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What is medical screening and why do I have to go through it?

Medical screening provides the insurer with all the relevant facts to make a decision on whether they can offer travel insurance.

It is used to calculate a risk score, which is determined from the questions you answer during medical screening. There will be a score for each of your medical conditions. The total score may also be affected by where you are travelling to. This is then used by the insurer to determine whether they will cover you and on what terms.

All of this may sound daunting. However, you will just need to answer a series of multiple-choice questions that takes a few minutes. Some of them might seem personal, but your answers are completely confidential. It is very important that you answer the questions as accurately as you can to ensure that you are covered. If you do not answer the questions, correctly, it may affect any claim.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week

Why cervical screening is so important

I was surprised to learn that there are around 5 million women in the UK that are invited to attend a cervical screening, more commonly known as a smear test and yet 20% of these women don’t attend their screening appointment – that is 20% too many!

Cervical screening is an important test which takes samples from the cervix to detect abnormalities within the cells, that may go on to develop into cancer or that may have already done so. Screening will also detect human papillomavirus (HPV) and the more persistent strains of this virus the more chance of it causing cervical cancer. HPV is prevalent in sexually active adults and four out of five will at some stage of their life come into contact with it.
According to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust there are as many as 3,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year. It is estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing. Screening is provided free of charge by the NHS and not attending your appointment is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.

Causes of cervical cancer

As with most cancers, smoking can pose an increased risk as it causes abnormalities in the cells of the cervix.

Other risk factors could be:

  • Having children at a very young age
  • Giving birth to too many children
  • A weakened immune system
  • If your mother was given infertility drugs whilst being pregnant
  • Long term use of the contraceptive pill (more than 10 years) can slightly increase the risk

It is a myth that it is caused by promiscuity or infidelity, however the more sexual partners you have and the younger you are when you have your first sexual encounter, the more likely you are to come into contact with the more serious strains of HPV.

How many of you over the age of twenty can say you are one of the 20% that have ignored an invitation to attend a screening or made an appointment, then cancelled it at the last moment because of the fear of the unknown, or anxiety from previous experiences. I know that in my younger years and prior to me having my daughter, I didn’t miss any appointment however, this was no easy feat.

I think most women will admit that it is not a pleasant experience. Yes it can be uncomfortable, un- dignified and daunting especially if you are young, not yet had babies or do not like to going to the doctors, I can empathise with you as I used to feel the same way. However, since being pregnant with my daughter and the process of labour and giving birth, my thoughts have changed considerably.

If you can arrange an appointment with the practice nurse or a female doctor that will help with your anxieties and I can imagine it is not pleasant for them either. I find the topic of conversation is not about the procedure but anything else that comes to mind. I remember the last time I was rambling on about the length of the queue in the supermarket and how much the cost of food has gone up by and guess what; before I knew it the deed had been done.

I still find it incredible to believe that one million women cannot find 15 minutes out of one day, once every 3 or 5 years depending on where you live, to have such an important test and remember this is a test provided free by the NHS, there is no charge and could save your life.

I would hope the media coverage and the very public viewing of Jade Goody’s battle with cervical cancer, has made a lot of women sit up and take note of how serious this cancer is and yet with early detection and a screening reliability rate of 80-90%, cervical cancer can be prevented in 60-80% of cases. This is the same as 7 out of 10 women being prevented from developing cancer of the cervix.

You may be interested to hear that 2% of cancers diagnosed in women are cervical cancers and it is the most common cancer in women under 35 years old and despite this, it is this age group that appears to avoid the screening test.

Cervical screening in summary

  • An abnormal screening rarely means cancer
  • Between 90-94% of all screening results are negative
  • Regular screening offers the best form of protection
  • It is free, but make sure your GP has your current contact details
  • Screening saves 5000 lives a year
  • Ask a friend or family member to go with you for support, rather than not go at all

My health is important to me more than ever now I have a family, but then again why wasn’t it before? I can say that if I was to develop cervical cancer it wouldn’t be from not attending my routine cervical screening or from any of the risk factors above, but for other reasons. Can you say the same?

Twisted bowel travel insurance

Twisted bowel travel insurance

As the name suggests, a twisted bowel is a loop, overlap or twist in the small or large intestine that causes a bowel obstruction. A blockage can cause pain, tenderness and nausea as well as a fever, vomiting and malnutrition in some cases. A twisted bowel is also known as a volvulus, and without treatment, it can prevent blood flow to the intestines and require emergency surgery to rectify.

It’s not always obvious what causes a twisted bowel, but some of the ways it can occur include:

  • Intense activity in the gut, such as through laxative use or eating a very high amount of fibre.
  • Over-eating.
  • A complication of an inflammatory bowel condition like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.

If you’ve had a twisted bowel, you may have had surgery to fix the problem, or you may have been prescribed medication and/or advised to make changes to your lifestyle to help the twist correct itself. There should be no reason why you can’t travel overseas, as long as your doctor agrees, but don’t forget to arrange travel insurance that covers your condition.

