How to avoid the travel insurance traps when you have a pre-existing illness


Mention the ‘C’ word and insurers either see pound signs or they slam the proverbial door in your face.

That’s how it feels for thousands of people with a complicated medical history or long-term health problem battling to get affordable travel insurance each year.

Chris Lewis, 62, a business consultant in London is a prime example, forced to forgo holidays with his family for years after his cancer treatment because, he says, insurers discriminated against him because of his health.

With one in two of us expected to be affected by cancer at some point in our lives by the year 2020, this issue is affecting more and more people.

We have put together a guide on where to look for insurance, what your options are and what you need to think about if you have, or have had a serious illness in the past.

Chris, was diagnosed in 2007 with a stage 4 blood cancer. Since then he has been treated with chemotherapy and undergone a grueling stem cell transplant.

While he is thankfully still in remission, unfortunately having a transplant can have its own long-term complications and Chris still struggles with rejection issues.

He says: ‘For a long time after my treatment I didn’t want to travel as the problem of finding travel insurance was too much. So many companies wouldn’t touch me and others wanted crazy money.

‘Unfortunately, once you mention the word cancer, you are discriminated against by everyone! Banks, employers and insurers to name but a few.’

‘With most things in life there is no one size fits all approach that will work. Not everyone affected by cancer is dying, but you tend to get treated the same.

‘I have now been able to get affordable cover through a specialist insurer, InsuranceWith, which I found via social media.

‘But the industry doesn’t seem to want to help everybody find cover, this is an industry fraught with customer confusion.’

For those like Chris affected by a serious illness, a holiday is more than just a summer break, it’s often seen as a symbolic step in recovery or an aim to fix on during treatment – a dream they shouldn’t be forced to give up or risk financial difficulties to enjoy.

So here are our top tips to make sure you get the best and cheapest cover with a pre-existing illness such as cancer.