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Heart Disease And Travel Insurance

Heart disease is a broad term for a range of conditions that affect the heart. Heart disease could mean: blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects).

Heart disease is often used interchangeably with the term ‘cardiovascular disease’. Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

Heart disease is considered a pre-existing medical condition. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get travel insurance, but you do need to disclose your condition when you’re booking your travel insurance. You’ll also need to disclose your condition if you’ve had or have stents, previous heart attacks, if you have a pacemaker, an aortic valve replacement, or have had a stroke.

It’s important that we know about your heart disease so that you’ll know whether or not you’re covered if something happens to you because of your condition.

There are a few travel insurance options* if you have heart disease:
  • You can obtain travel insurance, but if you want your heart condition to be covered, you’ll need to pay an additional premium; or
  • you can obtain travel insurance, but it will mandatory to purchase coverage for your heart condition; or
  • your condition won’t be covered at all, but you can still purchase travel insurance.

Please note, there’s a possibility we might not be able to cover you at all, but we will tell you this after you have disclosed your condition and we have made an assessment.

*based on heart disease being your only pre-existing condition

How do i let you know about my heart condition? 

The process is simple and quick. You don’t need to call us and you don’t need to provide doctor’s certificates or other documents. All you need to do is fill out a simple questionnaire when you’re purchasing a policy online.

You’ll be asked about pre-existing conditions during your online purchase and if you select ‘yes', you’ll fill out the questionnaire. This is where we’ll ask you everything we need to know about your heart disease. 

Once you’ve filled out this questionnaire, you’ll immediately find out your travel insurance options.

Get A Quote & medical Assessment


travelling with Heart Disease

A heart condition is basically any condition related to the heart that affects its operation or the blood vessels it connects with. A heart condition can affect the heart muscle, the valves, the heart’s rhythm or the blood vessels. Common heart conditions include the following:

  • Coronary heart disease - This is the build-up of plaque on the inside of the arteries, which slows the blood flow to the heart.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - This is a blood clot in a deep vein of the body, usually your leg.
  • Atrial fibrillation - This is a type of arrhythmia, where the heart does not beat normally.
  • Familial hypercholesterolaemia - This is an inherited condition where the body is unable to remove enough cholesterol from the blood, often resulting in early onset of coronary heart disease.
  • Cardiomyopathy - This is a condition where the heart muscle becomes inflamed and enlarged, eventually stretching and weakening it.
  • Angina - This is chest pain caused by lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle.
  • Stent procedures and other prior operations. This includes, but is not limited to, operations involving the placement of a stent

Heart disease affects one in six Australians and is one of our largest health problems. With so many people affected, there are obviously a lot of people travelling with this condition - and so can you. But it’s important that you plan ahead and take all the necessary precautions, so that you too can have a safe and healthy trip.

Please note, the below is general advice only is not intended to replace the advice or information from a registered body or your doctor.

before You take off
  • Consider the type of holiday you’re choosing.  It’s important to consult your doctor when you’re planning a holiday. Things like mountain treks can take a toll on your body unless your condition is well managed. That’s because  high altitudes mean there is less oxygen in the air and therefore less oxygen in your blood. Holidays that involve a lot of activity may also have a similar impact, so make sure your doctor gives you the all-clear. 
  • Have a pre-trip check-up. Just before you’re due to depart, visit your doctor for another check-up to make sure your condition is still under control and it’s safe for you to travel.
  • Go to the doctor or pharmacy and stock up on more medication than you need.  If your trip home is delayed, you’ll want to have extra on hand. 
  • Ask your doctor to write a letter that details your condition and medication. Keep this with you at all times while you’re travelling. 
  • Make sure your medicines are packed in your hand luggage in case your luggage is lost/stolen or there are delays.
  • If you're in a new time zone you'll need to adjust the time you take your medication. Check with your doctor. 
  • If travelling by plane reserve your seat and print out our boarding pass in advance. This helps maximize your chance of getting a seat with good legroom and eases the stress of check-in. Be sure to check in well ahead of time.
  • Tell anyone you're travelling with about your condition and the plan for when you experience symptoms. 
While you're away
  • Pacemakers are often detected by security machines at airports. Let security staff know that you have it before you walk through. The security machines will generally not interfere with your device. 
  • If you have a pacemaker, keep all the details at hand. You’ll need to know the manufacturer, model and serial number in case anything happens while you’re away.
  • If you lose your medication or run out of medication while you’re away, you might consider visiting the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
  • Reduce stress. Travelling is fun but it can also be stressful. Give yourself plenty of time to do everything you need to at the airport so you’re not running around at the last minute.
  • Move around. Staying seated for prolonged periods may increase the risk of developing blood clots and leg swelling. Stand up and stretch at least every two hours. Also, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills when you're flying, unless you have your doctor's advice.
  • Eat your own snacks. Processed airline snacks can be full of salt, and it’s wise to go easy on the salt when you have a heart condition. 
  • Be very vigilant if you get diarrhea or stomach problems. Electrolyte and fluid imbalances can be risky for someone with a heart condition.Take oral rehydration salts if they’re available and seek medical attention. 

