Travel insurance for people with heart conditions

Have a cardiac condition and planning a trip? Find out which travel insurance can cover you.

Some heart conditions are more serious than others. Nonetheless, many travel insurance brands consider them to be strong risk factors for travel and will exclude them from their automatic cover. However, there are still some insurers that will cover people with pre-existing heart conditions. Read on to find out more and compare insurers who may be able to provide you with the cover you need.

Which insurers consider pre-existing heart conditions?

*Brands that cover heart conditionsTerms and conditionsHow to discloseApply
Columbus Direct
  • Medical screening required
  • Subject to additional premium in some cases.
Phone assessment or online questionnaireGet Quote
CoverMore
  • Medical assessment required
  • Subject to increased premiums
Online questionnaireGet Quote
Easy Travel Insurance
  • Must submit Travellers Appraisal Form
  • Not available for Deposit Protection, Australian Cancellation or Additional Expenses travel plans
The Travellers Appraisal Form can be submitted with your application, which can be acquired from Easy Travel InsuranceGet Quote
InsureandGo
  • Medical screening and declaration required
  • No medical history involving the heart in the last five years unless you have told InsureandGo
Phone assessment or online questionnaireGet Quote
Travel Insurance Saver Logo
  • Must submit Travellers Appraisal Form
  • Not available for Deposit Protection, Australian Cancellation or Additional Expenses travel plans
The Travellers Appraisal Form can be submitted with your application, which can be acquired from Travel Insurance SaverGet Quote
Virgin Money
  • Medical assessment required
Phone assessment or online questionnaireGet Quote
youGo
  • Medical assessment required
  • Subject to increased premiums and decreased cover limits
Phone assessment or online questionnaireGet Quote
GoInsurance travel insurance
  • Medical Screening required
Get Quote
Simply Travel Insurance Logo
  • Medical assessment required
  • Subject to additional premium
Online questionnaireGet Quote
SCTI-star-logo
  • Medical assessment required
  • Subject to additional premium
Online questionnaireGet Quote
STA Travel Insurance
  • Medical assessment required
Phone assessment or online questionnaireGet Quote
1 cover logo
  • Medical assessment required
Get Quote
AIG Travel Insurance logo
  • Medical assessment required
  • Subject to additional premium
Phone assessment or online questionnaireGet Quote
Australia post logo
  • Medical assessment required
  • Subject to additional premium
Online questionnaireGet Quote

How can I get covered?

The following factors will determine whether you can get cover:

  • Understanding of what constitutes a heart condition. You need to understand what your insurer considers to be a heart condition.
  • Full disclosure. You need to make sure you meet the disclosure requirements of your insurer.
  • Understanding the fine print. You need to be aware of what insurers will cover and the specific conditions of the coverage.

What do insurers consider to be a heart condition?

A heart condition is basically any condition related to the heart that affects its operation or the blood vessels it connects with. A heart condition can affect the heart muscle, the valves, the heart’s rhythm or the blood vessels. Common heart conditions include the following:

  • Coronary heart disease. This is the build-up of plaque on the inside of the arteries, which slows the blood flow to the heart.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot in a deep vein of the body, usually your leg.
  • Atrial fibrillation. This is a type of arrhythmia, where the heart does not beat normally.
  • Familial hypercholesterolaemia. This is an inherited condition where the body is unable to remove enough cholesterol from the blood, often resulting in early onset of coronary heart disease.
  • Cardiomyopathy. This is a condition where the heart muscle becomes inflamed and enlarged, eventually stretching and weakening it.
  • Angina. This is chest pain caused by lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle.
  • Stent procedures and other prior operations. This includes, but is not limited to, operations involving the placement of a stent.

city overview with cathedral, buildings and bridge

Why do I need to declare my heart condition?

Travel insurers need to assess your premiums accurately

It is vital that you declare your heart condition when you take out a policy as it is considered a pre-existing condition. An insurer's aim is to provide you with cover for an agreed level of risk and without disclosure of a pre-existing heart condition, the provider is taking on extra risk that they did not agree to. After you declare certain conditions, insurers will assess whether they will cover you as well as decide on the appropriate premiums if they do agree to cover you.

Insurers can void your cover if you do not declare

Although it seems like a shortcut to lowering your premiums, if you don’t declare your heart condition to your insurer and you have an incident on your holiday that is related to the heart condition, then you will not be covered for any medical treatment or hospital expenses incurred because of it. If you're in a country such as Japan or America, where healthcare is extremely expensive, then you'll be facing a huge bill that you'll have to pay yourself.

Matt's $2400 Check-up

Having booked his long-awaited European holiday, Matt was counting down the days until he would depart on his dream getaway. A couple of days before his departure, Matt visited his doctor for a heart check-up after noticing an irregular heartbeat.

