senior travellers

Travel Insurance for Alzheimer’s

Can you get travel insurance for Alzheimer's patients?

With an ageing population, dementia is becoming a growing health concern, with Alzheimer's (the most common form of dementia) affecting hundreds of thousands of Australians and their families.

This guide looks at some of the everyday problems associated with dementia, including travelling with a person suffering from dementia and obtaining travel insurance for Alzheimer's sufferers.

Can I get cover?

It's a yes and no answer. Many insurers will flat-out exclude cover for pre-existing mental conditions, including dementia. Others may agree to provide you with travel insurance for Alzheimer's if you undergo a medical screening.

Unfortunately, there isn't an Australian travel insurance brand that offers travel insurance for Alzheimer's patients as standard. For those that will consider those suffering with Alzheimer's, there is no guarantee that you will get cover even if they have accepted someone with the condition previously, as cover is provided on a case-by-case basis.

Which Australian travel insurance brands cover dementia?

BrandConditionsApply
AIGLosses, liability or expenses that are for, related to or as a result of:

  • Any existing health disorder unless agreed to by AIG in writing
Go to site
columbus-direct-logo
  • Classes mental disorders as pre‐existing medical conditions, so you may be able to get cover as there is not blanket exclusion if Columbus Direct agree to cover your issue.
Go to site
CoverMoreGenerally, there is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from:

  • Mental, anxiety, depression or nervous disorders.
  • However, Cover-More do offer travel insurance for mental disorders in some cases for an additional premium. If you're approved for cover this exclusion will be waived when cover is separately applied for by you in respect of your condition.
Go to site
STA Travel InsuranceThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from, or is in any way connected with:

  • Your dementia, depression, anxiety, stress, mental or nervous conditions
  • STA do offer travel insurance for mental illness in some cases. However you must have agreed in writing to provide cover as set out in your Medical Terms of Cover letter and you have paid any additional premium that applies.
Go to site
youGoGenerally, there is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
  • However, youGo will offer travel insurance for mental illness in some cases. If you're approved for cover this exclusion will be waived when cover is separately applied for by you in respect of your condition(s). You will have to pay the appropriate additional amount agreed to by you and youGo.
Go to site
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
AMEX Travel Insurance
Amex will not pay for claims arising directly or indirectly from:

  • Any pre-existing medical condition not listed on the accepted list of medical conditions in the product disclosure statement
Budget Direct
Budget Direct will not pay for claims arising directly or indirectly from:

  • Any pre-existing medical condition not listed on the accepted list of medical conditions in the product disclosure statement
citibank
Amex will not pay for claims arising directly or indirectly from:

  • Any pre-existing medical condition not list on the accepted list of medical conditions in the product disclosure statement
DownunderThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
Easy Travel Insurance
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from:

  • Any mental illness including dementia, depression, anxiety, panic attack, stress, bipolar, mania, schizophrenia or other nervous disorder
Fast Cover
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
Go Insurance
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from:

  • Mental illness including but not limited to dementia, depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar, mania, schizophrenia or any other nervous disorder/condition.
InsureandGo
You will not be covered for claims if you or any insured person on your policy has in the last five (5) years suffered from or received medical advice, treatment or medication for:

  • Any psychiatric or psychological condition (including anxiety or depression)
Insure4lessThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
iTrek
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
MultiTrip Travel Insurance
  • Multitrip.com.au do not cover medical problems that you had before the cover started unless your medical condition is on the list of automatically covered medical conditions.
No Worries Travel InsuranceThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
Online Travel InsuranceThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
Over 60 Travel InsuranceThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
simplytravelinsurance
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
Skiinsurance.com.au
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
SCTI
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
Tick Travel Insurance
You will not be covered for claims if you or any insured person on your policy has in the last five (5) years suffered from or received medical advice, treatment or medication for:

  • Any psychiatric or psychological condition (including anxiety or depression)
Travel Insurance Direct
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including but not limited to:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
Travel Insurance Saver
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, panic attack, stress, bipolar, mania, schizophrenia or other nervous disorder
TravelInsuranz
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from your mental illness as defined by DSMIV including but not limited to:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
Virgin Money
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from mental illness including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other mental or nervous condition
Webjet Travel InsuranceThere is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from any mental illness as defined by DSM-IV including:

  • Dementia, depression, anxiety, stress or other nervous condition
Woolworths
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions
Worldcare Travel Insurance
There is no cover for claims arising directly or indirectly from or is in any way related to:

  • Mental, depression, anxiety, stress or nervous conditions

What documents should you take with you when travelling?

