Travel, Health

Medical Travel Insurance – tips for travelling with Crohn’s Disease

Travel tips for someone travelling with Crohn’s disease

Whether you’re a Crohn’s disease sufferer, or have irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis or any other inflammatory bowel disease, it’s important to travel well.

The physical and emotional impact of travelling abroad can make it a challenging time for some. However, that needn’t be the case if you plan ahead and put appropriate precautions in place.

Read more for our helpful tips for people going on holiday with Crohn’s disease:

Travel Insurance and Crohn’s disease

While your Crohn’s disease may be under control with medication, it’s still extremely important that you declare the condition to your travel insurer.

If you found yourself in a situation where you needed medical treatment or needed extra medication due to damage or loss, you wouldn’t be covered for a cost related to your condition.

While your Crohn’s disease may be under control with medication, it’s still extremely important that you declare it.

If you have Crohn’s, the cost of your single or annual travel insurance policy might be higher than your friends or family because Crohn’s disease is categorised as a pre-existing medical condition by travel insurers.

They can’t deny you insurance, however, and the increased costs are associated with the additional features needed in the policy to make sure you’re safe on holiday.

If you do get unwell, you need to know that you are covered and ideally your family are too in case they need to be there to support you.

Always ask your insurer about:

  • 24 Hour emergency assistance cover.
  • Care cover in a private hospital.
  • Emergency repatriation: transport back to the UK.
  • Holiday cancellation / lost baggage / flight staff strikes / airline bankruptcy.
  • Medical expenses cover (some policies offer up to £15m although a typical policy offers around £1m).
  • Overnight stays in the hospital.
  • Accommodation for friends and family who may be supporting you.
  • Emergency medicine replacement.

To be certain a travel insurance policy is appropriate for your needs, insurers have a process called “medical screening”.

Their medical department might ask you questions about your condition.

Holiday insurance with pre-existing medical conditions can get expensive, so it’s best to shop around to find the cheapest quote. Try our list of holiday travel insurers that have medical travel and pre-existing medical conditions cover in our handy guide. Before accepting a policy, read through the policy terms and conditions carefully, especially the exclusions section.

Before accepting cover, check the entire policy, especially the exclusions.

If you are travelling to the EU, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid after the 31st October 2019.

While it’s sensible to hold one, don’t rely on it. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the current level of health care on offer by each individual country. We’ve created a guide for travellers from the UK visiting the EU after Brexit with an individual country by country guidance. Always make sure you have travel insurance.


Recommended Travel Insurance Providers that Cover Crohn’s sufferers

We’ve carefully reviewed travel health insurance providers that all understand, and cater for varying types of pre-existing medical conditions including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis or any other inflammatory bowel disease. Most, such as Allclear and Staysure, cover any medical condition.

Always speak directly with the insurer to find out what’s covered and what isn’t.

Click here to see our full list of travel insurance providers or click “Quote” to get a quote from one of our recomended providers, or scroll down to read more information on individual policies.

Provider
Maximum Age
Medical?
PolicyClever Rating*
Quote
Allclear

No age limit

Yes

Esure

79

Yes

Staysure

No age limit

Yes

World First

100

Yes

Columbus Direct

85

Yes

*Ratings data is based on aggregated review scores provided by Defaqto, Trustpilot, Feefo, Reviews.co.uk and Which.co.uk.

Travel Insurance Policy Comparison

We’ve carefully reviewed travel health insurance providers that all understand, and cater for varying types of pre-existing medical conditions. Most, such as Allclear and Staysure, cover any medical condition. Always speak directly with the insurer to find out what’s covered and what isn’t.

Click here to see our full list of travel insurance providers or click “Quote” to get a quote from one of our recomended providers, or scroll down to read more information on individual policies.

Allclear
Staysure
World First
Columbus
Esure

If you’re travelling with Crohn’s disease, read on for more guidance:

Speak to your GP

Whether it’s your first of tenth trip with the condition, it’s always beneficial to seek medical advice before booking a holiday. Speak to your GP about any issues or concerns and ensure you’re well enough to travel. This is also an opportunity to stock up on enough medication to last for the duration of your trip and beyond, in case of delays.

Dietary Needs

With Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel disease, diet plays a crucial role. Therefore, it’s important to research your destination well to ensure there’s adequate supermarkets and a choice of suitable restaurants within easy reach for your specific needs. When booking accommodation, speak to your hotel in advance to see if they can cater to any requirements you may have, especially if you opt for an all-inclusive.

Travel Medical Wallet

As part of forward planning, invest in a travel wallet with all your medical requirements included. Write down a list of your current medication including specific brand names. Include a brief history of your medical records as well. Include your GP’s number and next of kin for emergencies. This should be in your possession at all times.

Air Travel

When booking your flight, be sure to opt for special dietary meals, most airlines cater to a wide variety of conditions and this is usually easy to pre-order. At the same time, you may wish to request an aisle seat or one near the bathroom for peace of mind.

As there may be certain airline restrictions with prescription medicine, it’s important to get in touch with your carrier in advance to inform them of any additional requirements.

For every eventuality, it’s worth having a go-to kit at your disposal. This should include; tissue paper, plastic bags, a change of clothes, antibacterial hand sanitizer, wet wipes, nutritional snacks that your GP has recommended.

On your day of travel, arrive at the airport early. This will give you enough time for bathroom breaks should you need them. Medication should always be within easy reach when you travel. This may mean wearing clothes with lots of pockets, or having a dedicated bag with all your medication in.

Car Travel

Try to travel at a time when the roads won’t be congested, avoid roadworks and use a navigational app like Waze or Google Maps to help make the journey more efficient. Plan your stops at service stations every hour or so to stay fresh, alert and well hydrated, these can be mapped out in advance to ease your anxiety. In your go-to kit, include a bottle of water, change of clothes, wipes and plastic bags. As with any kind of travel, make sure your medication is within easy reach.

Handy Phrases

If you’re travelling in a country where English isn’t the primary language or isn’t widely known, try learning a few key phrases such as “bathroom”, “I’m feeling unwell”, “there’s a medical emergency” and “doctor”. There are even “point it” books available where you can point at images when language is a barrier.

It’s also advisable to take a phrase book with the key phrases highlighted or a letter in the local language explaining your position.

Get yourself a  “Can’t Wait” Card

A “can’t wait card” gets you quick access to the bathroom without having to explain the situation. Although written in English, it features widely understood logos and visuals that are easy to understand. For more information, head to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK website.

The Bladder and Bowel Society also have a similar free card and downloadable app. This is particularly useful for travel since it also locates nearest toilets in the area.

InsurancePre-Existing Medical ConditionsTravel Insurance

Sophia Walker
Sophia Walker

Sophia Walker is a writer with a passion for travel, health and wellbeing and storytelling. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, her work has been published extensively in print and online. Sophia is often found in far-flung destinations, when not in her native home of London.

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