My wife and I have several medical conditions, which when combined push the price of travel insurance right up.

I understand that if we go for a cheaper travel insurance policy, without declaring our medical conditions - and a situation arises while we're on holiday related to those medical conditions, then the insurer will naturally say that since we did not declare them, we would not be covered. I totally get that.

However my question is - what if we choose to omit our medical conditions, but then something happens completely unrelated to our health? For example, the cruise is cancelled (and they do not refund us directly). Or our luggage gets stolen. The point is, would the failure to declare medical conditions invalidate the WHOLE policy; or just those parts which wouild come into force if the claim was a medical one?

Additional: We do not foresee ANY problems arising due to our medical conditions. They are well under control. Also, we live in the UK, so medical bills for us are not an issue. I appreciate that when travelling this may not always be the case - but really, thank you for the answer so far. I have never heard of "Cancellation insurance". I just looked it up: however all results I have found so far refer to cancellation as part of the whole insurance package. I can not find any specific "Cancellation insurance" which excludes medical declarations.

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    Do the travel insurance companies sell insurance without a medical part? (That is/was quite common where I live, mostly for people who have a very good private medical insurance.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 17:44
  • Have you asked any travel insurance companies? They may put terms on the policy that they won't cover certain things (if you request it). I would always err on the side of declaring anything/everything and then asking them to adjust around those
    – Midavalo
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 17:55
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    This may be jurisdiction dependent. Under Chinese law for example, the non-disclosure only voids the contract if the non-disclosed facts are material to the insured risk.
    – xngtng
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 17:55
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    Are you sure it's wise to go without medical insurance in your case? Presumably,the reason behind your conditions making insurance expensive is that they might require urgent expensive treatment. Given that medical providers may well want to see cash up front when faced with an uninsured foreigner,this would only make sense if you had lots and lots of liquid reserves,but in that case you wouldn't need any insurance at all.
    – TooTea
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 19:20
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    Even if your medical conditions are under control by the NHS, you should bear in mind that 1. I'm skeptical the NHS will pay for local healthcare (outside the UK), and 2. Medical evacuation, even without the cost of treatment, can be very expensive in its own right. Putting those two problems together, you might find yourself unable to access necessary medical care, even if the NHS would have covered it at home.
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


The product you are looking for is called Cancellation Insurance. A typical product covers you in the case that you have to cancel a trip due to unforeseen circumstances, or for something like luggage theft. Medical issues would be a valid reason for cancellation. But the payout for cancellation is limited to the value of the trip. It will not cover any medical expenses.

For this reason it is usually possible to find a policy that will cover you for cancellations without asking too many medical questions. I've done this in the past, and received a refund when I had to cancel due to an illness in the family. Even if they do ask you about your medical history I would not expect a serious price increase, because the insurer's liability is limited to the cost of the trip.

Having answered the question I do have to tell you that I very, very strongly recommend you not to take a trip if you do not have medical insurance coverage. If you can't afford the medical insurance, stay home. The cost of a serious illness while abroad can easily bankrupt you. Having to sell your house to pay medical bills is a very bad way to end a trip. Also many countries and many companies will require you to have medical insurance.

In answer to your other question, if you lied on an insurance application form then the insurance company are going to argue that this invalidates the entire insurance, whether or not the claim is related to illness. A doctor friend of mine says he routinely gets requests for complete details of his patients medical records from doctors treating his patients overseas, and that this is almost always because the insurance company paying for the treatment is looking for reasons to deny an insurance claim, by finding some condition they did not declare, whether it is relevant to the claim reason or not. Googling will turn you up a big list of horror stories where this has happened.

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    Why is a doctor allowed to disclose full details of medical history to third parties? Even any details? Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 20:56
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    Because the person asking is a doctor who is treating the patient. The fact that they are also working for the insurance company is beside the point. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 21:11
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    What, when their luggage was stolen? Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 21:13
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    You may get away with it if there isn't a doctor involved in the claim. I would be be very nervous if the phrase "you may get away with it" ever features in your medical treatment plan. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 21:15

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