Travel

Travel Insurance advice for Diabetics (Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Sufferers) planning a holiday

If you’re one of the four million people in the UK living with diabetes, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a travel policy dedicated to your needs.

Since type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, here’s some helpful advice for travelling with the condition. We recommend planning ahead, at least a month in advance, to enjoy a stress-free holiday.

From medication to diet checks, here are some helpful pointers for your next trip:

Medication and Insulin Cartridges

Ahead of travelling, speak to your GP to ensure you have enough medication to cover you. This includes insulin and blood monitoring strips – stock up in case of any delays.
You may also need to obtain a letter from your GP to inform flight attendants and security at the airport that you have medication on you.

It can be helpful to make a list of which medication you’re on and the dosages you require. If you’re changing time zones, speak to your GP about altering this to a new time zone and if any special precautions should be taken.

Inform the Airline

When booking your flight, it’s best to inform your airline of additional medical needs. This includes special storage requirements for medicine, or whether you need to keep it on your person. If carrying syringes, make sure your airline is aware of this in advance, as you may be required to follow a different process during security checks.

Carrying a letter from your doctor is essential, as you will need to carry your insulin in your hand luggage. Your doctor will be quite used to issuing these letters. It should clearly explain the necessity of carrying your insulin and enough syringes/insulin pump onboard the flight to cover you for the duration of your holiday.

Always travel with a copy of your travel insurance policy.

The letter should explain that you need insulin and you should present it at security to staff. If you encounter further problems, speak with a senior manager because air travel and insulin should no longer be a problem for people with diabetes.

It is worth checking the airline’s policy before you travel and phone them up to get answers to any questions you have if you are concerned. Insulin User identity cards are available from Diabetes UK and independent companies. For more information and technical advice on looking after your insulin, go here.

EHIC and your Right to Treatment is Ending Soon

Up until the UK leaves the EU (currently scheduled for 31 October 2019), UK residents can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) within EU countries. While this is no substitute for travel insurance and will not bring you back home in an emergency, it does entitle you to the same level of medical care as residents within the country.

Be warned, however that come November 1st, your EHIC card will no longer valid unless an agreement is made between the UK and the 26 individual EU member states. Do not bank on this happening, and instead follow our individual country by country post Brexit travel advice to make sure you do have the correct cover.


Travel insurance providers that cover type 1 and type 2 diabetes sufferers on holiday

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 coevered 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

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

Travel Insurance for Your Needs

Ahead of travelling, be sure to take out a suitable level of travel insurance, especially one that covers you for issues relating to type 1 diabetes. If you already have an existing policy, ensure it’s up to date and that your medical status is declared to render it valid.

If you’re in any doubt, call your insurer and check on the following issues:

  • If you lose your insulin, is there an emergency replacement service and what is the estimated response time?
  • If you need any emergency treatment for this pre-existing medical condition, are you covered in a private hospital and to what value of treatment are you covered? Check the excess on your diabetes policy, too.
  • Are you covered for emergency repatriation, ambulance costs and, if you’re travelling with a partner or your family, is their travel covered.
  • Are overnight stays in hospital covered? What about cash requirements?

For more, read our guide to medical travel insurance here.

Read up about the country you plan to visit in good time. The NHS has a useful guide to travel within certain countries, including healthcare in each of these.

Air Shots

As frequent flyers may know, high altitudes can cause insulin to expand and create air pockets in the cartridge. Therefore, when flying, you may need to do a few air shots first to ensure there are no bubbles when you take the medication – do this both in the air and on the ground.

Travelling to Warmer Climates Effects Insulin

High temperatures can mean that insulin is absorbed quicker. As such, if you’re travelling to warmer climates be sure to monitor your glucose levels more frequently. You will want to avoid them dipping too low. Speak to your GP in advance in case it’s beneficial to change your current care plan.

Listen to Your Body

Your body may be out of sorts when travelling, pay attention to it. If you feel the effects of a hypo, be sure to treat it immediately. Always carry a small non-sugary, non-diet drink with you, sweets such as jelly babies, or a glucose gel.

Self-care

One of the best ways to manage type 1 diabetes is to live a healthy balanced life. While holidays are there for pleasure, it’s equally as important to maintain the same level of care, if not more, while abroad.

Be sure to plan journeys in advance with adequate snacks and drinks to keep your levels up. As with everyday care, try and stay away from processed foods and limit alcohol. Stay hydrated at all times, opting for bottled water when abroad.

Finally, use the local setting to its advantage. Go for a walk on the beach, take a gentle swim in the pool, find somewhere to practice yoga. Keeping active is important for your wellbeing.

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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