When travelling with dementia or with someone who has Alzheimer's, it’s important to carry documentation with you in case of an emergency. This should include:

  • Doctor’s name and contact details
  • A list of medications and dosages
  • A list of food or drug allergies (if relevant)
  • Emergency phone numbers such as local police, ambulance and fire department
  • Copies of legal documents such as a will and power of attorney
  • Contact details of friends and family
  • Insurance information, including policy number and insurer’s contact details

What are the warning signs?

Travelling can be a disconcerting experience for someone with Alzheimer's. If any of the following signs are evident in your loved one or travelling companion, you may want to consider cancelling or at least postponing your trip:

  • Disorientation and agitation even in familiar surroundings
  • Wanting to go home even when just on short trips
  • Delusional, paranoid, aggressive or uninhibited behaviour
  • Incontinence problems
  • Unhappy (crying, anxious or withdrawn) in noisy, crowded locations
  • Wandering or behaving in an agitated manner

If some of these behaviours are evident and you aren’t sure whether travel is advisable, you check with your doctor to see if medication might be helpful. You could also take a short preliminary trip to gauge the person’s capacity to handle a longer journey.

What should you do when travelling with someone with dementia?

If you are travelling with someone in the early stages of dementia, whether it’s for a holiday or because you’re relocating, you should plan well ahead. Keep the following tips in mind when travelling by car or by air:

  • When travelling by car, make sure they are comfortable and allow time for rest breaks, especially on long trips
  • Check that their seatbelt is correctly fastened and engage the child safety lock on their door (if available)
  • Help them get in and out of the car, particularly when there is traffic nearby
  • If they are in an agitated state, do not drive with them alone; enlist the help of a third person.
  • When travelling by air, notify the airline ahead of time so that cabin staff can provide extra assistance as needed
  • Book flights with plenty of time in between to avoid rushing them and to allow them to adjust to new time zones
  • Request an aisle seat near the toilets to make bathroom breaks as easy as possible
  • Remember to bring a change of clothes on the plane in case of incontinence
  • If possible, check your luggage right through to the final destination to avoid having to worry about it between flights

Tips for travelling with someone who has dementia

The following general tips are also useful when travelling with someone who has dementia:

  • Get plenty of rest before the trip, because you will be doing everything for two people, which can be very tiring.
  • Make sure the person who has dementia has identification on them, including name tags on their clothing, contact information in their wallet or purse. An identity bracelet is ideal in case you become separated at any stage of the journey.
  • Keep all valuables and important documentation with you, including money, ID, passports and tickets.
  • Carry a list of the required medications and their doctor’s contact details.
  • Bring enough medications for the whole trip, plus extra prescriptions, and keep medications in their original packaging if travelling overseas.
  • Be alert in large toilet blocks with more than one exit and use disabled toilets where available.
  • If wandering is a problem, lock hotel doors with the safety latch and leave the bathroom light on at night.
  • Always turn the shower on for them and adjust the hot water yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
  • Allow plenty of time for everything on your itinerary.

Dementia stats

The statistics on dementia make for alarming reading and show why more needs to be done to find a cure for this debilitating disease:

  • There are over 46.8 million people with dementia worldwide and 131.5 million cases are predicted by the year 2050.
  • There are over 353,800 Australians with dementia, which is predicted to grow to 400,000 in under five years and to nearly 900,000 by 2050.
  • While dementia is more common after the age of 65, there are about 25,100 Australians with Younger Onset Dementia (dementia under the age of 65), with some as young as 30.
  • It is estimated that around 1.2 million people are involved in caring for dementia sufferers worldwide.
  • Australia will face a shortage of more than 150,000 dementia carers by the year 2029.
  • Within 20 years, dementia will be the third largest source of health and aged care spending and will cost around 1% of our gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The Australian Government will spend an additional $200 million on dementia research over the next five years, which will boost overall research funding to more than $60 million a year.
  • Dementia is the second biggest killer in Australia and there is currently no cure.

Compare your cover options

Suffering from dementia doesn’t mean you can’t travel. It just means you need to plan well ahead and take precautions wherever possible to make the process as smooth and painless as possible.

Compare which travel insurance brands in the finder.com.au cover Alzheimer's

Useful contact details

The following services provide help and information regarding dementia, which you may find useful:

Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Laycock

Richard is the senior insurance writer at finder.com.au and is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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