Specialist travel insurance for twisted bowel

Any pre-existing health condition that continues to affect your lifestyle makes travel insurance an absolute must. It’s important to let your travel insurance company know that you have had a twisted bowel – as well as any other conditions you have so that your cover provides for you should you need it. Overseas medical care can be very expensive, but proper travel insurance can protect you from the costs in the event of your condition affecting your health while you are away.

Sadly, many standard travel insurance providers may refuse to offer cover to people with existing health conditions, but that’s why Free Spirit was created. Our specialist travel insurance is specifically designed for people of any age who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as a twisted bowel, so you are far more likely to find cover that meets your needs.

We can provide specialist travel insurance policy that covers twisted bowel, and any associated conditions you may also have, to ensure you can access the right medical care in your destination of choice. There are so many other benefits too, from cancellation cover and protection against damage, theft or loss of your medication, medical aids and travel documents, to repatriation if medically necessary, and cover for unplanned transport costs to get you back home if you cannot travel as planned*.

Our medical travel insurance can be adapted to cover your friends and family travelling with you too, even if they don’t have any existing health conditions. This is especially valuable when it comes to our cancellation cover; it ensures your whole travelling party is saved the expense of unused accommodation and/or flights, in the event that a change in your health prevents the trip from going ahead.

*Cover is subject to the terms, conditions and limits of the Insurance Policy.

twisted bowel travel insurance

How can I get travel insurance for a twisted bowel?

We aim to make it as straightforward as possible to arrange twisted bowel travel insurance with us. So long as you are not currently awaiting surgery, are having inpatient treatment, waiting for tests or test results and your doctor has no objections to you travelling, we should be able to offer cover for a twisted bowel based on a short medical screening process.

As part of our medical screening process, we will need to ask you about your condition and how it affects you. The exact questions we ask will vary depending on your personal circumstances, but it’s likely we will ask the following:

  • How many episodes of bowel obstruction have you had in the last five years?
  • How long ago was the most recent episode of bowel obstruction?

Having this information helps us to arrange travel insurance to cover your unique condition and health needs.

If you would like a quote for twisted bowel travel cover, please call our UK-based travel insurance specialists on 0800 170 7704. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays). You can also apply online, although please note that there may be occasions when we need to speak to you before we can offer a quote. If this is the case, we’ll ask you to give us a call.

Travelling after having had a twisted bowel

Looking after yourself and your health after having had a twisted bowel is crucial, and while it shouldn’t stop you taking a holiday, a little preparation can ensure it’s the relaxing break you’re after.

Start by talking to your doctor to make sure they are happy with your travel plans, particularly if you will be flying, and preferably before you book anything. They will also make you aware of anything else you might need to think about, such as extra medication to cover your time away, or a doctor’s letter with information about your prescriptions. Depending on where you will be going, you may need to have this with you when you travel, as certain medications are regulated in some countries.

You can also get in touch with our resident medical travel insurance expert, Mary Holt. She has over 20 years’ experience with Free Spirit, and you can ask her a question directly.

Apply online today to get a free quote for your travel insurance with a twisted bowel. If you prefer to discuss your needs, call our UK based specialist travel insurance experts on 0800 170 7704. Our team is available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Perforated bowel

Perforated bowel travel insurance

A perforated bowel, also known as a gastrointestinal perforation, is a hole or tear in the lower part of the digestive system, including the stomach and the small or large intestine. It is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical treatment. In most cases it will need surgery to repair the perforation.

A hole or tear in the bowel can occur for many different reasons, such as:

If it’s not treated as soon as possible a perforated bowel can be very dangerous, potentially leading to peritonitis (an infection of the stomach’s inner lining), which in turn can lead to sepsis (an infection affecting the whole body).

Treatment for a perforated bowel can involve a long period of recuperation but, as long as your doctor says there is no reason why you cannot take a holiday, it needn’t stop you heading off on a much-needed break. Like many long-term health conditions, having and recovering from a perforated bowel can mean making lifestyle adjustments, but with the right medical travel insurance and healthcare provisions in place, overseas travel needn’t be out of reach.

Why do I need specialist travel insurance for a perforated bowel?

While having had a perforated bowel doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a trip away, it does mean that you must prioritise your health even more than normal. Travel insurance should be an essential pre-holiday measure for everyone, but it’s especially important for those who have existing medical conditions or have had a condition that can affect them in the long-term, such as a bowel perforation.

What’s more, if your perforated bowel was caused by having another pre-existing health issue, like Crohn’s or a stomach ulcer, it’s vital that your travel insurance covers both conditions.

A specialist travel insurance policy is there to protect you from the very high costs of overseas medical care, and to ensure you can access emergency and non-emergency healthcare if you need it while you’re overseas. Many standard travel insurance providers may exclude people who have existing medical conditions, but a specialist provider like Free Spirit aims to offer cover to as many travellers as possible. We’re proud to provide travel insurance to people of any age with almost any disability and/or medical condition, including a perforated bowel.

