Woman with cancer quoted almost £1,000 for travel insurance
- Credit: Claire Melton/Insurancewith
A woman living with breast cancer has said she felt "discriminated against" when it came to finding insurance to travel abroad with her family, saying many companies refused to cover her.
Claire Melton, from Wymondham, spent hours on the phone trying to find insurers to cover her trip to Tenerife with her husband, with one quoting more than £900 for a week - almost as much as the cost of her holiday.
The 51-year-old was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2018 after finding a lump. Scans found the cancer, which is incurable but treatable, had spread to her bones.
She has been receiving medication to treat the condition and has been stable since August 2018.
Mrs Melton, who took redundancy during the pandemic, hoped to go on holiday to allow her be "cancer free for a week or two".
But many insurers were charging "ridiculous prices" to cover the trip, leaving her feeling "sad and guilty" for her husband.
Despite her condition being manageable, she struggled to find travel insurance that did not cost more than £300 for a weeks’ cover out of around 20 quotes.
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“I don’t feel any different to pre-cancer", she said.
“Which is why it’s so frustrating trying to get decent travel insurance prices, as I am well and stable.
“Many [travel insurers] wouldn’t insure me because I have cancer, even though my prognosis is very good and my oncologist has given me permission to travel."
The 51-year-old explained that one insurer quoted her £926 for seven days of cover to Tenerife.
The mother-of-two added: "I cried thinking I’ll never be able to go away again. I told my husband and children they could go away without me.
"I feel guilty [that] my diagnosis had imposed this on my family.
"I felt discriminated against, and jealous of others.
"Why should everyone else be able to go away carefree on holiday and I can’t? I need a break, yet it’s being made unaffordable.”
But Mrs Melton later found specialist medical provider Insurancewith, which meant she did not have to risk travelling without insurance. It offered protection at £47 for both her and her husband.
She said: “Once I received the quote from Insurancewith, I felt so happy and relieved that I could finally have a holiday and peace of mind that I would be covered, as I was prepared to go away without any insurance.
"As I know from my diagnosis, you just never know what’s going to happen in life. It’s nice to know you’re covered for the unexpected."
The provider said those who suffer with medical conditions should not be forced to pay "extortionate" travel insurance prices or risk travelling without adequate protection, at a time when many may be considering booking their first holiday abroad since the pandemic.
It said it wanted to highlight the struggles some people with serious medical conditions face when trying to find suitable cover.
Fiona Macrae, founder, created the travel insurance brand after struggling to find travel insurance cover following her own cancer diagnosis.
She now works with charities and other health groups to try and help others facing the same challenges as Mrs Melton.
Ms Macrae, who lives with incurable stage 4 cancer, said: “No-one should ever be faced with the decision to miss out on a holiday or travel without cover.”
Mrs Melton has since returned from her holiday to the Canaries this February and said she enjoyed relaxing, sunbathing and eating out. "We had an amazing fun time," she added.