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Can You Get Travel Insurance With Diabetes?

Having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes requires you to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and your daily routine. Giving up on travel shouldn’t be one of them. But considering the many things that could go wrong when travelling, regardless of your health, travel insurance is something you should never consider skimping on when travelling locally or internationally. And having diabetes won’t always affect the level of travel cover you can get, since many insurers offer automatic cover for all types of diabetes, if certain conditions are met.

Will my Travel Insurance Include Cover for Diabetes?

Most travel insurers automatically cover more than 20 pre-existing medical conditions, if certain criteria are met, and this usually includes Type 1 and 2 diabetes. The Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for any insurers you are considering will clearly list all pre-existing medical conditions they automatically cover, so always check this carefully before taking out travel insurance. The criteria for automatic cover of Type 1 and 2 diabetes usually include:

  • That you were not diagnose within the last 6 to 12 months and haven't had any complications relating to your diabetes in the last six months.

  • That you have no kidney, nerve, vascular, or eye complications, not necessarily related to your diabetes.

  • That you have no known cardiovascular or coronary heart disease, and no known hypertensive related conditions.

Additionally, some insurers won’t include cover for diabetes if you are over the age of 50 years. You should still disclose your condition even if the insurer offers automatic cover for diabetes, so that they can properly assess whether you meet the requirements for automatic cover or not.

Will I pay More for Travel Insurance if I Have Diabetes?

Your travel insurance shouldn’t cost you more than it normally would if you meet the insurers requirements for automatic inclusion of your diabetes in your travel cover. If you don’t meet the requirements for your diabetes to be automatically covered, you could still get cover for your condition by paying an additional premium, but this would depend on the insurer and might not always be an option. However, even if your insurer is not willing to extend your travel insurance benefits to include your diabetes, you will still be able to get travel cover that offers benefits for any events not related to your condition. Don’t be afraid to compare different travel insurance products to find the one that best meets your needs, at a price you can afford. Remember that domestic travel insurance doesn’t include any medical benefits, but some of the other benefits could still be restricted or limited due to your diabetes, but your insurer would be able to advise you on this.

Tips for Travelling With Diabetes

If you’ve never travelled since being diagnosed with diabetes, you might be a little more apprehensive than normal. But a little bit of planning and preparation can make things a lot simpler, and every bit as enjoyable as travelling without a pre-existing medical condition.

  1. Schedule an Appointment With Your Doctor

Try to see your doctor at least eight weeks before your departure date. If you need any special vaccinations against certain diseases common to your destination, eight weeks is enough time for most vaccinations to become effective. At the same time, you can ask your doctor for a letter that gives details of your diabetes, the treatment plan you are following, and the medicines and equipment you will be travelling with. This isn’t a requirement for travelling with diabetes, but it can speed up border control processing.

  1. Make Sure you Have Enough Medicine and Testing Equipment

When packing your medicine and other supplies and equipment necessary for treating your diabetes, always pack the exact quantity you need, along with enough for a few extra days to account for any unplanned delays. But you should also be aware that some countries limit the amount of medication you can bring with you, so always contact the local Embassy or Consulate to find out if any restrictions apply, along with any other requirements you should be aware of. You should also try to pack most of your medicine and medical supplies in your carry-on luggage, so that you can easily access it if necessary during the flight, and so that there is less risk of you being stuck without essential medicine if your other luggage is delayed or lost.

  1. Plan for a Change to Your Routines

Part of your treatment plan may involve following a loose routine that includes regular exercise, eating at certain times, and even having a special diet. And travelling can disrupt all of this. Don’t try to be too rigid about your routines, but plan for how you will manage some changes, including not always being able to follow your special diet. More importantly, remember to adjust the time on your watch or insulin pump once you reach your destination, not during your flight.

  1. Have an Extra Set of Your Travel Documents

It’s always wise to keep all your travel documents together, including copies of your flight details, passport, and travel insurance. If you are travelling as part of a group, give an extra copy of all of your travel documents to the group leader, making sure it also contains a list of emergency contacts, and steps anyone should follow if you have a medical emergency relating to your diabetes.

Additional Resources

  • https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/ - website administered by Diabetes Australia, the national body in Australia for people affected by all types of diabetes.

  • https://www.ndss.com.au/ - the NDSS provides a range of services to help you manage your diabetes.

  • https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements - details of countries that Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with.

If you ever feel that you have unfairly been refused travel cover, or that a travel insurance claim has been improperly processed and settled, you should first contact your insurer to lodge a complaint with them. Your insurer has up to 45 days in which to respond to your complaint, and if the matter has not been resolved, you can then approach the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to lodge a dispute. AFCA replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) on 1 November 2018.

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