Woman using an asthma puffer

Travel Insurance for Asthma

Do you suffer from asthma? Find out what conditions may affect you when looking for travel insurance

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways that affects around 10% of the Australian population.

While asthma is generally covered at no extra charge, you should declare it at the time of applying for insurance. Most insurers cover asthma automatically, provided you are under a certain age (usually 60) and have not been experiencing any symptoms. This includes hospital admissions, emergency department attendance or changes in medication or treatment for your asthma in the past 24 months.

Even if you don’t meet these conditions, you may still be able to get cover for asthma by undergoing a medical assessment and paying a higher premium. Conditions vary from insurer to insurer, so the best thing to do is shop around for the cover you need.

Which travel insurance brands provide automatic cover for asthma?

BrandConditionsApply
1-cover-new1You're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Provided you have not been hospitalised (including emergency department) for asthma in the past 24 months
  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are under 60 years of age
Get quote
AIGAsthma is automatically covered providing you haven't:

  • Had an attack requiring hospitalisation or medical treatment within the last 12 months
Get quote
AMEX Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have not been treated by a physician in the past 12 months
  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Budget Direct Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Citibank Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • You have not had an asthma attack requiring treatment by a doctor in the last 12 months
Columbus Direct
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes or even pre-existing injuries, you may need to purchase extra coverage.
Get quote
CoverMoreYou're covered for asthma provided:

  • The condition has not required treatment by a medical practitioner in the last six (6) months
  • You're under 60 years of age
Get quote
DownunderYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Easy Travel InsuranceNo mentionGet quote
Fast CoverYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Go InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided:

  • It is controlled by no more than two (2) medications
  • You can walk 200 metres without becoming breathless
  • You have been a non-smoker for at least 18 months
Get quote
InsureandGoNo mentionGet quote
iTrekYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
MultiTrip Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
No Worries Travel InsuranceNo mentionGet quote
Simply Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Skiinsurance.com.auYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Southern CrossYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
STA Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Tick Travel InsuranceNo mentionGet quote
Travel Insurance DirectYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Are less than 60 years of age at the time of policy purchase
  • Have no other lung disease
Get quote
Travel Insurance Saver LogoYou're covered for asthma provided:

  • The condition has not required treatment by a medical practitioner in the last six (6) months
  • You're under 60 years of age
Get quote
Travel InsuranzYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have not been hospitalised for that condition in the past 24 months
  • Sought medical advice or treatment for them in the 14 days prior to the inception of this policy
Get quote
Virgin MoneyYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Woolworths Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
Worldcare Travel InsuranceYou're covered for asthma provided you:

  • Have no other lung disease
  • Are less than 60 years of age when the policy is issued
Get quote
youGoYou're covered for asthma provided:

  • The condition has not required treatment by a medical practitioner in the last six (6) months
  • You're under 60 years of age
Get quote

How do insurers define asthma?

Asthma is defined for insurance purposes as a chronic inflammatory disease. Asthma causes a narrowing of the airways and obstruction of airflow, which leaves the sufferer wheezing or gasping for air. Asthma attacks can vary from mild to severe and can be life-threatening when left untreated.

The symptoms and triggers that lead to asthma attacks varies from person to person. Triggers can include cold air, aerosol sprays, allergens, cold and flu viruses, exercise, dust mites, air pollution, certain foods, mould, pets, medications, smoking, stress and anxiety.

Most people use medications to prevent asthma attacks and relieve symptoms, such as inhalers, nebulisers and even steroids in extreme cases. Because each asthma sufferer experiences symptoms differently, insurers refrain from lumping all asthma sufferers together and instead review cover on a case-by-case basis.

Do I need to declare my condition?

Even though asthma is often automatically covered, you still need to declare your condition at the time of applying for travel insurance. Your insurer needs to know about all pre-existing medical conditions in order to have an accurate picture of your health and medical history.

