When Gayle Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, the shock and impending treatment were, of course, a blow. But because of Gayle’s enviable fighting spirit and a true passion for travel, she says one of the most daunting aspects of the disease was its potential impact on her ability to see the world:
“It’s more important than ever to live life to the full, and so my biggest issue with cancer was that I couldn’t get on a plane.”
Travel insurance, or an inability to get it, was Gayle’s barrier to travel. “Finding insurance was a real priority for me, as travel is so important to the life I want to lead,” she says.
No longer considered insurable
In addition to Gayle’s cancer diagnosis, she also has to declare deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on her travel insurance after a clot in 1997 and another in 2004, both of which spread to her lung.
“I had always been covered by my bank, but after this diagnosis, their travel insurance covered me for little more than my baggage,” she explains.
For a small premium (between £50 and £100), a medical underwriting company provided cover for the DVT. However, once she had to add cancer to her medical history, she discovered she was no longer considered insurable:
“I found this incredibly frustrating,” says Gayle. “At this point, the cancer had been removed, I had undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy – purely as a precaution – and the result was I had no cancer. However, aside from a couple of extortionate quotes (£743 for a 2-week, single-trip policy to Canada), I received an immediate ‘no’ from everyone, including specialist medical travel insurers.”
Discovering AllClear Travel
This was until she found AllClear Travel on a google search, and was able to purchase annual, worldwide cover: “I was extremely relieved and then gobsmacked at the cost – just £340 for an annual policy that covers trips to anywhere in the world, including all my trips to North America, where travel insurance is more expensive. The medical expenses and cancellation cover limits were also very high.”
Gayle says the process of getting insurance through AllClear was straightforward: “It’s comprehensive and detailed, but questions are written in such a way that you can simply answer yes or no, and the decision is almost instantaneous.”
When healthy, Gayle goes on three to four holidays a year, either with friends or family, or on her own. She has been all across the world, including safaris in Africa and South Africa, European poolside trips, Australia, Florida, the Grand Canyon and regularly to Canada to see friends that live there.
“You would have to be mad to travel without travel insurance – knowing the potential costs of medical treatment abroad, and I’m therefore meticulous in making sure that I declare everything to ensure I have complete confidence that I am covered. This way I can continue to lead my life and travel in the way that is so important to me.”
Recommended Travel actions
If you’re inspired to travel after reading Gayle’s Story; there are a few things we recommend:
- Be prepared to meet the entry requirements of your chosen destination by FCDO website.
- Check the ‘Traffic Light System‘ for quarantine requirements on return to the UK .
- Buy quality travel insurance for that includes enhanced COVID-19 cover.
Case study written in January 2020
Edited by Lydia Crispin, MA Content Creator at AllClear and Letitia Smith, M.Sc. Content Manager at AllClear