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Travel insurance and diabetes

How is diabetes covered by travel insurance brands?

What you need to know

  • All types of diabetes can be covered under travel insurance.
  • You will need to declare diabetes as a pre-existing medical condition to ensure you are covered.
  • All Aussie travel insurance companies will provide cover, but it may depend on your condition.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes refers to a group of chronic conditions that affect your ability to use insulin to control sugar in your blood. Some types of diabetes affect the ability to create insulin, others make you insulin resistant. In both cases, people with diabetes end up having to be super careful about what they eat, when they eat it, the impact it has on their blood sugar and whether they need extra insulin.

Estimates vary, but between 55 and 10% of Australian population is estimated to have diabetes . In the US, around 9.3% of population is estimated to have diabetes.

The main types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. Your body attacks the beta cells in your pancreas that produce insulin, so you don't have enough.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body has become insulin resistant, typically due to genetic or long-term lifestyle factors.

Gestational diabetes is a condition affecting pregnant women. Basically, hormones can increase your insulin resistance.

Type 3 and 3c diabetes are rarer types of diabetes. Type 3 is insulin resistence in the brain, typically associated with Alzheimer's disease. Type 3c is a result of trauma to the pancreas, reducing your ability to create insulin.

Travelling with diabetes

All 3 major types of diabetes will need you to be really careful about what you eat, so that you don't spike or crash your blood sugar. Severe hyerperglycemia, which is where your blood sugar gets way too high, is really serious, and can require an urgent hospital visit.

Traveling with diabetes, as a result, is a tricky thing. Diabetics are already 'always-on' with regard to watching what they eat and drink, and that become even harder when you're traveling. Real-time blood sugar monitors are of course extremely useful, but they don't solve the problem.

Travel insurance and diabetes

The good news is, travel insurance will cover diabetes related claims. However, it is considered to be a pre-existing condition, so you need to declare it with your insurance provider ahead of time. Diabetes is one of the most common pre-existing conditions in countries like Australia, up there with mental health and asthma, so all major Aussie travel insurers have systems in place.

There are some conditions, however. Many companies will only insure people who:

  • Were diagnosed at least a year ago
  • Haven't and any complications for the last year
  • Haven't got any eye, kidney, nerve or vascular complications
  • Haven't got any known cardiovascular diseases
  • Are younger than 50

Diabetes travel insurance case study: Michelle Vodden

Michelle Vodden - Diabetic

Michelle's close call in the USA

When I went to the USA I took about 4 or 5 insulin pens with me. Insulin is crazy expensive over there, so I didn't want to be left hanging. But then, I left them in the hotel fridge! It was a hassle, but I had to go back and get it. I didn't put much thought into travel insurance. I just used the one on my credit card, so we wouldn't have been covered.
— Michelle Vodden, Finder crew member with type 3c diabetes.

Because Michelle just got the travel insurance on her credit card, she didn't have the chance to declare her pre-existing condition. With a standalone policy, she could have declared her diabetes and been covered for lost insulin, along with any emergency medical care, which would have cost a pretty penny in the USA!

Will diabetes increase the cost of travel insurance

Unfortunately, a pre-existing condition will probably increase the cost of your travel insurance premiums. This is because a person with diabetes is more likely than a person without diabetes to make a claim. Luckily, the difference isn't too big. Here's a sample quote from a few leading insurers for a 40 year old spending a week in Bali.

Insurance fundBase pricePrice with diabetes cover% difference
Southern Cross Travel Insurance$60.68$70.6816.48%
Insurance and Go$99.48$99.480.00%
ahm travel insurance$80$800.00%

*The quotes shown on the table were last updated in December 2023.

As you can see, some travel insurance providers won't add any loading for uncomplicated conditions. Our example here was Type 1 diabetes with no additional complications. Your quotes will vary, but it always pays to shop around. You can use the Finder travel insurance comparison tool below to get started.

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Frequently asked questions

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    RenateAugust 26, 2018

    Thank you for your reply. Can you help me with further information? I will be staying in the US for 12 months, maybe 18 months and l am looking for cover for my type 1 diabetes.

      JeniAugust 27, 2018Finder

      Hi Renate,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      On this page, you will see a table that has the list of insurers covering type 1 diabetes. Most insurers will automatically cover a traveller for both types of diabetes – 1 and 2, but will usually have different conditions depending on the insurer and the type of diabetes.

      My best recommendation is to compare each brand’s conditions then once you have selected which would cover you for your US trip, click on the “Get quote” button to be redirected to the insurer’s official page for further information e.g. covering you for more than a year or call them directly for further assistance.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


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