The condition was deemed non-life-threatening and although Matt was still awaiting test results, he headed off overseas without a care in the world. However, after a week in Amsterdam, Matt became hospitalised with hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure).

Although Matt was sure these expenses would be covered by his travel insurance, when he phoned his insurance company, he received a nasty shock. Since he had the check-up before his departure, he was classified as having a pre-existing condition which he did not tell his insurer about. The medical and hospital costs he incurred overseas were excluded from cover, leaving Matt severely out of pocket and completely broke.

Costs Matt faced

  • $2,000 in hospital stay expenses
  • $400 in medical treatment

Out-of-pocket costs

  • $2,400

Cover received from his travel insurance provider

  • $0

Reason

Matt did not disclose his heart condition once he found out about it.

This shows the importance of reading the fine print of an insurance policy's PDS to make sure you’re fully aware of what is and isn’t covered. It also acts as a crucial reminder of how vital it is that you notify your insurer of any changes to your circumstances—no matter how insignificant they may seem.

How do I declare pre-existing heart conditions?

Insurers offer different methods for you to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions and heart problems you may have. Depending on the insurer, you may have to do one or more of the following:

  • Undergo a phone assessment to answer questions about your health.
  • Fill out an online questionnaire.
  • Fill out and post or email a hard-copy form.
  • Undergo a face-to-face medical assessment.

Once you’ve provided all the relevant information concerning your health, your insurer will provide a written notice to let you know whether you will be offered cover. You’ll also be notified of any special conditions or exclusions that may apply to your policy and of any premiums you are required to pay before cover will take effect.

What questions will I be asked about my heart condition?

Typically, you'll be asked for the following information:

  • Medications you take to treat your heart condition
  • If you've changed your medication recently (eg, in the last 90 days)
  • If you've recently seen a medical practitioner (eg, in the last 90 days)
  • If you've recently been admitted or undergone treatment in a hospital (eg, in the last 12 months)
  • If you're currently awaiting a medical review or treatment

Travel tips for people with a heart condition

    • Planning makes perfect. You can still enjoy a wonderful, safe holiday if you have a heart condition. The key to a stress-free trip is to plan ahead. Make sure to consider all aspects of your condition and plan for each stage of the trip to make it run as smoothly as possible.
    • Choose wisely. Always keep your condition in mind when choosing your destination and the type of holiday you want to have. Relaxing in the shade on a tropical beach could be perfect, but trekking at high altitude could be a big mistake.
    • Take more than you need. If you’re on regular medication, prepare for the worst and take extra supplies with you in case your travel plans are interrupted.
    • Stretch it out. Make sure to stretch regularly on long flights to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
    • Get it in writing. Before you travel, ask your doctor to put together a letter detailing your condition, the treatment you have received and the medication you have been prescribed.
    • Tell your friends. Make sure that everyone travelling with you knows about your condition. It could save your life in an emergency situation.
    • Stay on track. Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you can take a break from your diet or your medication. Monitor what you eat and keep your fluids up at all times.
    • Take time to relax. With so much of the world to see and with so little time to see it, travel can be exhausting. Take time to sit back, relax and smell the roses every now and then.
    • Don’t forget insurance. If you’re travelling with a heart condition, travel insurance is essential. Take out a policy at the same time you book your holiday so that you can take advantage of cover if you need to amend your holiday plans.

man hiking on mountain

Important safety considerations when travelling with a heart condition

If you suffer from heart disease and decide to travel, make sure you are aware of the following:

How are specific heart conditions covered?

Am I covered for angioplasty or stents?

Angioplasty explainedAm I covered?
Angioplasty is a procedure to widen or restore narrowed or obstructed arteries and veins in your heart. It involves the inflation of a very small balloon inside the affected arteries and is a very common procedure in Australia. It’s deemed to be minimally invasive, but you’ll still need to declare that you have undergone angioplasty when applying for travel insurance cover.

If you’ve undergone angioplasty or had a stent fitted in your heart, insurers will class this as a pre-existing medical condition and you’ll have to inform the insurer about it when you take out a policy. You'll need to complete an assessment of your condition and provide the following information:

  • Reasons for the angioplasty procedure
  • How long ago was the procedure
  • Questions about your lifestyle and how you're looking after your heart

Am I covered for atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation explainedAm I covered?
Atrial fibrillation is an irregularity of the heart that causes it to beat abnormally fast. It can cause everything from palpitations to chest pains and fainting. If it is left untreated, it can cause serious complications. However, there are several treatment options available to help sufferers maintain a regular heartbeat.Some insurers will completely exclude atrial fibrillation. However, there are travel insurance brands that provide cover on a case-by-case basis. You'll need to complete a medical assessment so the insurer can better understand your situation.

