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Can You Get Travel Insurance With a Terminal Illness?

Getting traveler insurance when diagnosed with a terminal illness isn't easy, and it isn't cheap.

There's nothing quite like your own pending demise to make you want to take all those trips that you never got around to taking. Death is a natural part of life, and we all have to go some time.

Sunset in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Sunset in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (photo: David Lee)

But what about getting traveler insurance for someone with a terminal illness?

What if you have been away from your birth country for a long time and want to see it again before you pass?

What about relatives you haven't seen in forever?

Can I get travel insurance if I have a terminal illness?

There's a good chance you can – if you can and are willing to pay (visit HBF to find out more). However, don't expect the endeavor to be a simple one.

Most insurance companies are not going to provide travel coverage to terminally ill people. It just doesn't work as a long-term sustainable business model. Let's take a closer look at why.

Insurance companies are for-profit organizations – and they make huge amounts of profit, more than just about any other business type.

Now, for an insurance company to make money on the premium payments they receive, they need to minimize the number of filed claims.

Minimizing claims depends on making safe bets about which policy candidates may, in fact, end up filing a claim.

Now, traveler insurance policies are all issued with certain common benefits in place.

You can have a policy customized to meet your needs and requirements concerning:

  • Medical care
  • Emergency evacuation coverage
  • Luggage recovery/replacement
  • Accidental death & dismemberment
  • Reservation cancellation protection
  • Coverage types

The two most potentially expensive types of claims possible on a travel insurance policy are medical care and emergency evacuation coverage – the same two that a terminally ill person may likely require.

If you require an emergency medical evacuation to your home country from a foreign land, the costs could easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

That kind of claim makes insurance actuaries sweat, shiver and shed painful tears of loss.

And that's the biggest reason you will have a tough time finding traveler insurance coverage if you have a terminal disease: high-risk betting.

Expensive traveler insurance for the terminally ill is available.

There are some insurance companies out there that specialize in higher-risk scenarios. They do provide travel coverage for chronic and terminal patients, but it's anything but cheap.

The insurance company is betting that you can make your trip and not encounter any need to file any claims.

You, as the policyholder, want to be covered if you find yourself in a serious health situation abroad and need to file a claim to avoid financial devastation.


This post was brought to you by HBF.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:


Thursday 27th of April 2017

I would like to know the insurance companies who are offering this.


Wednesday 27th of January 2016

who are those companies? this is a useful article but with no links to these companies

Siddhartha Joshi

Tuesday 3rd of June 2014


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