Travel insurance and cancer


Travel insurance and cancer


The Irish Cancer Society realises that it can be very hard for people who have cancer to get travel insurance. This can apply if you have had cancer in the past or if you are receiving treatment at present. The aim of this factsheet is to give you some general information about what to consider when looking for travel insurance.

What should I do when looking for travel insurance?

Getting travel insurance is not easy, so it is a good idea to start looking as soon as you can. Ideally, it should be done before you book your holiday. It can also be hard to get insurance for some countries, particularly the USA.

Your first step should be to discuss your travel plans with your doctor. You are unlikely to get insurance unless your doctor says that you are fit to travel. A letter stating that you are fit to travel may be needed for some policies.

Check the cost of travel insurance before you book your holiday. It may happen that the cost of insurance means you are unable to afford the trip you want.

What happens if I want to book my holiday through a travel agency?

When you are looking for travel insurance through either a travel agency or an independent company, you are usually told to ring an independent medical screening phone line.

What happens when I ring a medical screening line?

The staff there will ask you over the phone a list of questions about your illness and treatment. A lot of things other than your history of cancer will be taken into account, like your age, general health, etc.

They will then decide if your condition will be

· covered at no extra premium, or

· covered at an extra premium, or

· excluded. This means you can still take out a policy and will be covered for every other condition apart from your cancer.

What should I tell the insurance company?

You must tell the insurance company about any conditions you have or have had in the past. Otherwise, if you need to make a claim later they can declare your policy invalid. Illnesses you have or had before the insurance policy was issued are called pre-existing conditions.

Who do I pay the extra premium to?

If there is an extra premium to be paid, you pay it directly to the independent medical screening line.

What happens if I want to take equipment abroad?

If you need to take any special medical equipment with you on holiday, make sure that your insurance will cover it. Check with your insurer.

Is there any health cover for EU citizens when travelling in Europe?

If you are an Irish resident you are entitled to medical care in the public system in European Union (EU) countries. This also applies to countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) such as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. If you become ill or injured while on a short stay to Switzerland, you will also be covered.

Before 2004, you needed an E form, e.g. E111 or the E128, to get such treatment. These forms have now been replaced by the European Health Insurance Card (EIHC). One card is needed for each individual or member of the family.

All agencies, including the Government, strongly advise that you buy travel insurance as well as taking an EHIC card with you when travelling.

Where can I get more information about the European Health Insurance Card?

Call your local health office for more information. You can find a list of these offices on the website www.ehic.ie, which also has more details about the EHIC card. You can apply or get an application form online.

What if I am travelling to Great Britain or Northern Ireland?

You do not need an EHIC card to get healthcare while on a short visit or holiday to the UK. It is enough to show proof that you are resident in Ireland. This means showing a driving licence, passport or a similar document.

And remember…

Always make sure you understand exactly what you are covered for. If in doubt, ask your insurer to explain it to you.

Insurance companies and brokers

A list of insurance companies and brokers is given here. Even though the companies listed aim to be helpful, the ICS cannot guarantee that you will get the cover you need, or cover at a reasonable price. Everyone is assessed individually. Just because a company or broker is included in this factsheet does not mean that the ICS recommends it.


Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI)

VHI House

Lower Abbey Street

Dublin 1

Tel: 01 8724 499 / 1850 444 444


VHI covers pre-existing conditions.


Ground Floor

Olympic House

Pleasant Street

Dublin 8

Tel: 0818 717 171


This is a call centre that offers travel insurance. Those with a pre-existing condition need to ring a medical screening line.

AllClear Travel Insurance

Tel: 0044 870 777 9339


This UK company offers a travel policy for people with medical conditions such as cancer. Cover can be offered if a terminal diagnosis has been given as long as the prognosis is greater than 6 months from the date the customer returns home.

Accident and General

34 Lower Abbey Street

Dublin 1

Tel: 01 8748 458


A basic policy must be got first, then contact with a medical screening line. It does not cover a terminal diagnosis.

Medi Travelcover Ltd

Tel: 0044 1252 7823


Based in the UK, this is a specialist provider of travel insurance for people with cancer.

Citybond Suretravel

Tel: 0044 870 444 6431


This UK company provides travel insurance for people with cancer. There are no specific exclusions, and everyone is assessed on an individual basis. However, cover is not guaranteed.

Getcover and Company limited

6 Leopardstown Office Park


Dublin 18

Tel: 1850 927 247


This company offers travel insurance. If you have a pre-existing condition you need to ring a medical screening line.

Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau

Third Floor, Lincoln House

Lincoln Place

Dublin 2

Locall 1890 882 090


The Ombudsman handles complaints from consumers about their dealings with financial service providers. It is a free service to the complainant.

Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority

PO Box 9138

College Green

Dublin 2

Tel: 01 4104 000

Consumer Helpline Locall: 1890 777 777


The Financial Regulator informs consumers and helps them to ask the right questions and to demand fair and professional services.


For further information,
please contact

Irish Cancer Society

43/45 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

Freefone 1800 200 700

Website: www.cancer.ie

To our knowledge this information is correct at time of printing. Please let us know if you find any particular company helpful (or unhelpful). If you have used a company that does not appear on this list, please contact us as we regularly review and update our information.

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