Am I covered for cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy explainedAm I covered?
Cardiomyopathy affects approximately 1 in 500 Australians. There are several types of cardiomyopathy, the most common being a dilated or enlarged heart, which can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, fainting and even chest pains.The insurer assesses cardiomyopathy on a case-by-case basis when you apply for cover. You'll need to complete a medical assessment so the insurer can better understand your situation.

Am I covered for heart attacks?

Heart attacks explainedAm I covered?
A heart attack is when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is stopped. When the heart can't get oxygen and blood flow is not restored, the heart muscle will start to die.If you have suffered a heart attack, you can still get travel insurance cover. As with any pre-existing medical condition, you must declare it to your insurer at the time you take out the policy. Whether the insurer covers you and how much it costs will depend on the following factors:

  • Severity of the heart attack
  • Length of time since it occurred
  • What surgical measures have been taken to prevent it from recurring

If you do receive cover, you'll likely have to pay an extra premium and deal with special conditions, limitations and excesses on your policy

Do I need to disclose palpitations?

Heart palpitations explainedDisclosure
Heart palpitations make you feel like your heart is beating too fast or skipping a beat. In many cases, heart palpitations are not serious and will go away without any treatment, although they can be symptoms of other serious conditions (eg, atrial fibrillation).If you have sought treatment for heart palpitations but fail to disclose this to your insurance provider, insurers will consider your heart palpitations a pre-existing heart-related condition even though it may not seem serious. Any heart conditions that arise on your trip as a result of palpitations will not be covered without disclosure.

If you receive cover for any of these conditions

You may have to pay an extra premium or deal with special conditions, limitations and excesses on your policy.

Will my credit card travel insurance cover my heart condition?

Many high-end credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance. If you pay for your trip with your card, you will usually be able to enjoy some form of travel insurance cover when you begin your getaway.

While this free cover is undoubtedly a bonus, as a general rule, most credit card travel insurance policies will automatically exclude cover for pre-existing medical conditions, so chances are your heart problem won’t be covered. Credit card travel insurance is usually quite limited when compared with normal travel insurance, including much lower limits on cover for overseas medical expenses, so shopping around for standalone travel insurance is crucial.

How do other pre-existing conditions affect travel insurance?

Most pre-existing conditions can affect your travel insurance quite dramatically, costing you more for your premium and possibly even preventing you from obtaining cover. Most insurers have certain pre-existing medical conditions that they will cover in their policies, but these are usually the ones that are least serious or life threatening.

What pre-existing conditions are excluded?

Pre-existing medical conditions that are usually automatically excluded by insurers

These conditions are excluded by default, but there are specialist insurers who will insure these conditions, provided you go through the appropriate examinations and pay higher premiums for cover.

  • Cancer or secondary cancer
  • Conditions awaiting surgery or treatment
  • Conditions you knew about but failed to seek medical advice for
  • Conditions awaiting diagnosis or a specialist's opinion
  • Conditions for which you have been hospitalised in the past two years
  • Any previous condition needing spinal or brain surgery
  • Any condition causing seizures in the past year
  • Mental illness, including autism
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Any nervous condition such as dementia, depression, anxiety or stress
  • Any new deep vein thrombosis
  • Any heart or cardiovascular disease, including stroke, angina, previous heart surgery and heart attack
  • Chronic lung disease, such as emphysema or asthma, if the sufferer is over 60 years old.
  • Any recurring pain requiring regular medication or treatment

Conditions you cannot get cover for at all

These are conditions that will never be covered.

  • Any condition with a life expectancy of less than two years
  • Any condition requiring oxygen for the journey
  • Chronic renal failure requiring use of a dialysis machine
  • Diagnosed congestive heart failure
  • Any AIDS-defining condition associated with you being immunocompromised
  • Organ transplants

I have a pre-existing condition that's normally excluded from cover. What are my options?

If you have a condition that's usually excluded from cover, there may still be options for cover. There are insurers who will give consideration to conditions which others exclude, although they may charge a slightly higher premium, such as InsureandGo and AllClear.

Insurers also vary in terms of how invasive their screening procedures are. While many insurers require in-person medical assessments, others rely on over-the-phone or online assessments, such as Cover-More. These may be a good starting point for your inquiry into your cover options.

Most insurers will exclude you from cover if you've been advised against travel by your medical practitioner. It can be a good idea to have a note from your medical practitioner, confirming that you're fit to travel.