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition that you are aware of and have sought treatment for, or are taking medication for, or have had surgery for in the past. You have a duty of disclosure to tell your insurer about such conditions, as they can influence the cost of your premium and the extent of cover provided. Failure to do so means your insurer can legally refuse any claim related to that condition that arises at a later date.

Asthma abroad

Jake had asthma as a child and had been hospitalised with several serious attacks. But the symptoms became less prevalent as he got older and he had not experienced any symptoms in the last few years. So when Jake applied for travel insurance to go to South America, he saw that asthma was covered automatically and didn’t bother to declare his previous condition to his insurer.

Unfortunately, when he got to South America, the pollen in the air triggered his childhood asthma and he ended up in hospital after suffering a serious attack. When he went to claim the very large hospital bill from his insurer, he found he wasn’t covered because he had failed to declare his asthma as a pre-existing medical condition.

Tips for travelling with asthma

Most people manage their asthma well, but travel can put additional pressures on you and take you out of your comfort zone. Here are some useful tips for travelling with asthma.

  • Ask your doctor for a letter describing your asthma and current medications in case you suffer an attack.
  • Make sure your travel insurance policy includes cover for asthma and that you have declared your condition to your insurer.
  • Take all the medication you will require with you and be sure to carry it in your hand luggage in its original packaging.
  • Research your destination to determine the allergens that may be in the air.
  • Avoid accommodation that looks unclean, as bedding often harbours dust mites.
  • Make sure your travel companions know you have asthma and know what to do if you have an attack.

Tips for getting ready to go on holiday

There’s plenty you can do before you depart to ensure that asthma doesn’t ruin your holiday. Keep the following tips in mind as your holiday approaches to ensure that your big trip goes off without a hitch.

In the months leading up to your holiday

  • Schedule a check-up with your GP. Now is the perfect time to review your condition, your asthma symptoms and whether your treatment plan is working.
  • Discuss your travel plans. Inform your GP of your travel plans and the irritants and allergens you may potentially be exposed to. Your GP may decide to alter your treatment plan to suit the conditions at your destination.
  • Get contact details. Find out what will be the best way to contact your doctor from overseas if needed.
  • Top up your prescription. Chat to your doctor to make sure you will have enough medication for your trip.
  • Plan your stay. You can also research the hotels where you are staying. For example, do they allow pets, which may cause your asthma to flare up? Can you request a room away from the chemicals prevalent in pool areas or car parks?
  • Gather your important documents. Get copies of your Asthma Action Plan and your doctor’s contact details. You’ll need a copy to carry with you and spares to keep in your suitcase or give to travelling companions.
  • Review your travel insurance. Check your travel insurance to make sure you have adequate coverage, and make sure you have copies of all the insurance info you need to lodge a claim during your trip.

In the week before you go

  • Get your medication together. Make sure you have all the necessary daily and emergency medication, as well as extra supplies if needed. Check and clean equipment such as nebulisers and peak flow meters.
  • Do your research. Research the locations of pharmacies and hospitals along your travel route so you can get help if you need it while on the road.

The day you leave

  • Pack with care. Make sure you have all your medications close to hand in your carry-on luggage. Packing sufficient food and water is also important in case of travel delays.
  • Do a final check. Do a final double check to make sure you have all the medication, supplies and travel insurance documents you need.

Exclusions: When won’t you be covered?

Exclusions are circumstances in which an insurer will not provide cover. In the case of a pre-existing asthmatic condition, no cover is usually provided if:

  • You are 60 years of age or older (depending on the insurer)
  • You have experienced recent, more serious asthma attacks
  • Your treatment or level of medication has recently been increased
  • You have been hospitalised or sought emergency treatment for asthma attacks in the past 24 months
  • You have another lung disease
  • You fail a medical assessment of your condition
  • You fail to declare your pre-existing asthmatic condition.

Compare travel insurance for asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that many people are forced to live with, but it can usually be managed and controlled with modern medicine. Thanks to realistic insurers, it shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the benefits of travel.

Compare travel insurance policies that cover asthma

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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