Should your health deteriorate once you’ve booked your trip and you cannot travel as planned, we can make sure you don’t lose out on travel and accommodation expenses you’ve already accrued, and do the same for your friends and family, provided they are also named on your policy.

Not only can we cover you for any medical care you need in relation to your bowel perforation (and any associated conditions you may have), we can help to ensure a stress-free holiday for you and your travelling companions. Our specialist travel insurance includes repatriation cover, protection against loss or damage to your medical aids, medications and travel documentation, and personal accident cover*.

*Cover is subject to the terms, conditions and limits of the Insurance Policy.

Arranging travel insurance for a perforated bowel

Securing perforated bowel travel insurance with us is simple. Provided that your doctor is happy for you to travel, you are not on a waiting list for surgery, are having inpatient treatment or are waiting for tests or test results, we are able to offer cover for a perforated bowel, subject to medical screening.

To give you a travel insurance quote that’s as tailored to your personal circumstances as possible, we will need some information about your health. In particular, we will need to ask you whether your bowel perforation was caused by another condition, such as Crohn’s.

Our friendly, UK-based team is just a phone call away from Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays), please don’t hesitate to call on 0800 170 7704. Or, if you’d rather apply online, you can use our online medical screening system, available anytime day or night. It’s quick and easy to use, although please note that in some cases, we may need to speak to you before we can offer a quote. If so, we’ll ask you to call us.

Tips for travelling after having a perforated bowel

As with any long-term medical condition, if you have had a perforated bowel you should take time to prepare for your trip and take all necessary measures to safeguard your health.

Your doctor will be able to help you with this, as well as confirming whether or not you are fit to travel. They will be able to prescribe extra medication should you need it, and provide you with a letter detailing your stoma (if necessary) and prescriptions if you will be travelling by air. Some countries have restrictions on certain medications, so it’s worth checking whether yours are permitted before you depart for your destination. Speak to your doctor in plenty of time ahead of your departure date, ideally 6-8 weeks in advance, so that you have time to make any extra arrangements.

If you will be flying and you have a stoma as a result of surgery for a perforated bowel, be aware that it might balloon slightly once you’re airborne. This is nothing to worry about, and you should be able to drain the air yourself when you go to the bathroom. If your destination is very warm, or if you will be swimming, you might find that your pouch is less adhesive, so you might have to change it more often than you’re used to. Be sure to apply sun cream after your barrier is in place, as lotion can also make adhesion tricky. There’s more information on travelling with a stoma on the Coloplast website.

For anything that you are unsure of, ask Mary, our Medical travel insurance expert with over 20 years’ experience, by messaging her directly.

Apply online today to get a free quote for your travel insurance with a perforated bowel. If you prefer to discuss your needs, call our UK based specialist travel insurance experts on 0800 170 7704. Our team is available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Travel insurance for children with medical conditions

A child in front of a glode and a man's hand pointing

At Free Spirit, we’re proud of the fact that our specialist travel insurance has no age limit. We look to insure those aged 70, 80, 90 or older, so you might sooner associate the benefits of our cover with older holidaymakers. But our no age travel insurance applies to younger travellers too, in fact, we cover many children who are travelling with their parents or in groups.

Travelling with children who have existing medical conditions or disabilities can be challenging, but there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy a holiday. However, the last thing parents, carers and guardians need is a complicated route to taking out travel cover.

Our medical travel insurance for children works in exactly the same way as it does for adults – we aim to offer a specialist travel policy for children with virtually any pre-existing health condition or disability and the same key features and protections. All we require is that there is an adult on the same policy and that the child’s doctor is happy for them to travel.

Why does my child need specialist travel insurance?

Covering your family for any overseas trip is always necessary; you never know when your holiday might take an unexpected turn. Accidents, injuries and even lost luggage can all disrupt a family trip away and run up huge expenses. If your child has a medical condition or disability, the need for suitable travel insurance is even greater.

Naturally, if your child does need emergency medical assistance while you’re away, your first priority will be getting the care they require. Not only can a specialist travel insurance policy ensure you can access  this help quickly, it also means you won’t be responsible for paying the medical bill. Overseas medical care can be incredibly expensive, but travel insurance is there to meet the costs*.

Finding this cover from a standard travel insurance provider can be difficult though; many will decline to offer cover to those with health conditions or disabilities or will provide cover excluding the health conditions. That’s where a provider who specialises in tailored medical travel cover, like Free Spirit, can make all the difference – we can cover your child and their specific health needs, subject to a medical screening.

What constitutes a child when it comes to travel insurance?

In terms of our travel cover, a child is anyone under 18 years of age. For children to travel under a Free Spirit specialist policy, we simply require that an accompanying adult is named on the policy with them.

In the case of most family holidays, this will usually be a parent or guardian, but could also be a teacher, family friend or carer if your child will be travelling without the rest of the family. School and college trips, excursions with friends’ families and tours with clubs or teams are all wonderful opportunities for older children to explore the world. Our specialist travel insurance allows them the freedom to do so, while also giving you the peace of mind that their medical condition or disability is covered.

