Blog: Travel insurance for children with a brain tumour

Wednesday 1 August 2018

As part of our series on 'Family Life in the Holidays', a specialist travel insurance provider has answered some questions from parents of a child with a brain tumour.

Mary Holt from Free Spirit, has almost two decades of experience helping people with medical conditions navigate the complex insurance market and finding solutions to a wide range of specific needs.

General questions

What do I need to consider before applying for travel insurance – what information will I need to tell the company?

You will need to tell them:

  • where you are travelling to
  • dates you are travelling
  • are the treating doctors happy for you to travel to your picked destinations?
  • if you wish them to do any activities whilst away, would the GP approve?

Does my child need their medical team's permission to go on holiday, and does this impact travel insurance?

Yes, and it must be confirmed that they are fit to travel at time of calling for a quote. (So if you call today, but your child will not be fit to travel till September, most insurers will not quote, as it is all material facts of the day that they are interested in.)

When is the best time to get travel insurance for children who can get ill very quickly?

To ensure you are covered for cancellation if you are unable to travel due to the child becoming unwell, you should buy the insurance as soon as you have booked the trip.

Will the destination determine whether I can get cover?

Yes, for example, if you are travelling to the USA the premiums will be higher, as medical costs are very high in these areas, or you may not be able to obtain cover.

How much of my child’s medical history do I need to disclose when taking out travel insurance?

All insurance companies have medical warranties attached to them. Some will want to know the full medical history, some will ask in the last five years or last two years.

When asked for the 'meaning' of 'hospital visits' - do regular blood checks and monitoring count?

Insurers all look at this in different ways, some will count every visit, others will count checkups. Most specialised insurers would only count check-ups.

Can I get travel insurance for my child when travelling for a clinical trial?

No, most insurers will not cover if it is a clinical trial.

Questions around specific tumours or treatments

We are going to America for proton beam therapy. Will travel insurance firms provide cover for people with adrenal insufficiency?

Most insurers will not cover anyone who is travelling for treatment. Some specialised companies will cover, but exclude the treatment and the condition that the treatment is for.

Do you need specialist insurance to take a child with a low grade tumour with no symptoms, but a VP shunt, to Spain on holiday?

Yes, to get cover you would have to go through a specialised travel insurance company.

Where do you find holiday insurance to go to Disneyland Paris while your child is still undergoing chemo?

Specialised travel insurance companies would be able to help. There is a list of companies at the bottom of this page.

How do they make their decisions for teenagers flying independently with slow-growing, low grade tumours?

How do the actuaries make their decisions for teenagers flying independently, especially for a long-term, slow-growing, low grade tumour which has been present since birth? Do they also take into account the adjuvant treatments such as growth hormone and cortisol replacement?

This is something that would have to be declared on a travel insurance application to obtain the cover you need. The insurers take into consideration:

  • the way the questions are answered on the application
  • the treatment
  • that he is fit to travel at the time of requesting a quote
  • where he is travelling to
  • the duration of the trip

We have more information about travel on our travel and brain tumours webpage and factsheet.

At The Brain Tumour Charity we do not recommend, and have not vetted, individual travel insurance companies. However, from feedback gathered from those who have been affected by a brain tumour, we have produced the following list of companies who may be able to help:

If you have further questions, please contact the Children and Families Team on 0808 800 0004 or childrenandfamilies@thebraintumourcharity.org