Heart disease travel insurance
When you live with heart disease, taking regular holidays is a great way to relax and minimise stress. It’s important, however, to plan ahead carefully when you are going to be away from home.
First and foremost, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your heart disease and how it affects you before booking any trips. They will be able to confirm that you are well enough to go away. You can also discuss the things you should and shouldn’t be doing during your holiday, such as any activities you may want to participate in.
In many cases, having heart disease is no barrier to an enjoyable and fulfilling breakaway. However, being aware of how to take care of yourself while away is the best way to ensure your holiday is a relaxing getaway you need.
What is heart disease?
The term ‘heart disease’ is often used interchangeably with ‘cardiovascular disease’ and generally refers to conditions that involve or cause narrowed or blocked blood vessels. When fatty deposits build up in the arteries, blood flow is restricted and cannot travel around the body as it should. This impaired blood flow can in turn lead to further problems such as heart attacks, heart failure, angina and strokes.
Please note, when looking for heart disease insurance, you must declare all of the conditions you have so that you are properly insured.
As it covers so many conditions, heart disease is very common. In the UK alone, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) estimates that there are approximately 7 million people living with a form of heart disease. Thankfully, modern medicine has helped to make them easier to live with; the annual number of heart disease-related deaths has fallen by more than half since the BHF was established in 1961.
What risk factors are associated with heart disease?
The risk factors for heart disease are many and complex; there can often be a mix of factors involved, including:
- Family history of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, strokes, angina, heart failure, hypertension, cardiomyopathy and peripheral vascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Alcohol intake
Many things that increase the likelihood of developing heart disease are associated with lifestyle. Of these, the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking and drinking too much alcohol as the ones linked to the biggest risk.
Why do I need specialist travel insurance for heart disease?
Even if your condition is under control and you feel well, it’s important to remember that heart disease can be unpredictable. Part of the joy of travel is being introduced to new places and experiences, but when you have heart disease, it is vital to take account of the impact this could potentially have on your health.
This is where heart disease travel insurance comes in. A travel insurance policy for heart disease should cover all of the conditions that relate to your heart and circulation, so should your health take an unexpected turn for the worse while you’re away, you will be cushioned from the costs of your medical treatment. Health care around the world, particularly emergency treatment, often comes with very high costs attached.
Without Heart Disease insurance in place, an extended stay in an overseas hospital can be incredibly expensive. What’s more, without heart disease travel insurance in place, you would also have to fund alternative travel arrangements to get you home, if you were unable to travel back as you had planned.
You may have already found that many standard travel insurance companies refuse to offer cover due to your heart disease, but that doesn’t mean you have to travel uninsured. A medical travel insurance provider, like Free Spirit, is best-placed to offer travel insurance to people of any age who have pre-existing health conditions, such as heart disease.
Our travel insurance for heart disease includes the essential aspects of cover you need, such for your medication and medical aids should they get lost or damaged. One of the most important protections we offer is cancellation cover, which ensures you don’t lose out financially on flights and/or accommodation costs if you have to cancel your trip in the run-up to your departure date due to your health*. Having this arranged nice and early should give you peace of mind as you look forward to your holiday.
How can I get heart disease travel insurance?
It’s easy to get a quote for heart disease travel insurance with us. If you’d prefer to apply online, our fully interactive website includes medical screening, or if you’d rather talk to someone over the phone, our friendly travel insurance specialists are available on 02392 419 080.
Whatever way you prefer to apply for travel insurance for heart disease, we will need to ask you some questions about your conditions and the way in which these affect you to determine your premium. The questions you are asked may vary depending on your personal circumstances, but some of the questions you may expect to be asked include:
- Have you ever had a heart bypass, an angioplasty or a coronary stent?
- Have you ever been a smoker?
- How many (if any) heart attacks have you had?
- Do you suffer from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)?
- Can you always walk 200yds on the flat with no chest pain or tightness or breathlessness?
We like to do things thoroughly at Free Spirit, so we may well have other questions to ask. This just helps us ensure you get the right travel insurance for your heart disease. Please try to give us as much information about your heart disease as possible, so that we can make sure you’re properly covered for your upcoming trip.
If you’d like to know more about our heart disease insurance, or have any questions whilst getting a quote on our website, please don’t hesitate to call us. For a wealth of extra information, you can also take a look at our guide to travelling with heart conditions. Or, if you have a specific query, you can ask Mary Holt, our resident expert in medical travel insurance.
Heart disease travel tips
Living with a heart condition can be challenging but enjoying a relaxing holiday can help – regardless of whether you’ve just been diagnosed or have been living with it for some time.
Here are some useful tips to help you travel safely with heart disease:
1. Choose your destination wisely
Think carefully about where you are going and what you are likely to do when you get there. A trip to Athens, for example, may involve lots of uphill walking and narrow steps, which can place unnecessary stress on your heart. Similarly, it might be best to avoid destinations that are very hot or very cold, or at a high altitude (over 2,000m).
Consider public transport as well – the easier it is to get around, the less strenuous walking you have to do. This is particularly important in warmer climes, where the heat really can sap your energy.
It’s imperative to think about healthcare provisions, and whether you’ll have easy access to professional help in the event of a medical emergency. Some smaller islands may not have accident and emergency facilities, for example. A little research should help you locate nearby pharmacies and doctors’ surgeries that stock any relevant medication, have a look in advance and make a list to take with you so that you have the information to hand.
Speaking of medication…
2. Organise your medication in advance
it’s crucial that you sort out any medicines you need for your heart disease before going away for any length of time. If you are entitled to free prescription services here in the UK, the same is unlikely to be true in another country, so make sure you’re stocked up on everything you need before you leave. When you speak to your doctor ahead of booking your trip, ask them to prescribe more than enough medication for the time spent away, and keep a list of prescribed medicines – including all known names – in case you need more in an emergency.
Depending on where you’re headed, you may also need extra permissions to take your heart disease medicine with you overseas. Some countries have very strict rules about the medications they permit visitors to carry, and even some commonly prescribed medicines can be restricted. Our blog about taking medicine on holiday with you summarises the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and it is also a good idea to speak to your doctor about this.
It’s also a good idea to split your supply of heart disease medication across your luggage, just in case one of your bags was to go missing. Finally, if your heart disease travel insurance provider has a 24-hour medical emergency helpline number we recommend you put it into your mobile phone and make a note of it somewhere before you travel. Couple this with your policy product name and reference, so that it is all ready to hand should you need it – even if your phone breaks or runs out of charge!
3. Long haul flights
Most people with heart disease are able to fly without any trouble, but it’s certainly worth talking to your doctor about it– especially if you’re flying long haul. There are a few precautions you’ll need to take if you’ve been fitted with a pacemaker or ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) as well. Airport security will need to be made aware, and you’ll be required to take the appropriate documentation.
You may also need to tell your airline ahead of time if you need to take any liquid medicines of over 100ml on board with you. Call them in plenty of time before your departure and they will be able to advise you.
The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may also be higher if you have heart disease, so be sure to invest in compression socks and move regularly during your journey. A quick walk once every hour is recommended, and make sure to drink plenty of water.
Don’t forget, you may be able to get extra help at the airport if you need it, including help transporting your luggage and/or early boarding.
4. Arranging the right travel cover
Having travel insurance for heart disease in place is an essential part of your pre-holiday preparations. If you’d like to know more about the heart disease travel insurance Free Spirit can provide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or apply online now.
We’re here to help
If you’d like to know more about our heart disease travel insurance, or have any questions whilst getting a quote on our website, head to our frequently asked questions page or get in touch with our friendly customer services team by calling 02392 419 080.