Can I cover my child and the whole family on the same policy?

Yes, you can. We want to make it as straightforward as possible for you to secure travel insurance, which is why we can cover the entire travelling party, such as your family or the named adult(s) travelling alongside your child, on the same policy, even if they don’t have existing medical conditions or disabilities.

With travel insurance in place, you will not lose the money already spent on flights and/or accommodation should the trip have to be cancelled because your child has become too unwell to travel. Separate policies don’t normally offer this protection, plus, having a single travel policy for everyone means that you will all benefit from the same key features of Free Spirit cover*.

What’s included with medical travel insurance for children?

Our travel insurance for children with medical conditions or disabilities includes all of the same benefits as our policies for adults; there’s no difference in the levels of cover available (except for personal accident cover). You can still choose between our Super cover or Super Duper cover options, and you can select either single trip or annual multi-trip travel insurance, which enables your child to travel as many times as they like over the course of a year (as long as these trips are made with an insured adult).

By purchasing a medical travel insurance policy through Free Spirit, you can rest assured your child’s health condition or disability will be fully covered (subject to medical screening).

All of our customers have access to our dedicated 24-hour emergency medical assistance helpline, meaning help is just a phone call away.

There’s more to our specialist travel insurance than just medical cover though. Both our levels of cover offer essential benefits such as:

  • repatriation to your home country
  • aftercare following time in hospital
  • loss or damage to personal possessions including travel documents
  • loss or damage to medication and medical aids
  • cancellation cover

View the full list of our travel insurance features, or take a look at the full policy terms and conditions.

How do I apply for cover?

Applying for medical travel insurance for children with us is simple. You can apply online or call and speak to one of our friendly expert team on 0800 170 7704 (Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm, excluding Bank Holidays).

Tips for travelling with children with medical conditions

  • As we’ve already mentioned, the most important thing to establish before planning a trip is that your child’s doctor is happy for them to go. Speaking to your child’s GP will also enable them to make you aware of any additional medication or steps you might need to take ahead of the holiday, such as vaccinations. Or, depending on your child’s medication, you might need a doctor’s letter to allow you to take the medication on board a flight with you, or into another country.
  • Make sure you know where the nearest hospital is to where you will be staying, and check ahead to see if you will be able to buy any non-prescription medications over the counter in your destination. If not, stock up before you go and split it across your luggage so that you’ll always have a supply with you, even if anything goes astray.
  • Be aware of the climate of the country your child will be visiting. If it’s very warm or cold, read up on how it could affect your child’s condition and take any recommended precautions. In hot weather, drinking plenty of water and applying plenty of high-factor sun cream is good advice for anyone, but it’s even more important for children with medical conditions or disabilities.

*Subject to terms, conditions & exclusions of the policy.

Your medical travel insurance checklist

Checklist

Preparing for a holiday often means stocking up on sun cream and paperbacks. However, if you’re counting down the days until your next trip, there’s one element of holiday planning that’s arguably more important than any other – travel insurance.

What’s more, travel cover is even more important for people with pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities. There can be more to think about when arranging medical travel insurance, so we’ve created the following checklist (also available to download and/or print here) to help you ensure your travel insurance ticks all the boxes.

1. When should you purchase medical travel insurance?

Travel insurance, especially specialist cover for existing health conditions or disabilities, should never be left until the last minute. If anything were to happen during the run up to your holiday that means you cannot go, such as a worsening of your health, you could lose any money you’d already spent on your travel plans, such as flight and accommodation expenses.

That’s why we strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip, so that you have the benefit of cancellation cover straight away. You’ll be covered if you need to cancel your holiday from the moment your policy is in place, or, with an Annual Multi-trip policy, on the date you choose*.

2. Does your policy allow you to include travelling companions?

The ability to add those you will be travelling with to your travel insurance policy means that they too will be covered if you need to cancel your holiday because of your medical condition or disability, or if your trip had to be cut short due to your health*. At Free Spirit, we can include your entire travelling party on your policy.

3. Does your insurance provider understand your health needs?

When you have an existing health condition or disability, standard travel insurance policies tend to be limited in the cover they can offer. A specialist provider like Free Spirit will be more sympathetic to your unique medical needs. Our travel insurance policies are specially designed for people like you.

4. Are there any limits to where you can travel?

If you are well enough to travel to your dream destination, and more importantly, your doctor is happy for you to go, we believe you should be covered to do so. Our specialist travel insurance covers most places in the world excluding those where the FCO advice against travel.

We aim to cover your medical condition(s) or disability(ies) for trips in Europe, as well as the USA, Canada or the Caribbean (although these countries mean higher premiums).

We will ask you to go through a simple medical screening process when applying for cover, however we have designed this to be as quick and straightforward as possible.

5. Does the policy include wide-ranging travel cover?

Make sure your policy includes cover for cancellation and emergency medical expenses, including repatriation back to the UK, as well as for your luggage, travel documents, medication and medical aids (more on this below).

