1 in 5 can’t get travel cover due to pre-existing conditions

3 Mar, 2018

03 March 2018  A third (32%) of UK holidaymakers say they struggle to get travel insurance and of these, 60% say this is due to a pre-existing medical condition, according to a new study released today by the Co-op.

Cancer (21%), diabetes (18%) and high or low blood pressure (18%) are the most common conditions that UK sightseers say are to blame for the lack of cover.

Of the 60% of Brits who can’t get insurance due to a pre-existing medical condition:

  1. 21% were previously diagnosed with cancer
  2. 18% have diabetes
  3. 18% have high or low blood pressure
  4. 15% suffer from chronic pain
  5. 13% take prescribed medication
  6. 12% previously suffered a heart attack
  7. 11% have high cholesterol and so take statins
  8. 10% have arthritis
  9. 9% have asthma
  10. 9% have angina

Furthermore, travellers aged 65 plus are the most affected, with over four fifths (83%) saying they find getting travel insurance difficult, due to their pre-existing medical condition.

In terms of how UK tourists overcome these difficulties, a third (32%) of those who are unable to get cover say they now just travel without it.

Over a quarter (28%) use specialist providers, which they explained made their insurance at times more expensive. A fifth (19%) take out insurance, but refuse to declare their medical conditions, in order to keep costs down.

The study also reveals however, the number of holidaymakers who are now limited when it comes to their choice of destination. Over a quarter (27%) changed their holiday plans and a fifth (21%) cancelled their trip entirely, when they became aware of their travel insurance struggles.

What do travellers struggling to get insurance do?

  • A third (32%) now travel without having insurance in place
  • A third (28%) use specialist providers
  • A quarter (27%) changed their holiday plans
  • A fifth (21%) cancelled the holiday
  • A fifth (19%) took out insurance but didn’t declare their medical condition

Of the UK jet-setters who travel without insurance, a third (30%) just hope that nothing happens to them whilst they’re on holiday and a tenth (10%) say they avoid riskier activities.

Colin Butler, Head of Travel Insurance at the Co-op commented: “It’s really quite worrying to think that people who find it difficult to get suitable travel insurance product are resorting to not declaring important details about their medical conditions or are ignoring travel insurance completely.

“The average travel insurance claim stands at £2000 and so it’s really important that people take out appropriate cover that’s right for them. We want to help bridge this gap to ensure that everyone is able to get appropriate cover. It’s for that reason that we’re offering travel insurance for any ages and any medical conditions.”²

Dr Dawn Harper, GP & TV personality commented: “A large population of the UK live with conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, the risks of which sadly increases with age.

“However, many people in their 60s and over are still very active and want to live out their later years travelling. For this reason I’m delighted to see that the Co-op are offering an affordable travel insurance product for the thousands of people who currently struggle because of pre-existing medical conditions.”


Top 5 countries UK holidaymakers travel to without insurance

  1. 59% would travel within the UK
  2. 21% would holiday in Europe
  3. 11% would holiday in America
  4. 5% would holiday in Asia
  5. 5% would holiday in Australia