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Pre-existing medical conditions

Travelling abroad is an exciting experience but it means we’re less familiar with the health system. This can make a trip stressful, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, no matter how minor, it’s important to check with your Travel insurance provider to make sure you're still covered on holiday.

John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance answers your questions about pre-existing medical conditions and how they affect your Travel Insurance.

Q & A with John Brady

Q. What's your background and what experience do you have that makes you an expert on Travel Insurance?

A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five years have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for homes, cars, pets, weddings, events, and of course, travel. I love travelling and know how important it is to feel reassured that any potential problems are covered by Travel Insurance when you’re abroad.

Quotation MarksWhile most conditions are minor and may not affect your holiday cover, more serious conditions are not always covered by insurers.Quotation Marks

Q. What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A. A pre-existing medical condition is the symptoms, or diagnosis, of an illness or condition that you have received medical treatment for, or one that you're aware of.

Q. Will I be covered if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

A. We insure a wide range of pre-existing medical conditions although you will have to pay an amount for some.

If all the medical conditions you suffer from appear in the table below, you'll automatically be covered and you don’t have to declare your condition to us.

Achilles tendon injury
Anal fissure/fistula
Benign Prostatic Enlargement
Broken bone (not head or spine)
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Chicken pox
Colitis (no hospital admissions in the last 12 months)
Common cold/influenza
Corneal graft
Cosmetic surgery
Cuts and abrasions (non self-inflicted)
Cyst - testicular
Cyst - breast
Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
Dislocated hip (not replacement hip)

Essential tremor
Fungal nail infection
Gastric reflux
Glandular fever (not within 3 months of the planned trip)
Hay fever
Hernia (not hiatus)
Hip replacement
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Macular degeneration
Migraine (confirmed diagnosis, no ongoing investigations)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (if only symptom is fatigue)

Nasal polyps
Neuralgia, Neuritis
Nut allergy
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pregnancy (no complications)
Reflux oesophagitis
Retinal detachment
Shoulder injury
Sleep Apnoea
Tendon injury
Varicose veins - legs only (if GP has confirmed that client is fit to travel)

If any of your medical conditions don't appear on this list, you won't be covered and you'll need to give us details to see if we can provide cover. You can do this when you obtain a quote online or you can call us on 0800 953 2552.

Unless we've agreed to do so, we don't insure medical conditions that fall into the following categories:

  • Any cardiovascular condition (any condition relating to the heart, arteries, veins or blood pressure) that you've ever received treatment for
  • Any stroke that you've ever received treatment for
  • Any cancer that you've ever received treatment for
  • Any other medical condition you have or have had that you're taking prescribed medication for, or that you're waiting to receive or have received treatment for (including surgery, tests or investigations) within the last 2 years.

Under the cancellation and curtailment, emergency medical, hospital benefit or personal accident sections, you won't be covered for any claims that happen as a direct or indirect result of your pre-existing medical condition if:

  • Your prognosis is terminal
  • You're on a waiting list for, or you know you need, surgery, in-patient treatment or investigation at a hospital, clinic or nursing home
  • You're travelling against the advice of a Medical Practitioner
  • You're travelling with the intention of getting medical treatment (including surgery or investigations) or advice outside of the United Kingdom or within the Channel Islands

Q. I’m several weeks pregnant. Am I covered?

A. As long as you travel within the health requirements stipulated by the carrier, their handling agents or any other public transport provider, you'll be covered during your pregnancy.

However, please note that the Medical Expenses section covers emergency medical charges for bodily injury or illness and normal childbirth would not constitute a bodily injury or illness.

Q. Do I still need an EHIC card?

A. The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to free state-provided health care in all countries in the European Economic Area and Switzerland at a reduced cost or free. It is not an alternative to Travel Insurance. For more information on the EHIC card, visit or call
0845 606 2030.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

John Lewis Travel Insurance homepage

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