Travel advice and Insurance

Travel Advice

Having a colostomy should not prevent you from travelling at home or abroad, whether it is for business or pleasure.  The only difference is that you need to plan ahead and be prepared.

Ostomates travelling abroad can enjoy their holiday as much as their companions provided, before departure, they make additional preparations for their comfort both whilst travelling and at their destination.  Travelling abroad needs special care and attention.

Our Travel Advice booklet is full of useful information. For a copy please click here.

The Colostomy Association has produced a holiday checklist which you may find helpful, it also includes some hints and tips for you. For a copy of our Holiday Checklist please click here.

Travel Insurance for Ostomates 

Insurance and the Ostomate
Stomas in themselves are not the cause of higher premiums; it is the pre-existing condition that resulted in the stoma that concerns the insurance company. However, in general, mainstream insurance companies are getting better at offering reasonable rates to ostomates and there are now specialist medical insurers who can help.
Worth Remembering
1. Having a stoma should not affect any household buildings or contents insurance.
2. Having a stoma should not affect any car insurance – assuming you are declared medically fit to drive.
3. Having a stoma is likely to affect Life Insurance, Medical Insurance/BUPA, Critical Illness Insurance,
Mortgage Insurance, Travel & Medical Insurance and Key Person Insurance because a stoma is the result of some other medical condition.
4. When asking for insurance make sure you declare everything. Declare the stoma and the medical condition that resulted in your stoma. And don’t forget to declare any other pre-existing medical conditions. If you fail to do this it may invalidate the insurance.
5. Shop around. So how do you get the best Travel and Medical Insurance at the best price?
(This also applies for Life Insurance, Mortgage Insurance, Medical Insurance/BUPA, Critical Illness Insurance and Key Person Insurance, etc.)
For New Ostomates
The more recent your surgery and the longer your stay in hospital the higher the premium loading is likely to be. In insurance terms one year is a good milestone. If you have been out of hospital and treatment free for a year then this will help to keep the loading of the premium down. If you decide to travel 11 months after your treatment it might be worth delaying this until 12 months have passed as you may well benefit from a better premium.
It is worth speaking to the specialist insurance companies who understand medical conditions. There may well be a loading on the premium but this is likely to be a great deal less than you would pay with a mainstream insurance company. There have been instances when mainstream insurance companies have charged cancer patients 10 times the normal premium. And recently someone was quoted travel insurance at £1,000 for a two week stay in the USA which a specialist company arranged for just £180.
For those who have had a stoma for a number of years
If you have had a stoma for a number of years and do not need medical attention for this or the condition that caused it you there is no reason why there should be a loading on the premium. And you will probably get the best rates by approaching the mainstream insurance companies because you and your condition may well fall outside their area of concern.
It is also possible with insurance companies to elect not to insure the pre-existing medical condition or stoma, if you don’t think anything will go wrong or you feel that you can handle it. Mind you, if you opt for this and the pre-existing medical condition results in hospitalisation during the period of insurance and repatriation, you will be in for a big bill. Repatriation by air from Europe costs in excess of £25,000 and then there will have been the medical costs in the country where you were staying.
Customer Consideration
If you do have a complicated pre-existing condition that requires treatment it may be better to speak to the specialist medical insurance companies because their staff are likely to be more understanding and informed about your condition. There have been comments from people in the past that mainstream travel insurance company call centre staff have been insensitive and have asked whether callers had a "terminal diagnosis". On occasion they did not know what a mastectomy was. On that basis, describing your ostomy is likely to go way above their heads.
You may also be asked about certain types of medication such as anti-depressants. Anyone who has experienced long term hospitalisation or a reasonable stay in ITU will have been given anti-depressants by the hospital. Always declare exactly what you are taking. Generally as long as you have not been admitted
to hospital with a mental illness within the last 12 months, the taking of anti-depressants should not affect the premium.
Insurance Companies
Please refer to our Travel Insurance Factsheet for a list of specialist and mainstream companies.
Getting Quotes
Don't just ring one company. As ever, it pays to shop around as quotes can vary substantially. A recent "mystery shopping" exercise showed that one company would charge a 63-year-old woman with a history of breast cancer £30 for a two-week holiday in Cyprus. While another company, on the other hand, quoted £85 for the same insurance.
And if you need further advice, it might be an idea to contact the Association of British Insurers at:
Association of British Insurers
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7600 3333
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you are travelling in the European Economic Area EEA you should always carry a European Health Insurance Card. EHIC, which replaces the old E111, as well of course as your travel insurance. The EHIC allows you to benefit from reciprocal health agreements in EEA countries and will entitle you to free or reduced cost medical care in the country you are visiting, although you may have to pay for certain things at the time and then claim the money back later.
The EHIC doesn’t cover you for any medical treatment you have planned in advance, only for medical emergencies, although it will cover you for continued treatment for an ongoing illness while you are abroad, such as regular injections.
The European Economic Area EEA
Countries included are; Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland*, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Malta,Netherlands, Norway*, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom.
*Part of the EEA but not part of the European Union EU
You can apply for a card by phone on 0845 606 2030 or on line at or by post – pick up an EHIC form from the Post Office. Remember to allow 3-4 weeks for the card to arrive!
Please be aware that: reciprocal health service agreements do not always cover the full cost of treatment.
They do not cover the cost of getting you home in an emergency, for instance. It is always advisable to have travel insurance even when travelling around the EU. But you'll still need a European Health
Insurance Card because your insurance company may not cover the cost of treatment that the card covers.
If you try to claim in full, they may say you should have had a card! Always read the small print. You can find out about these health agreements in the 'Health Advice for Travellers' booklet available from your Post Office.
And of course the level of the premium is also governed by where you are travelling. In the USA medical costs are very high and premiums reflect this. Next comes the rest of the world and then we have Europe where medical costs tend to be the lowest and attract lower premiums.
Getting a Quote
Travel insurance is an essential requirement when taking a trip.
The CA have a special arrangement via Bournemouth Insurance Group (BIG) who provide a range of policies suitable for ostomates and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions.  These are administered by Peter Martin, an ostomate and long standing volunteer of the CA, who is a qualified insurance practitioner.
If you require travel insurance, please click on the Getting a Quote link here and under the heading reference you will need to put CA DIRECT or call BIG on 0120 288 7817 or 0120 251 2161 quoting the CA when calling.  You can obtain a quotation and purchase insurance for a single trip or annual multi trip cover if you wish and can view the insurance details online.
For any queries regarding travel insurance please refer these to BIG only.  Please do not refer any queries about the quote facility to us.
BIG is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) no 301717 and have partnered with to offer travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions. is a trading name of the Ancile Insurance Group Limited who are authorised and regulated by the FCA, No. 471641
The CA can provide a factsheet detailing a selection of insurers including BIG that cover pre-existing medical conditions; this is available on our website (below) or from the CA head office - please contact: 0800 328 4257.
When asking for insurance make sure you declare everything.  Declare the stoma and the medical condition that resulted in your stoma.  And don't forget to declare any other pre-existing medical conditions.  If you fail to do this you may invalidate the insurance.
If you would like to know more, or have any direct queries or problems speak to Peter on 0120 288 7817 or 0120 251 2161 who is tasked with ensuring that the scheme runs smoothly.
Insurance Factsheet  This link is a detailed list of insurers who will cover ostomates
 For more hints and tips on Travel Insurance, please click here.

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