday. The situation is likely to become more of an issue too, with one million people having been diagnosed with cancer sometime in their life. So it is no wonder the Association of British Insurers is now doing some probing about the situation – some might argue that the probing has not happened soon enough.

Websites which offer more information include the Cancerbackup website (www.cancerbackup.org.uk) and Cancer Research website ().

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