After months of hospital appointments, gruelling treatment — and sheer emotional strain — most people diagnosed with cancer deserve a holiday.
Yet for the 2.5 million people in the UK living with the disease, this is often impossible.
Not because it isn’t safe for them to travel, or their doctor has advised against it, but because they can’t get insurance.
Many are told by major travel insurers that they are uninsurable, or that they are so risky they can only get cover if they exclude cancer-related claims. And who would take that risk?
Travel ban: Many cancer sufferers told by major travel insurers that they are uninsurable, or that they are so risky they can only get cover if they exclude cancer-related claims
Others are quoted premiums as high as £4,000 for two weeks in Spain. Even those who have had the all-clear for years, and are not on any medication, are penalised.
Yet, if the same person goes to a specialist insurer, they are often able to get cover for a fraction of the cost.
Money Mail wrote in April about one woman who had been refused cover by 20 insurers and quoted more than £3,000 for a two-week trip to Canada.
After we pointed her towards a specialist firm, she was offered a policy for £134.
However, these companies are not listed on price comparison websites and they don’t have a huge marketing budget to flood primetime TV with adverts.
Mainstream insurers live in the past, where a cancer diagnosis meant a death sentence.
Today, half of people with cancer survive for at least ten years — double the number 40 years go.
Many will return to work after treatment and live a relatively normal life. But still, insurers hear the word ‘cancer’ and panic — particularly where a diagnosis is terminal.
There will be times when, as heartbreaking as it is, it isn’t safe for someone to travel.
But, thanks to new drugs and advancements in treatment, there are many cases where even someone with a terminal condition can remain stable and well for years.
And they should be able to go on holiday during this time without needing to remortgage their house.
It is true they will probably not live as long as someone without cancer, but firms are not insuring someone’s life, just a week or two in the sun.
If insurers don’t want to cover cancer patients, that is their prerogative. But they should direct customers to a specialist and not charge rip-off premiums — even if it is to try to deter people.
This is where price comparison websites could do more to help.
Instead of guiding people to the ‘best’ of the expensive insurers, they should give the number of a specialist firm that can provide a fair and sensible quote.
The City watchdog is finally paying attention. It is calling on travel insurers to explain how they calculate prices for people with cancer and other common long-term conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure.
By the end of the year, it hopes to release its findings and set out how things can be improved.
Then, finally, travel insurance policies might catch up with the advances in medical care.
For now, at least, no one is going to help you save money on your energy bills. The Conservative manifesto had promised to cap energy prices if they were voted into power.
This was set to reduce bills by around £100 a year for the millions of households on their supplier’s most expensive deal.
But in the Queen’s Speech, the Government said only that it would publish a green paper on ways to fix the energy market.
In the meantime, anyone who doesn’t shop around for best deals will continue to pay too much.
So, while I’m sure you’ve read this plea in Money Mail on at least a dozen occasions, humour me one more time.
If you need help finding a new tariff, each week our Best Buys tables list four of the top deals on offer.
Or you can try websites such as Energyhelpine and uSwitch. If you don’t have a computer, call 0800 634 3868 or 0800 6888 557.
With inflation snapping at our heels, this is a simple way you can protect your pocket.