Travel insurance for diabetics

·3-min read

Around 3.8 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, which can make overseas travel more complicated – not least when it comes to travel insurance.

Getting the level of cover you need is especially important when you have a condition like diabetes, so here are some points to be aware of if you’re shopping for cover.

How much does travel insurance for diabetes cost?

Some insurers won’t provide you with cover if you have diabetes of any type, since it’s considered a pre-existing condition. Others will offer you cover, but will charge you more than they would someone without pre-existing conditions.

The reason you’ll pay more for cover if you’re diabetic is that insurers believe there’s a greater risk that you’ll make a claim and cost them money. Customers who present a smaller risk of making a claim pay less for cover.

Premiums aren’t solely dictated by whether or not you have health concerns, however. Where you’re going, how long you’ll be away and how old you are are also taken into account.

Prices will vary from one insurer to the next, even for comparable levels of cover, which makes shopping around for the best deal more important.

But the cost of travel insurance can’t be viewed in isolation, because the cost of emergency medical treatment overseas could far outweigh the cost of cover if you either didn’t buy a policy or opted for a policy that left you underinsured, simply because it was cheap.

Instead, you should look for policies that offer the cover you might need. Insurers will ask you some screening questions about your health to help ensure you get sufficient. It’s important you’re honest and forthcoming about your condition.

Is travel insurance compulsory if you’re diabetic?

Travelling with your medicine and perhaps having your usual routine interrupted by transit and time zone changes could add a layer of complication to managing your condition. So, while it’s not compulsory to buy a travel insurance policy specifically for diabetics, it’s advisable.

A robust policy would provide:

  • cover of at least £5 million for medical treatment

  • emergency repatriation to the UK

  • cancellation or curtailment

  • loss of medicines

  • costs associated with extending your trip and with delays because of your condition

Travel advice for diabetics

The NHS recommends people with diabetes travel with three times as much insulin, test strips, lancets, needles and glucose tablets as you’d expect to need. It also advises splitting your medicine, identification and equipment into two different bags, in case one is lost.

Other advice includes:

  • Pump users should pack insulin pens in case the pump fails

  • Carry insulin in your hand luggage

  • Use a cool bag to keep your insulin from getting hot

  • Carry ID that tells people about your condition

  • Take your diabetes team’s contact details with you

  • Carry enough snacks to see you through delays

Always check and be prepared for any Covid entry requirements at your chosen destination to keep stress levels to a minimum.