Cancer cover back in the spotlight


Thousands of British holidaymakers who have had cancer have been denied travel insurance despite being diagnosed a decade ago, new research by Macmillan Cancer Support has revealed


A survey of more than 2,000 people, which was conducted by YouGov, revealed:

·         An estimated 8,500 British holidaymakers who applied for travel insurance following a cancer diagnosis were unable to get a policy despite the fact that they were diagnosed with cancer a decade ago.

·         An estimated 7,500 Brits who have had cancer at some point in their lives and took out single trip or annual travel insurance paid £1,000 or more for their policy

·         On average people with cancer paid £133 for their policies, nearly four times the average cost of an annual travel policy for the general public – just £37.

Macmillan’s research also revealed that almost one in five (18 per cent) people who had cancer and took out travel insurance paid £200 or more for cover.

The organisation is calling on the insurance industry to ensure people living with cancer are treated fairly and aren’t priced out of the market, while acknowledging that those who have had cancer may have more medical needs and represent a higher risk for insurers than those without the illness; it says that current prices and policies reflect an outdated view of cancer as being something that only affects the minority or that those who have cancer are facing a ‘death sentence’.

Macmillan says that high travel insurance costs could leave people who have had cancer struggling financially, prevent them from having a much-needed break or mean they travel abroad without appropriate medical cover. Going on holiday without insurance, or buying a policy that excludes their cancer, put people at risk of eye-wateringly high medical bills if they fall ill when abroad.

Macmillan is thus calling on the insurance industry to try to use more accurate, relevant and tailored data in their policies and pricing so people living with cancer are treated fairly and aren’t priced out of the market. It also wants insurers to try and give clearer explanations about how quotes have been calculated and what an exclusion would mean if someone needed to make a claim to allow customers to understand why decisions have been made.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “For many people with cancer, getting travel insurance can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare. Every day, we hear from people who have longed for a holiday as a chance to recuperate, to celebrate the end of their treatment, or to spend precious time with friends or family, only to have those plans shattered by issues with travel insurance. It’s not good enough that they are being denied travel insurance or charged sky-high prices. Even those who were diagnosed a decade ago are being written off as ‘uncoverable’.

We want insurance providers to give people with cancer a break. Travel insurance policies should be clear and fairly priced for everyone, including people with cancer.”