A complete travel insurance policy should also include cover in the event of journey delays, personal accident and legal expenses. Free Spirit medical travel insurance includes all this and more, although as with all travel insurance policies, terms and conditions will apply.

Most importantly, Free Spirit will, subject to medical screening, provide full cover for your medical conditions and disabilities.

Click here for details of Free Spirit’s wide-ranging travel cover

6. What medical questions should you expect to be asked when applying for a quote?

In most cases, travel insurance providers won’t need to see your formal medical records when you apply, but they may request them if you make a claim.

At Free Spirit, we will ask you a series of questions relating to your specific medical condition or disability when you apply for a medical travel insurance quote. Please ensure that you have all information to hand when you apply.

Obtaining medical travel insurance with us is quick and simple. Speak to one of our friendly expert team based in the UK from Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (closed Bank Holidays) on 0800 170 7704 or get a free quote online.

7. Is cover for terminal conditions included?

Many travel insurance providers will refuse to cover people with terminal conditions. However, here at Free Spirit, we are proud to be one of the few specialist providers that can offer cover for people with terminal or life-limiting conditions. To obtain a quote, please call us on 0800 170 7704, Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (closed Bank Holidays).

8. Are you covered to take part in activities during your holiday?

Having an existing health condition or disability needn’t stop you from participating in new activities and experiences when you’re on holiday. Specialist travel insurance policy will often include cover for a number of activities provided your doctor is happy for you to do so. Please check the policy wording or contact the provider to make sure you are covered before you travel.

At Free Spirit, we provide cover for over 100 activities free of charge.

9. Does your policy include cover for medical aids and medication?

Travelling with a medical condition or disability means that you may need to take medication and/or medical aids with you, so make sure that your travel insurance covers these. Our policies include cover for loss or damage to medical aids up to £1,000 with ‘Super’ cover, and up to £2,000 with ‘Super Duper’ cover. We include cover for loss or damage to prescribed medication of up to £250 with ‘Super’ cover, and up to £500 with ‘Super’ Duper cover.

10. Still have questions about specialist travel insurance? Ask Mary!

Mary at her desk smiling at the cameraFree Spirit Manager, Mary Holt is a recognised expert in medical screening and in underwriting travel insurance for people with medical conditions.

She has answered a wealth of customer queries on different conditions and circumstances and you can read through her responses, or feel free to ask Mary a question yourself.

 

*Cover is subject to the terms, conditions and limits of the Insurance Policy.

Specialist travel insurance for people with liver failure

Specialist travel insurance for people with liver failure

Liver failure occurs when the liver is impaired and can no longer function as it should. It is a serious medical condition and the severity of the symptoms will depend on how much of the liver is still working. Once the liver has stopped functioning completely, a liver transplant may be needed.

Having said that, it’s possible to manage liver failure with healthy lifestyle changes, such as drinking less alcohol and eating less fatty food. Liver failure is usually the result of chronic (long-term) liver disease, which can be caused by excess alcohol and/or being very overweight. Making positive changes to what you eat and drink can help to repair some damage to the liver, which is the only organ in the human body capable of regeneration.

A diagnosis of liver failure needn’t rule you out of taking a much-needed and fulfilling holiday abroad, although it is vital to have specialist travel insurance for liver failure in place when you do. Liver failure can be an unpredictable condition, so the protection that medical travel insurance provides is essential.

Why do I need specialist travel insurance for liver failure?

While we can plan every aspect of a trip away, sadly things can still happen that we don’t expect. When you have a pre-existing condition like liver failure, a medical issue is right at the top of the list of worst-case scenarios, not just from the perspective of your health, but your finances too.

Overseas emergency medical care can be incredibly expensive, so the main purpose of travel insurance is to ensure that, if the unexpected happens, you get the treatment you need while you’re away and to protect you from the subsequent medical bills. Many standard travel insurance providers decline to cover those with existing medical conditions, but specialist providers like Free Spirit offer a more tailored, flexible service.

We can cover you for health problems that may arise relating to your liver failure during your trip, and even for any money you have already spent if you need to cancel your holiday due to your condition*. And, because there are plenty of additional non-health related needs for travel insurance, we’ll cover you for those too, such as accidents, loss, theft and even transport delays*. Our specialist travel insurance cover can also include your entire travelling party under your policy.

*Cover is subject to the terms, conditions and limits of the Insurance Policy.

How can I get specialist travel insurance for liver failure?

At Free Spirit, we’re proud to be able to offer medical travel insurance for liver failure. We aim to provide cover for most people with liver failure of any age, through a quick and easy medical screening process.

As long as your treating GP has confirmed that you are fit to travel, you are not on a waiting list for surgery, are having inpatient treatment or are waiting for tests or test results, we are able to offer cover for liver failure, subject to medical screening.

You can apply for a no-obligation travel insurance quote online, although in some cases we may need to speak to you over the phone before we can offer you a policy.

If you need to contact us by phone, or if you’d rather speak to someone about a quote, call us on 0800 170 7704 today (Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or, if you’d like any further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team based here in the UK will ask you some questions about your medical conditions, so please have the information to hand when contacting us.

