Feb 02

Cutting the cost of travel insurance for those diagnosed with cancer

On Sunday 4th February it’s World Cancer Day 2018. It reminds us that an estimated 2.5 million people are living with cancer in the UK.

According to, over 41,200 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year, with 268,000 people living with the disease. reports that lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer, with a total of 17,000 people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 2,000 diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma ever year in the UK.

That being the case, it seems pretty scandalous that those diagnosed should find it incredibly difficult to get access to affordable travel insurance. Thankfully, insurance companies are starting to address this.


Getting cheaper travel insurance if you’re diagnosed with cancer

Bald woman on the beach

AllClear, who specialise in insurance for over 50s, has become the first travel insurance provider to cut its premiums for those diagnosed with major cancers; including bowel cancer and lymphoma.

The price reduction come as part of a review analysing real claims data, enabling AllClear to pass on savings to customers resulting from improved claims performance.

Having helped cover over 1 million people with over 1,300 different conditions, AllClear has access to extensive data that enables it to accurately assess the risk of a claim being made.

AllClear then proactively adjusts its pricing structure to reflect the real experience, on a daily basis.

Claims from people declaring bowel cancer and lymphoma were compared to other commonly declared medical conditions such as diabetes. This analysis led to AllClear cutting its premiums by over 15% for those declaring bowel cancer and 10% for lymphoma.

They were able to lower the price because medical expenses and repatriation were significantly lower for people suffering with bowel cancer compared to other common conditions, such as diabetes.

There was no significant difference in the frequency of claims for medical expenses or repatriation between bowel cancer, lymphoma and the other commonly declared conditions that were analysed.

Three years ago, AllClear was also the first insurance provider to reduce its rates for breast cancer, and Mike Rutherford, Founder and Chairperson of AllClear, says the reductions are part of an ongoing analysis:

“AllClear takes many factors into account when calculating the price of a policy. These include destination, duration, age, medical condition and importantly the claims frequency for the medical condition, as well as the size of the claims.

“This allows us to determine a premium that reflects fair and sustainable pricing for both the customer and the insurer. This approach means we are able to provide cover where other companies are not – supporting our firm belief that everyone has the right to travel and no one is uninsurable.”

A single trip policy to France for a 66 year old who has been diagnosed with Lymphoma in the last five years has been reduced by 12% to £156.

Not all insurance policies will cover a person still receiving treatment. However a single trip policy to Spain from AllClear for a 66 year-old still undergoing chemotherapy for bowel cancer is available, and would cost of £289, representing a 17% discount.

“The issue of availability and cost of travel insurance for those diagnosed with, receiving treatment for, or in remission from cancer has been heavily debated recently,” adds Mike. “We understand that each individual cancer, and indeed medical condition, warrants careful analysis in order that we continue to offer travel insurance as widely as possible.”


Common myths about travel insurance and cancer

Woman with cancer and friend


I will not to be able to find comprehensive travel insurance if I declare my full medical history because I have had cancer or are living with cancer.


There are specialist insurance providers that offer comprehensive travel insurance that provides protection against medical expense costs abroad, trip cancellation and curtailment (cutting a trip short), as well as cash, valuables and baggage cover.

Specialist insurers are not trying to catch you out when requiring you to complete a medical screening process; they’re simply trying to accurately assess the risk of a claim being made while ensuring you have the appropriate level of cover for your trip. It is essential that you declare all conditions to make sure you are properly covered.



I am in remission from cancer and so no longer need to declare my condition to my travel insurers.


This is one of the more damaging and potentially costly myths. To ensure comprehensive cover is in place, it is vital to declare any cancer conditions regardless of whether you are in full recovery, as well as any other medical conditions you live with.

Failure to do so could lead to your claim being declined, or partially declined, and leaving you to face potentially expensive medical bills abroad, should there be a medical emergency.



I won’t be able to afford travel insurance now that I need to declare cancer.


This is not the case. If you go to a specialist medical travel insurer, risk profiles are calculated on an individual basis according to your medical conditions, the duration of your trip, the countries being visited and your age.

Now more than ever, thanks to AllClear’s price reductions based on these calculations, cancer does not have to put a stop to your travels.

It’s worth bearing in mind that medical treatment is more expensive in certain countries, and this impacts the cost of the premium. Countries like the US and Canada are renowned for being extremely expensive, but so too are destinations like Spain which is a particular favourite among UK travellers.



I won’t be able to get travel insurance if I’m currently undergoing chemotherapy or on a waiting list to receive treatment.


Again this is a myth. In reality, specialist medical travel insurance providers will offer travel insurance if you are receiving treatment for cancer. You will be asked to provide details of your treatment, and asked to confirm that your doctor has said you are fit to travel.

If you’re on a waiting list, some specialist insurance providers will offer additional cover in case you need to cancel your holiday because your treatment clashes with your trip.



I don’t need to tell my travel insurance provider that I am waiting for results of a potentially cancerous lump or symptom.


Yes you do. Unfortunately, you are not able to get medical travel insurance while still waiting for a diagnosis. Once diagnosed, AllClear will be able to provide a quote.



I only need to declare the most serious of my medical conditions.


This is untrue, you need to declare everything, however minor you might think it to be. It’s vital that a full medical history is provided to your insurer, and that all previous and current medical conditions are declared – even if they appear unrelated. Failure to do so could result in the cancellation of your insurance or a claim not being paid.



I can’t buy travel insurance because my cancer has spread.


Yes you can. Specialist medical travel insurers can offer travel insurance after cancer has spread. You will be asked to provide details of your treatment as well as details of any change in condition. You will also be asked to confirm that your doctor considers you fit to travel.



My travel insurance covers cancer treatment abroad.


Elective medical treatment is not covered by most travel insurance policies. You will need to obtain specialist insurance if you are travelling abroad for medical treatment.


Have you been affected by the issues raised in this article? Let us know your experiences in the comments section below. 

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