It's important to declare your disability or illness when arranging travel insurance, even though standard travel insurance doesn't cover any illness or health problem that existed or was diagnosed before your holiday began.
The travel insurance company may ask for specific details, or your doctor may need to complete a form stating that you are fit to travel. You may be asked to sign a form stating that you are not awaiting treatment, for example.
If you need to take expensive disability (mobility) equipment with you, make sure that it is insured for loss or damage.
Mobility aids - including wheelchairs and scooters - are unlikely to be covered by standard travel insurance policies. You may have to pay an extra premium. Sometimes your household insurance may provide cover for these items.
Most travel insurance companies offer cover to disabled people that meets their needs. However, some insurers do not cover disabled people who have a severe medical condition or a history of mental illness. You may need to arrange cover with a specialist insurer.
A specialist insurer may be right for you if you are travelling outside the UK for a long period of time.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. Part 3 of the Act places duties on service providers, which includes travel insurance and travel companies providing services within the UK.
Companies have a duty to ensure that, as a disabled customer, they do not treat you less favourably than other customers, for a reason related to your disability, unless they can justify that treatment. So for example, they must not unjustifiably refuse to provide a service to a disabled person that they are prepared to offer other members of the public, nor must they provide the service on worse terms or to a worse standard.
However, the law allows travel insurers to apply special conditions or premiums to disabled people in a particular set of circumstances. For example they can charge a disabled person a higher premium if they can show that there is a greater risk in insuring a disabled person than a non-disabled person.
The travel insurance company can only justify this difference of treatment of a disabled person if:
The special rules on travel insurance are explained in Chapter 9 of the Code of Practice - Rights of Access document published by the Disability Rights Commission. The commission closed on 28 September 2007, but the website is still available. The document can be downloaded from the Disability Rights Commission's website in various formats.
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), is for when you travel to another country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. It has replaced the E111 form. If you become ill while abroad, the EHIC gives access to state-provided medical treatment in the country you are visiting.
The card also covers any treatment you need for a chronic disease or pre-existing illness, and routine maternity care. Kidney dialysis and oxygen treatment are also covered but you will need to arrange these in advance. The EHIC does not cover you if medical treatment is the main purpose of your trip.
The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, which is always recommended. There are some things that the EHIC does not cover, such as repatriation.
An EHIC is valid for betweeen three and five years. To see if yours is
still valid, just check the expiry date on the card. You cannot use the card after
it has expired so it is important to check before you travel. You can renew
your card up to six months before the expiry date.
Please Note: The EHIC is the replacement for the E111. As of 1 January 2006, E111’s are not valid.
General government Information on Travel Insurance
Travel & Transport - Gov Info
Disabled Access Holidays Limited
Travel Insurance - Health Insurance for Disabled People..