We understand that your condition and the way it impacts upon you is unique to you, but as an example, some of the questions we may ask about your liver failure include:

  • Have you had a liver transplant?
  • Are you on a waiting list for a liver transplant?
  • Are you jaundiced?
  • How many unplanned hospital admissions for this condition have you had in the last twelve months?
  • Have you had oesophageal varices (swollen blood vessels) diagnosed?

Our questions help us to create a specialist travel insurance policy that is perfectly tailored to you and your condition.

This tailored approach to medical travel insurance is designed to give you the chance to enjoy your time away, worry-free. We want you to be confident in the cover we provide, which is why we’ll make sure you understand exactly what is included with your travel insurance for liver failure and how to make a claim, if you need to.

Travelling with liver failure

If you are able to manage your condition, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have a relaxing holiday with family and friends. However, making a few preparations ahead of your break can help you enjoy your time away even more.

As we mentioned previously, it is essential that your doctor is aware of your travel plans and is happy for you to go. You should speak to you doctor at least 6-8 weeks before you want to travel, so that you have plenty of time to make any extra arrangements that may be necessary.

For example, you may need extra medication, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, or if you are planning to travel by air to your destination, your doctor may want to assess your fitness to fly. Preparation is key, so start by talking to your GP, who will be able to advise you on how best to manage your condition.

You can also find more information on looking after yourself when you have long-term liver disease on the British Liver Trust website.




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  • Ask Mary

    Free Spirit Manager, Mary Holt is a recognised expert in medical screening and in underwriting travel insurance for people with medical conditions. You can read Mary’s Q&As or ask Mary a question directly.
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Free Spirit provide case study for BIBA’s 2018 Manifesto

We are delighted to be part of the BIBA’s 2018 Manifesto by providing one of the case studies which demonstrates the value of using a specialist provider and helping customers get the cover they need.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is the UK’s leading general insurance intermediary organisation representing the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers. Their membership includes just under 2,000 regulated firms, employing more than 100,000 staff.

Dee is given the freedom to travel by Free Spirit

In 2014, Dee was diagnosed with a Neuroendocrine Tumour (NETs) a rare condition where tumours can appear in different areas of the body that form the neuroendocrine system, including the stomach, bowel and lungs. Her life was changed completely; the tumour was found in her small intestine and had spread to her liver and she was told it was incurable, inoperable but manageable.  She was also advised not to travel due to the aggressive treatment she faced – doubly devastating because she and her husband both had a passion for travel.

However, undeterred, once her condition went into a managed phase, nine months later, she felt sure her travelling could resume. However she hadn’t realised how difficult it would be to obtain the insurance she needed. She tried all the usual outlets but was faced with insufficient cover and/or prohibitively high premiums. Sometimes after many minutes of medical screening, she would simply be told the company could not progress her application.

Fortunately, Dee was signposted to BIBA member, PJ Hayman’s Free Spirit scheme, which was able to help. One month after having radionuclide therapy, she was on a cruise.  Knowing she was fully covered gave Dee the confidence to travel further.

Talking about Dee’s travel ambitions led Free Spirit to look for an annual travel insurance solution to save her both time and money.  Using their experience and understanding of Dee’s individual circumstances, an annual policy was made available and adapted to give Dee full cover for her condition regardless of the number of trips she made in a year.

Dee said “Some providers would not even cover me excluding my NETs.  Since finding Free Spirit we have been able to travel to some amazing places in the world. I’m also delighted that Mary and the team at Free Spirit have offered their help and advice to the NET Patient Foundation to assist people with the same challenges who really need to get the right insurance from the right sources.”

Mary Holt of Free Spirit: “I had to really think about the situation, talk to Dee, understand how well she was and how well she coped with travelling. I spoke to underwriters and we were able to endorse an annual policy to ensure Dee and her husband were fully covered.”

See the full case study on BIBA’s 2018 Manifesto

 

Free Spirit is simply the best!

Don’t just take our word for it… over 1,000 independent reviews say so!

 

We were thrilled last week to see that we had exceeded 1,000 independent reviews on Trustpilot!

What’s more, not only have over 1,000 customers been compelled to leave a review, but most have rated us 5 Star! This makes our Trustpilot score an impressive 9.3 out of 10, something we are extremely proud of.

Here at Free Spirit, our philosophy has always been to offer customers a personal service with a human touch. We firmly believe that everybody should have the freedom to travel, no matter their age, medical condition or disability, and it’s our unique service that allows us to help customers get the peace of mind protection they need when travelling.

We listen to what you are telling us

The Free Spirit Team having fun in front of our offices at Stanstead House!

So what sets us apart? We believe it’s our friendly customer service team, headed up by Mary Holt. In fact, our staff frequently receive personal mentions in the reviews because, put simply, they treat customers like human beings. They are empathetic, respectful and courteous, and treat people as they would wish to be treated themselves. Finally, (and this may sound obvious given that they are on the telephone!) they actually listen.