If all else fails, don't despair! Just because an insurer won't cover you for a particular condition doesn't mean they won't cover you for any non-related medical incidents that occur while you travel. So long as you're prepared to foot the bill for any complications arising from your known condition, you can still arrange cover for the unknown.

What about seniors travel insurance?

The older you are, the more travel insurance usually costs. The reason that insurance costs more as you get older is because you are at higher risk of illness and injury. Seniors are also more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions than younger travellers. The older you get, the more restrictions are imposed on your travel insurance and the higher the premiums you pay. As a general rule, the age restrictions work as follows:

  • Up to age 60. Able to purchase any travel insurance policy
  • 60 and over. Able to purchase any policy, but age loading may apply (more expensive premiums)
  • Up to age 75. Able to purchase a policy, but with reduced cover and benefits
  • Up to age 80. Able to purchase a policy, but with even greater restrictions (ie, no cover for pre-existing conditions)
  • 80 and over. May require a medical declaration to purchase a policy with reduced benefits.

Learn more about seniors travel insurance

Frequently asked questions about insurance for heart conditions

I'm ready to compare travel insurance for heart conditions

Compare travel insurance policies that cover heart conditions

*Information accurate as of August 2015. Subject to change

Picture: colette_kent, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Laycock

Richard is the insurance editor at finder.com.au. He is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LynnJuly 13, 2017

    My son is 34 years old and had valve cleaned blood infection MRSA. The doctor from the cardio clinic said he is fine to travel. Do I have to pay more insurance and how much more extra would it be?

    • Staff
      RenchJuly 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for reaching out to us.

      There are some insurers that will cover people with heart conditions. You’re actually on the correct page on where you can compare your options and where you can get a quote.

      Insurers offer different methods for you to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions and heart problems you may have. Depending on the insurer, you may have to do one or more of the following:

      - Undergo a phone assessment to answer questions about your health.
      - Fill out an online questionnaire.
      - Fill out and post or email a hard-copy form.
      - Undergo a face-to-face medical assessment.

      Once you’ve provided all the relevant information concerning your health, your insurer will provide a written notice to let you know whether you will be offered cover. You’ll also be notified of any special conditions or exclusions that may apply to your policy and of any premiums you are required to pay before cover will take effect.

      On the table above, you may click on your preferred insurance to see more details then you may click on the green ‘Get Quote’ button to request a quote from them.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  2. Default Gravatar
    RoseFebruary 10, 2017

    My 78 year old husband has a gallstone diagnosed 1 year ago but not blocking bile duct so would he be covered if taking a cruise to a pacific Islands. Thanks

    • Staff
      ZubairFebruary 14, 2017Staff

      Hi Rose,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we are not able to recommend a specific provider that will provide cover for your husband’s condition. Your husband will need to disclose the pre-existing condition prior to purchase the cover. There are two providers in our panel that can count all the pre-existing medical conditions:

      - InsureandGo do not automatically exclude any conditions and claim to assess all conditions on a case-by-case basis.
      - CoverMore may be able to cover you for an additional premium, subject to the outcome of a short medical assessment.

      You may find our travel insurance for gallstone article helpful.

      Cheers,

      Zubair

  3. Default Gravatar
    JeffAugust 12, 2016

    I have had angioplasty 9 years ago and Covermore will cover this pre existing condition for Europe and Japan but not the USA.
    Will any insurer cover this pre existing heart condition for the USA

    • Staff
      RichardAugust 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer, and we are not permitted to provide personalised advice.

      Whether or not a travel insurance brand will provide cover for a pre-existing condition can vary from person to person. InsureandGo and COver-More are two travel insurance brands that have traditionally been more accepting when it comes to pre-existing conditions, as InsureandGo claim to consider all conditions and CoverMore assess medical conditions prior to issuing travel insurance.

      These are just two providers from our panel that may be able to help and there may be other insures out there who are suitable to your needs.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  4. Default Gravatar
    DeeJuly 9, 2015

    I was recently diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy & have an implanted defibrillator – do you offer a policy for this condition?

    • Staff
      RichardJuly 10, 2015Staff

      Hi Dee,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer, and we are not permitted to provide personalised advice.

      Whether or not you can take out cover will depend on the insurer. However, InsureandGo claim to consider all conditions. CoverMore may also be able to help as they assess medical conditions prior to issuing travel insurance.

      These are just two providers from our panel that may be able to help and there may be other insures out there who are suitable to your needs.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  5. Default Gravatar
    joApril 14, 2015

    what if whilst i’m travelling overseas I decide to have a medical procedure done and it’s not an emergency. Would travel insurance cover it?

    Thanks.

    • Staff
      RichardApril 14, 2015Staff

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, travel insurance does not cover medical procedures that are not emergencies.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

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