Travel in India with type 1 diabetes – buying travel insurance

In late July 2011, exactly 7 months after Amy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we backpacked around India for four weeks, in a trip we called Monsoon Meandering.

This is post 4 in the series about that trip and its planning and how type 1 diabetes played a part.

Nah, we don’t need travel insurance

I’ve heard of so many people who travel without insurance in the hope that nothing happens to them. To me, that’s just plain craziness, why take the risk for what is such a small amount of money compared to the rest of the trip. If you’ve been to India you’ll know that health and safety doesn’t currently feature very highly and allegedly its roads are a death trap – although I don’t believe this – so please, please get yourself travel insurance.

Surely type 1 diabetes is really going to raise the price

To be fair, you’d expect this to happen a bit wouldn’t you? But going to the USA raises your travel insurance premium drammatically too and that’s no reason not to go to America; no, there’s many other reasons not to go there 🙂 (Sorry USA but I love Asia; I love experiencing different ways of life; I enjoy meeting people I wouldn’t normally meet; that’s all.)

Travel insurance cost from the previous trip

From memory the cost of annual Worldwide* travel insurance from our previous trip to India in 2009 was about £80.
*Worldwide these days doesn’t include USA/Canada which is ironic since all the ‘World Series’ sporting competitions exclude all countries except them.

Getting the first quote

It seemed quite natural to go to Google, type in ‘diabetes travel insurance’, click Go and see which insurers I recognised (as reputable) were listed.
I did this and along with Insurance Revenue marketing tips (which would be useful for people managing the insurance services), one of the UK diabetes charities/companies turned up in the list so that seemed a good place to start. Honestly I can’t remember which one but I’m fairly sure it had a red logo and web site and it definitely wasn’t DiabetesUK or JDRF.
I did an online quote and out popped the figure, a rather unsurprising £300. I’d expected an inflated premium so I wasn’t too shocked at this.

Always get a second quote

Knowing that my house insurance provider (MoreThan) gave me a good premium for my house insurance I decided to give them a try. Rather sneakily I thought I’d find out how much the annual worldwide trip premium would be for a family without type 1 diabetes. I called a competitor, One Sure Insurance and it came in at £85, so insurance had gone up about £5 since our trip two years before.
I then adjusted my details to put in the minor ‘forgotten’ detail of Amy having diabetes and waited for the inflated premium to show its face.
Surely that couldn’t be right, I must have made a mistake, so I checked the details again.
It couldn’t be right so I picked up the telephone and ask them to do me a quote as their web site wasn’t working.
“Certainly sir”…”that works out at…£85”.
“And that definitely includes cover for my daughter’s type 1 diabetes?”
“Yes sir”
“So if she has a diabetes related problem any issues are covered by the travel insurance?”
“Yes sir”
“So if she needs hospital treatment for the condition which existed BEFORE the policy was taken out she’s still covered?”
“Yes sir”.
Wow, sign me up Mr MoreThan, now.
(I know of course that I should have really gone for a third quote but I honestly didn’t think I’d beat it, with a company I trusted.)

So there it is, travel insurance didn’t cost any more for a family with type 1 diabetes then a family without.

Note to self: maybe check the rest of the details next time

So excited was I at getting the premium I didn’t check a key detail – I thought I had but the insurance company said I didn’t – and I wasn’t covered if we missed out flight home from Mumbai to Heathrow.
For most holidays this wouldn’t be too much of a problem as you would be likely to be quite close to your airport of departure, but we weren’t. I didn’t plan to be in Mumbai for long and the train journey to Mumbai was from Goa along the beautiful Konkan railway, a route which suffers from mud sliding on to the track and blocking the route. It mainly suffers during monsoon times, just the time when we were going!
What made it worse was that we loved Goa so much that I changed trains at the last minute which made our window even narrower, arriving at Mumbai at 10pm and departing only 12 hours later.
Luckily no mud slid onto the tracks.

Next up – the diabetes travel kit

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One Response to Travel in India with type 1 diabetes – buying travel insurance

  1. steph says:

    Wow, will try them when my travel insurance runs out! I’m with virgin at the moment and paying £80 for annual worldwide insurance but it’s just for me, not my whole family

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