We take time to tailor cover for you

If you have a medical condition, you will need to answer some medical screening questions, which we appreciate are sometimes a little daunting.  However, we take the time to talk to you, discuss your specific medical condition(s), and understand your individual needs. From this conversation, we are (in 96% of cases) able to provide you with a quality travel insurance policy that’s tailored to you.

Dee Marquette-Slight, one of our happy customers, commented When I tried to explain my condition [to other insurers] I’d find that the person on the phone just would not understand – they couldn’t apply any common sense to their system. Free Spirit was the only insurer who took the time to fully understand my condition and treat me as a human being – not a list of medical questions.”

We try our best to say… Yes!

At Free Spirit, we go out of our way to help customers have the freedom to travel because we really don’t like saying ‘No’!

This sometimes means that holiday plans might have to be tweaked in order to provide appropriate travel insurance. For example, in some cases we might offer Single Trip cover, instead of an Annual Multi-trip policy, or we may suggest holidaying in another country because on certain occasions we can only provide cover for Europe, but not worldwide.

In some situations, if a customer has planned to travel abroad for a long period of time, by slightly shortening the duration cover can be granted.

If there’s a way to enable travelling, we will help you to find it.

Dee’s story is just one of many that show how we can provide cover by working with you to understand your condition.

Visit the Trustpilot site to read hundreds more independent reviews about Free Spirit, from real people who have benefited from our personal approach.

Giving people the freedom to travel

Nothing thrills us more than enabling people the freedom to travel when, in many cases, they thought it might not be possible.

Here are just three examples of how we were able to make these people’s dreams of travelling into a reality – simply by talking and listening to them.

I should just like to commend Jonathon on his excellent customer service when dealing with my enquiry today. I was in a state of panic after being told by Age Concern that I could not continue with cover from them as I advised them I had a new medical condition to report on my travel insurance but they gave me your number. From the beginning of our conversation he took charge reassuring at every step not to worry he was here to help and was very confident which helped me immensely.

– L. Alexander

Holiday travellers with medical conditions, look no further than ‘Free Spirit’. After trying five other companies with little satisfaction I came across Free Spirit. I spoke immediately to a real person who took me through screening with courtesy, sensitivity and efficiency giving me all the security I needed and most importantly, a realistic price. Couldn’t be better!

– D. Plant

Eileen really is an excellent advertisement for your company. From the moment she first picked up my call, her professional but charming manner had me hooked into purchasing the product I was enquiring about. To me, it was obvious that her extensive training had been pinpointed towards customer satisfaction and offering information in easily understandable chunks at a speed that kept the process to a minimum. “Pride in her performance” should be rewarded. Well done!

– Alan

Click here to read more testimonials left by happy Free Spirit customers

We’re here to help

It’s important to arrange your travel insurance as soon as you have booked a trip, so that you have protection in place just in case you need to cancel your holiday.

If you have a holiday already booked or you’re thinking about making travel plans, don’t hesitate to call our UK-based Free Spirit customer services team.

We are on hand to help you between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays) on 0800 170 7704 for a free, no-obligation quote, or click here to get a quote online.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance

Why do you need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is essential for any overseas trip. At Free Spirit, we believe taking out travel insurance should be as integral a part of preparing for a holiday as booking a flight or packing your suitcase.

Yet, some people still go abroad without a travel insurance policy in place, which, as well as potentially putting their health at risk, can turn out to be a costly decision. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reports that in 2016, UK travel insurance providers paid out an enormous £369m for 480,000 claims to travellers who needed help while overseas – money that would have had to come out of their own pockets if they hadn’t been insured.

To help explain exactly why travel insurance is so important, we’ve answered some of your most commonly asked questions below:

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is designed to cover you financially for the kind of eventualities that can occur before or during a trip overseas, such as holiday cancellation, emergency medical care costs from an accident or illness, and loss of personal belongings. A policy may cover just one person, or several people travelling together.

Travel insurance policies are specifically designed to cover many types of trips, including:

Single trip policies – for individual trips that cover the chosen destination(s), the timeframe booked and any planned activities.

Annual Multi-trip policies – for a number of trips within an agreed geographical area over a year.

What is medical travel insurance?

Medical travel insurance, also known as specialist travel insurance, is a type of travel insurance tailored specially to people who have pre-existing health conditions and/or disabilities.

Many standard travel insurance providers will not cover people who have long-term medical conditions or disabilities, or people over a certain age, whereas medical travel insurance providers like us specialise in covering those of any age with almost any existing condition or disability.

Medical travel insurance enables people who may otherwise struggle to secure cover to enjoy quality time away knowing they are covered for the often very high costs of overseas emergency healthcare, and other eventualities, should they need it.

Do you need travel insurance?

The short answer to this is yes! Advice from many organisations, including ABTA and ABI, recommend that every traveller should be adequately covered with travel insurance. This is even more important if you have an existing medical condition or disability, as you may be more likely to need access to emergency healthcare while you are away.

