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Travel insurance for cystic fibrosis

Can I get travel insurance for cystic fibrosis?

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Cystic fibrosis is a condition that mostly affects the lungs and digestive system. Sufferers face several challenges living with the condition from one day to the next, and if you’re looking to organise travel insurance for your next holiday, finding an insurer who is willing to cover cystic fibrosis may be difficult.

However, it is possible to take out travel insurance if you have cystic fibrosis – to do so, you’ll need to apply to your insurer well in advance of your scheduled departure to obtain cover for your pre-existing condition. There are a number of other restrictions you should be aware of and conditions you may have to satisfy, so read on to discover the ins and outs of getting travel insurance for cystic fibrosis.

Get quotes for travel insurance that considers all pre-existing conditions

How do insurers define the condition?

One in every 2,500 babies born in Australia has cystic fibrosis, and the condition requires medical treatment and physiotherapy from birth. Cystic fibrosis causes a large amount of thick mucus to develop within the lungs and digestive system, but the type and severity of symptoms can vary substantially from one person to the next.

If you suffer from cystic fibrosis, travel insurers class it as a high-risk pre-existing medical condition in the chronic lung disease category. Some insurers will automatically exclude it from cover altogether, which means that although you may still be able to take out a policy, they won’t cover you for any losses resulting from your condition. Other providers will provide cover for cystic fibrosis on a case-by-case basis, so you will usually need to apply to the insurer in advance of your holiday to see if you can receive cover.

Travel insurance brandsTerms and conditionsHow to discloseApply
1Cover Logo


  • Medical assessment required
Phone assessment or online questionnaires
travel insurance saver logo

Travel Insurance Saver

  • Cystic fibrosis is recognised as a high-risk existing medical condition. If you are applying for an international or annual multi-trip policy, you must declare if you or any of your travelling party suffer from cystic fibrosis
Travellers appraisal form can be submitted with application

Virgin Money

  • Medical assessment required
  • Not available on basics or essentials plan
  • Subject to increased premiums and decreased cover limits
Phone assessment or online questionnaires
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Do I need to declare my condition?

When applying for travel insurance, you have a responsibility to disclose details of any pre-existing medical conditions you suffer from to the insurer. Failing to do so could lead to any future claims being rejected and your policy cancelled, so it’s essential to lay your cards on the table right from the start.

As mentioned, cystic fibrosis is not usually included in an insurer’s list of automatically covered pre-existing conditions. Instead, it will either be excluded from cover or you will need to specifically apply to have it included in cover. You will need to provide medical information from your cystic fibrosis specialist as part of your application.

Example: Kristina fails to disclose her condition

Kristina suffers from a relatively mild form of cystic fibrosis that, most of the time, has a minimal impact on her everyday life. Rather than go through the hassle of hunting around for travel insurance cover for her condition, she decides to keep her condition hidden from the insurance provider.

Unfortunately, while Kristina is in the French Alps, just 1 week into her 3-week European getaway, her cystic fibrosis flares up dramatically and she is hospitalised for almost a week. But because cover for cystic fibrosis is not included in her travel insurance, Kristina must cover thousands of dollars of medical bills herself. In addition, with her health so poor that she must abandon the rest of her holiday, her insurer refuses to cover her cancellation fees, lost pre-paid deposits or the additional travel expenses she incurs to return home.

At the end of the ordeal, Kristina is left more than $10,000 out of pocket, and all because she was worried about the annoyance of spending a little more time finding the right travel insurance policy.

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

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How do I disclose my medical condition?

Each insurance provider will have its own process you will need to go through when you want to disclose your pre-existing medical condition. You will usually need to fill out a personal health statement (or answer questions over the phone) relating to your cystic fibrosis. You may need to provide details about the medications you take, whether you’ve been hospitalised in the past year, whether you can walk a certain distance before becoming short of breath and whether your cystic fibrosis has led to other medical complications.

In most cases, you will also need to get your cystic fibrosis specialist to provide information about the current state of your health and your medical history. Depending on the insurer and the severity of your condition, you may also need to undergo additional medical testing.

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Tips for travelling with cystic fibrosis

  • Apply for travel insurance in advance. Getting cover for pre-existing conditions takes time and there is always the risk that you will be rejected, so start applying for insurance at least 3 months before your holiday.
  • Apply at the same time. As you’ll need to tell an insurer whether you’ve previously had an application for pre-existing condition cover rejected, it’s a good idea to apply to multiple insurers at the same time.
  • Medications. You’ll need to take sufficient medications with you to last the duration of your trip, so discuss your requirements with your cystic fibrosis specialist. Packing an extra 2 weeks’ worth of supplies is recommended. You should also be aware that some medications cannot be imported into certain countries, and make sure to familiarise yourself with the restrictions regarding what you can and cannot take as carry-on baggage on an international flight.
  • Oxygen. Chat to your cystic fibrosis specialist about whether the slightly reduced amount of oxygen in an aeroplane cabin could impact your condition. If you need to take oxygen with you for the flight, you’ll need a prescription and medical certificate from your doctor.
  • Immunisations. Contact your doctor several months before your holiday is due to begin for information about the necessary vaccinations and immunisations for your destination.
  • Know your destination. Consider the climate, terrain, altitude and specific health risks of your destination before you travel. Researching other issues such as wheelchair accessibility may also be a useful step.
  • Adapters. Check the power supply in your destination and determine whether you will need to take any adapters so you can plug in your medical equipment.
  • Essential contacts. Having the contact details of cystic fibrosis associations in your destination countries can make it easier to find assistance if your condition flares up while you are on holiday.
  • Travel insurance. Last but not least, travel insurance is essential for your journey. Don’t go overseas without it.
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Exclusions – when won’t you be covered?

Your claim will not be paid in the following situations:

  • Your insurer excludes cystic fibrosis from cover
  • Your condition was deemed to be too risky to cover by your insurer
  • You were aware before your departure that your journey might be cancelled or disrupted due to your condition

In some cases, you may also find that it is only possible to obtain cover for a short-term trip, as an insurer may decide that it is too risky to cover you for a longer journey.

Cystic fibrosis is an exhausting and challenging condition, but don’t let it stop you from getting out to explore the world. It is possible to get the travel insurance you need in many cases, so start shopping around for cover today.
Picture: Shutterstock

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