Heart Disease Related FAQs

  • What if i have to cancel my trip because of my heart condition?
  • If you already had your policy in place, declared your condition, and you had paid any additional premium (if required), and you weren’t reasonably aware of a reason to cancel your trip, then you may have a provision to claim for cancellations.  

  • How does heart disease affect my frequent traveller policy?
  • Cover for heart disease on a Frequent Traveller policy works in the same way as single trip policies.  You will need to complete a medical assessment to determine if we can offer the cover for your heart condition when you apply for a quote

  • What if I have heart disease as well as other pre-existing medical conditions?
  • If you have other pre-existing medical conditions that are not on our automatically covered list or they do not meet the critieria for automatic coverage, you will need to disclose them.

  • Do i need to pay more to get covered for my heart disease/heart condition?
  • Generally, yes, you will need to pay an additional premium to cover your heart condition. We will tell you once you have completed your medical assessment during your policy purchase.

  • Do I have to disclose my heart condition every time i buy travel insurance?
  • Yes, you do need to disclose your condition each time you travel. If you travel often it may be beneficial to take out one of our Frequent traveller policies.

  • Why won’t you cover my heart condition?
  • For some conditions and circumstances there may be an instance were we are unable to provide cover. We take in to account a number of factors including, but not limited to, where you are travelling to, the duration of the trip, and the condition itself. This allows us to balance the risk of the situation.

  • What happens if I don’t tell you about my heart condition?
  • You should make sure that you declare your condition, because if a claim arises related to an non-disclosed condition, you generally won't have a provision to claim under your policy.

    If you forgot to disclose your condition and your policy has not started, we may be able to add it. You can call our Customer Care Team to carry out an assessment for your condition.

    Please be aware that depending on the outcome of the assessment you may need to pay an additional premium. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to cover your condition even after you have declared it on an existing policy.

    All terms, conditions and limitations will apply in the same way as if you had declared the condition when you purchased the policy.

  • If I’m a senior and i have a heart condition, will you cover me?
  • We over cover to people of all ages, but you will need to complete a medical assessment to determine if we can offer cover for your heart condition. Your medical assessment can be completed online while you’re purchasing your policy, or you can contact us.



Do you need to know About...


pre-existing Conditions

A pre-existing medical condition is something that must be disclosed when you’re purchasing travel insurance. Find out what they are and how they affect your travel insurance.


You or someone you’re travelling with is going to have a baby…so you’ll need to find out how travel insurance works for pregnant women.


Repatriation is the process of returning a person home after a medical emergency or at worst case death. Being covered for repatriation is important so read the ins and outs.


It’s important that you have all the right vaccinations before you travel. From malaria to meningococcal, find out what you need to know about vaccinations and travel insurance.


Award Winning Travel Insurance

1Cover awards

One Last Thing: Handy resources 

The Heart Foundation is a charity dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. Their website has a plethora of information on every aspect of heart disease.




The Heart Foundation has a whole section dedicated to travelling after a heart attack. Find out what they have to say about people in this position.






find out more

IAMAT are a non-profit organization who help travellers plan a healthy trip,  and connect travellers with reputable English-speaking doctors. They are a useful point of contact for anyone travelling with a health condition.

People with heart disease/heart conditions often travel with medication from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Find out what you need to know on Medicare Australia’s official page for Australians overseas.