Without travel insurance, you wouldn’t be able to claim if you needed emergency treatment during your trip or if you had to cancel your holiday as a result of your health. A Free Spirit specialist travel insurance policy will cover your medical condition and/or disability (subject to medical screening) so that you have full protection both before and during your trip. As with all policies, terms and conditions will apply so you will need to read the policy wording.

Why take out travel insurance?

Since most trips overseas are only a week or two, it can be tempting not to take out travel insurance in the hope that nothing will go wrong. Sadly though, unexpected events like falling ill, being involved in an accident, or being unable to return home as planned, can interrupt a holiday all too often.

For example, if you become too ill to take your holiday as planned, our travel insurance with cancellation cover can mean you don’t lose all the money you’ve spent on flights and accommodation. Overseas medical and emergency healthcare is often extremely expensive, but travel insurance can protect you from these costs if you need care, say, due to your existing condition or in the event of an accident.

What does medical travel insurance cover?

At Free Spirit, we aim to offer medical travel insurance for people of any age who have almost any existing condition or disability. The ten most common health conditions we cover includes type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer and arthritis, but we also cover heart conditions, brain and cerebral conditions, mental health conditions, rare conditions, people who have had organ transplants and people with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida and motor neurone disease.

Our medical travel insurance also provides many other essential aspects of cover for a trip abroad, such as cancellation cover, repatriation costs, hospital stay costs, delays or interruptions to your journey and loss, theft or damage to your passport, medications, medical aids, baggage, personal money and travel documents. Take a look at the full policy terms and conditions for the complete list of what’s covered.

What isn’t covered by travel insurance for medical conditions?

The full extent of your travel insurance from Free Spirit will depend on the level of cover you opt for – ‘Super’ or ‘Super Duper’. Each includes certain cover benefits with differing amounts of cover, although there are a couple of features that are only available with ‘Super Duper’ cover.

For example, only ‘Super Duper’ cover insures you in the event that your airline reneges on their agreement with you due to financial failure, or your trip is disrupted as a result of natural disaster or being advised not to travel to your destination by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Your full policy terms and conditions will tell you what is and isn’t included with your travel insurance, or feel free to give us a call on 0800 170 7704 between 8 am and 6pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).

Do you still need travel insurance if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

Yes. The EHIC is valid within the European Economic Area (EEA) – European Union (EU) countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – and grants you either free or reduced-cost state-provided medical treatment in these countries. However, it doesn’t apply to private hospital care or treatment, and it does not cover repatriation costs to get you home again, so medical travel insurance is a must. You can apply for a EHIC online.

How do I apply for travel insurance?

Simply call us on 0800 170 7704 today (Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm, closed bank holidays) or get a quote online using our convenient and easy to use application process.

Please remember to have all your medical information to hand to assist you with the quotation and medical screening process.

Note: in some cases a quotation is not available online and you will be asked to telephone us to see if we can provide cover.

How to claim on your medical travel insurance?

If you need to make a claim on your Free Spirit medical travel insurance, please contact us as soon as possible to let us know. You can call our Claims Department on 02392 419 879 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, except Bank Holidays. Alternatively, you can email claims@freespirittravelinsurance.com.

We have included a range of online claim forms for quick and easy download to speed up the process.  Simply choose the relevant form to print, fill it out and send it to us with any supporting information at:

Free Spirit Claims Department
Stansted House
Rowlands Castle
Hampshire
PO9 6DX

Please note – if you need medical treatment while abroad, you should call our 24-hour Medical Emergency Assistance line on +44 (0)203 829 6745 – remember to take your travel insurance documents away with you so that you have this number to hand.

Can my travel insurance be extended?

The ability to extend your travel insurance with Free Spirit depends on whether you have a single trip or a multi-trip policy.

Subject to terms and conditions, we may be able to extend a single trip policy as long as you let us know before your policy expires and that at the time of requesting the extension you are not intending to make a claim.

However, we cannot extend an annual multi-trip policy. The maximum duration for any one trip is 31 days with ‘Super’ cover and 45 days with ‘Super Duper’ cover. If you exceed the maximum trip duration, any claims during your holiday will not be covered.

Can my travel insurance be cancelled?

At Free Spirit we aim to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your travel insurance cover, but should you want to cancel your policy, it is possible to do so. You can contact us to cancel your travel insurance within 14 days of purchase for a full refund, as long as you have not already taken your trip and you are not making, or intending to make, a claim.

Take a look at our FAQs for more answers to your questions, or if you need further information about any aspect of our medical travel insurance, please call our friendly UK-based Customer Services team on 0800 170 7704, Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm (closed Bank Holidays).

 




  • Testimonials

    I was very impressed with your excellent service as it was but with a very quick and understandable decision.
    Anon
    To read reviews click here

  • Ask Mary

    Free Spirit Manager, Mary Holt is a recognised expert in medical screening and in underwriting travel insurance for people with medical conditions. You can read Mary’s Q&As or ask Mary a question directly.
    Read Q&As
    Ask Mary



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