Travel insurance with a heart or circulatory condition

Suitcases in an airport

Buying travel insurance with a heart and circulatory condition can be difficult and expensive. Our advice can help you find the best insurance for your situation.

Where can I buy insurance with my condition?

Getting travel insurance with a heart or circulatory condition can be difficult, but it is very important to make sure you have financial protection, or ‘cover’, for any medical emergencies while you are away.

We have compiled a list of insurance companies who may be able to help you find a suitable travel insurance policy:

We don't work with or endorse any of these insurance companies. We can't guarantee that they will offer insurance to everyone, as insurance policies are determined on an individual basis and insurers will have their own policy requirements.

These suggestions are based on the best information available to us at the time of writing, taken from people on our online community who have experience of dealing with these companies and have found them sympathetic towards people with heart and circulatory diseases.

There are many other insurers out there, so shop around to get the best available insurance for your specific situation.

(The British Heart Foundation cannot be held liable for any loss or damage suffered as a result of a service provided by a third party company). 

Insurance is a popular talking point on our online community - sign up today to find information and support from people who are going through similar situations to your own.

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How will my health affect buying travel insurance?

Insurance companies will ask you some personal questions about things like your age, your travel destination and your health, including any ‘pre-existing’ medical conditions. This means you will have to declare:

  • any health condition that you currently live with
  • any health condition you have had in the past few years (the exact number of years can vary between different insurers), and
  • any past health ‘events’, like a heart attack or stroke.

Insurers will also ask about: 

  • any medicines that you currently take 
  • if you have had a device fitted, such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or 
  • any other treatments, like heart surgery or a stent.

Once insurers have this information, they will decide if they have a policy which is suitable for you, and how much it will cost you to buy. 

It’s really important to declare all of your past and present health conditions, any medicines that you take or treatments you’ve had, and whether you have a device implanted. If you leave out important information, it could result in a claim being refused.

It is a good idea to talk to your GP before purchasing an insurance policy, as they will be able to help you answer the medical questions.  

Can I buy travel insurance with a terminal illness?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal condition, it’s important to check the terms and conditions of any travel insurance policy closely, as many insurers don’t offer cover to people with a terminal illness. This includes some insurers who otherwise specialise in covering people with health problems.

But there are insurers available who offer policies for people with terminal illnesses. So if you shop around, you may be able to find cover for your situation. 

Covering family and friends with health conditions

If you are planning a trip with somebody – for example a partner, family member or colleague - who has a heart or circulatory condition, you may have to declare this on your own travel insurance for your trip.

This is in case you have to cancel your trip because of health problems for the person you were planning to travel with. Your travel insurance may not let you to claim money back for your cancellation if this person’s health condition was not declared when you bought your insurance. 

Will a European Health Insurance Card cover my condition?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can entitle UK citizens to free or reduced-cost medical treatment in many European countries. A full list of the countries covered by the EHIC is available from NHS Choices.

The EHIC can help you with:

  • emergency medical treatment
  • some planned treatments, like oxygen therapy or kidney dialysis.

But it doesn’t always cover:

  • private healthcare costs
  • other planned treatments, such as heart surgery.

So the best option when travelling to Europe is to have both an EHIC and travel insurance. You can apply for an EHIC online on the NHS Choices website or by visiting your local Post Office.

And to find out more about which treatments you can pre-book for your trip abroad, contact the Department of Health's Customer Service Centre on 0207 210 4850 before going away.

Can I have a planned medical treatment in Europe?

In some cases, you may need to have medical treatment in another EU country. For example, it may be quicker to give you the treatment you need in another country, if there is a long waiting period in the UK.

If you need a planned treatment in Europe, you may be able to apply for NHS funding to cover the cost of your treatment. The most common ways to do this are called the ‘S2 route’ (previously called E112) and the ‘EU Directive route’.

You can find more information about this from the Department of Health, including whether you may be eligible for funding.

I can't find the right insurance. Who can help?

Insurance brokers are professional insurance experts who can answer your questions about finding different types of insurance, and provide quotes for suitable insurance policies.

Some insurance brokers may charge a fee for their service, but many will help you for free. And if they find the right policy for you, their service could help you save money overall, and avoid any complications from taking the wrong type of policy.

If you want to find an insurance broker in your local area, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) offers a ‘Find a broker’ service.  

Who can I contact with a complaint about my insurance?

If you are unhappy with your insurance service or a policy claim, the quickest and simplest option is to try to sort your complaint directly with your insurer.

But if you have tried this and you want further help, or you think you have been treated unfairly as a result of a policy claim, the Financial Ombudsman Service is an unbiased public organisation that helps people sort out problems with financial service providers. You can contact them on 0800 023 4 567 (Freephone) or visit the Financial Ombudsman Service website.

Where can I go for further support?

We want your feedback

We welcome your feedback about insurance. You can contact us online or write to us:

British Heart Foundation
Heart Helpline
Greater London House
180 Hampstead Road