Can I get Travel Insurance with Asthma?

asthma travelAsthma Travel Insurance.

People who have asthma, often referred to as asthmatics,  generally manage the condition well on a daily basis, and as such shouldn’t have a problem getting travel insurance, although there are one or two additional factors that need to be taken into account.

What is Asthma

According to the CDC
‘Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs … it causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and night time or early morning coughing’

They go on to say ‘Asthma can be controlled by taking medicine and avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack’
By medication, they are basically referring to the use of inhalers and tablets.

Pre-existing conditions

Asthma is considered a pre-existing condition by travel insurance companies, and as such needs to be declared when applying for any such insurance. This applies to any family member, who suffer from asthma, and are included in the insurance application including children.

The term pre-existing condition can seem a bit daunting, but in practice with asthma, it is usually a fairly straightforward process.

Medical Screening

The insurance company will want to know a certain amount of information that relates to the individual’s condition and will ask several questions, this is known as medical screening. This is usually done online, which some people like and other people find a bit impersonal. Insurance companies will often offer the alternative of speaking in person to someone if preferred.

The type of questions that an insurance company will ask will vary, but will generally be along the following lines :

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with any other type of lung condition, for example, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiolitis as a child,
  • How old were you when you were diagnosed with asthma – was it diagnosed as a specific type of asthma such as severe, brittle or refractory, if so has that diagnosis changed at all over the years
  • What medications do you use to control the condition
  • Are nebulizers regularly used or have they ever been used to manage your asthma
  • Have you ever been hospitalized because of your asthma
  • Have you been in hospital recently because of any other condition, related to asthma or not
  • Has there been any recent change in the prescription of your medication for any reason
  • Is there a family history of asthma or lung-related illness or disease

The insurance company will also want confirmation from your GP or primary physician that it is safe for you to travel, and it is probably a good idea to do this first before applying for any travel insurance

Having an Asthma Plan

Many people when diagnosed or managing their condition create what has known as an asthma plan in conjunction with their doctor or specialist asthma nurse.

This is a general plan that covers day-to-day maintenance of the condition and what to do in an emergency. The insurance company is unlikely to make this a condition of your travel insurance, but they may advise it if one is not in place.

In any event, it is a really good idea to be aware of certain things that may be different when travelling abroad in terms of how to manage your asthma, both on a day-to-day basis and in the event of an emergency.

It is a good idea to check with the travel insurance company what emergency contact numbers or email addresses they have in the event of needing help whilst overseas.

Most insurance companies will use a third-party service for serious events such as hospitalizations and repatriations to your home country, but may also have contact details outside of normal office hours for other types of problems.

Travel Insurance Policy Conditions

Whether someone is taking out a single trip or an annual type of travel insurance policy, the insurance company will expect the applicant and their family to take normal common sense precautions concerning their trip.

While whilst common sense precautions can be difficult to define in certain instances, it is a good idea to read through the terms and conditions of the policy before going away to make sure that anything stated there is complied with whilst on holiday.

Travel Tips

Most travel companies will advise people to carry their medication in their hand baggage in case their other luggage gets lost.

It is also recommended to carry additional medication in case any does get lost, as well as a list of what medication they are on, both in their language and in the language of the country they are visiting or travelling to.

This can include other English-speaking countries where the medication they are on has a different name.

It is also a good idea to have all the medication and instructions in its original packaging, along with confirmation from your doctor of the asthma condition and any relevant information.

This can often help at customs where there is normally a high level of scrutiny of all types of medication, for fairly obvious reasons.

Asthma Triggers

People who suffer from asthma, asthmatics, are usually fairly well aware of what their triggers are and take precautions to manage their conditions accordingly.

When traveling overseas there are a few other things to be considered :

Check the weather conditions and pollen count of any areas you are visiting. Some people are more prone to having an asthma attack in a hot country than others in a cold country. Also, air pollution can be a major factor, and certain cities are notoriously bad in this respect.

Be aware of other triggers such as tobacco smoke, dust mites, pests i.e. cockroaches and mice, pets and mould.

Whilst these in a way are common asthma triggers, the level and intensity of them can be very high in certain areas of the world and worth being on your guard against.

This can be especially true if using Airbnb or similar accommodation agencies where you are staying in someone’s home, or accommodation that for whatever reason is pretty basic.