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How I find travel insurance with my lung condition

Gordon shares his advice on holidaying with a lung condition and finding travel insurance.

Gordon doesn't let his lung condition stop him from going on holiday

I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in February 2007 and have been using ambulatory oxygen for the past 3 years. I travel regularly with my wife but since I have started using oxygen I have had to shop around for insurance quotes and plan ahead.

Travelling in the UK while on oxygen isn’t too difficult as your oxygen provider will deliver your oxygen to your destination, as long as your accommodation provider agrees. I personally haven’t had anywhere that said I couldn’t use oxygen. And when I go outside the UK, like on recent trips to Ireland, I take my portable converter concentrator with me. With the portable concentrator, I just need to remember to charge it regularly. 

But finding travel insurance is a completely different kettle of fish.

Before I was on oxygen, it wasn’t too difficult to get insurance – straight after my diagnosis of IPF I managed to travel to Canada without any problems.

Since I’ve been on oxygen I’ve been on holiday several times, and finding affordable insurance is a battle.

When you do ring the insurance company they start by saying that you must tell them everything and that if you don’t, the insurance isn’t valid.  I have had to do everything from explaining what idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is, to spelling it out for them. Sometimes they will say, ‘that isn’t on our list of covered conditions’ and then I will have to go to a different company.

But, in the end, I have always been able to find insurance, even while using oxygen – though sometimes I have to pay more than I would like to! On one trip to Ireland, I wasn’t able to find insurance cheaper than £800 for one week. It was exorbitant but my wife and I did go in the end as I couldn’t find it cheaper anywhere else and we don’t know how long we’ll be able to take these trips together.

My advice is to shop around. And always check the insurance terms and conditions, such as when the insurance kicks in from – it may not cover the entirety of your holiday!

Do you have a story to tell? It could be about your lung condition, a friend or relative you know who lives with one, or how caring for them impacts your life. We'd love to hear what you've got to say!

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14 March 2018