How a diagnosis of dementia can affect holiday cover.
‘We’re about to get travel insurance for an upcoming holiday, but I’m having tests and scans for dementia at the moment. Will that affect what insurance I can get?’
Insurers will want to know if you’re having tests for a medical condition or if you already have one. Even if they don’t specifically ask, their terms and conditions may assume you have no health issues. It’s a good idea to check, since you may find you’re not covered if you haven’t told them.
If you’re awaiting test results, the uncertainty means that some insurers may not offer cover at all. If they do, it’ll probably be more expensive. You might have to wait until you have a confirmed diagnosis.
Whether you’re still having tests or you’ve been diagnosed, it’s likely to make your insurance more expensive. It may also limit the number of insurers who will provide cover.
You may need to try more than one insurer, and that’s a good idea anyway so you can compare prices
The government’s Money Helper website has a travel insurance directory that can help you find an insurer.
Another option is to use a broker, who can shop around for you. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association could help you find one.
It will probably be easier and cheaper to buy a single trip policy rather than annual cover.
What if they’re unreasonable?
Equalities law is there to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. That includes people with dementia, and it can sometimes include someone who’s having tests or scans to see if they have dementia.
Insurers must follow these laws, though there are some exceptions for them. However, they still have to make a reasonable decision about risk based on reliable evidence.
If you think they’re being unreasonable, you can complain to the insurer using their own complaints process.
If that doesn’t work, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman.
Travel within the EU
Having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) entitles you to limited state-provided healthcare if you’re travelling within the EU and, in some cases, Switzerland.
This healthcare may be free or at a reduced cost, and it varies from country to country. Neither card is a substitute for insurance – you should buy private cover as well.
You may already have an EHIC. Despite the UK leaving the EU, your EHIC will still be valid until the expiry date printed on it.
If your EHIC expires or you don’t have one, you can apply for a GHIC.