Question asked by: 
Date asked: 
Jan 2013

My CA125 levels have recently risen slightly above normal and my GP has booked a scan (having had surgery and chemo for ovarian cancer in the past). I'm going to Canada in August 2013 with my daughters for three weeks. I have asked for a quote to cover all medical conditions, including pre-existing, and it was nearly £3000 (as much as the actual holiday!). I simply can't afford this.

I am considering insurance that doesn't cover pre-existing conditions as I feel physically fine at the moment and could fly home at a fraction of the cost if I felt ill. Is this a viable solution? Should we take out travel insurance separately or all go on one policy? Should we look for insurance that covers cancellation? 

I can’t afford travel insurance covering pre-existing conditions for my trip to Canada, should I go without it?
Seek your consultant’s approval
Response by Dr K Shastri

A scan would be helpful, as a steadily rising CA125 may be an early indication of a biochemical relapse. Although, if this is the case, it would not automatically stop you from travelling in August. You need to seek your consultant’s approval for the trip. 

The quote for £3,000 seems excessive, as long as you are well. Even if a relapse is confirmed, a realistic premium is likely to be less than £1,000 for Canada. 

It is important to keep in mind the possibility of acute complications, which would require immediate hospitalisation. In an emergency, heading for the airport rather than the nearest hospital is not advised. 

Our InsureCancer policy automatically provides for a concerned adult to stay and travel home with the insured cancer patient. 

You may struggle to find cover for Canada.
Response by Eileen Dalrymple-White

I would definitely not advise travelling without insurance.

Taking insurance excluding the conditions can also prove problematic and not all insurers will do it. The claims handlers would be looking for any link to the disease, treatment or medication.

If you fall ill, there is a chance the airline won’t let you fly. They don’t want the cost of having to divert because of you. They have the authority to veto your place if you are too large, or even if you look a little scary, so you can see they would have no problem if you look really ill.

When airlines used to allow stretchers on planes they made insurers pay for nine seats (three rows) to avoid upsetting other passengers by making them sit next to a patient. Nowadays most of them simply don’t allow stretchers on their flights.

All of you have to declare each other’s medical history to get cover for cancellation and curtailment, so it would be easier to all go on the same policy.

Cancellation cover is even harder than medical cover. There are by far more cancellation claims than any other section of the policy. As such, most policies restrict the limits, so make sure you check the amount.

It might be worth waiting to get your scan results.
Response by Fiona Macrae

If you wait until you get the results of your scan and they show an improvement or that things had stayed the same – we Insurancewith may be able to help. 

I wouldn’t advise going without cover for your medical conditions. Canada is very expensive for medical treatment, more so than America. 

It also may not be as easy as just getting the next available flight home because you may not be fit to fly.

I would recommend your daughters are on the same policy, then if a claim arises as a result of your medical condition, they’ll be covered as well.