Travel Insurance for COPD Sufferers

It can be difficult to obtain travel insurance if you have COPD but don't worry, Insure Direct can help – we have access to a number of specialist travel insurance providers who can cover those suffering with COPD. Having cover for COPD is very important, especially in the event that you get ill and require treatment while you are abroad, or you may even need to cancel your trip as a result of your COPD.

COPD travel insurance cover

Insure Direct's panel of providers allow for online medical screening to be conducted for COPD sufferers. The online facility will offer a range of quotes from the UK's leading specialist medical travel insurance providers so you can choose the cover that suits you best. Generally, there is no upper age limit however quotes are processed on a case by case basis, based on medical history.


Breathing difficulties can be a major concern for COPD sufferers and as such, many people affected COPD may be reluctant to travel far from home. The key to travelling with COPD is preparation, particularly if you require the use of oxygen. Because of this, last minute deals are not a good idea and where possible you should plan your trips at least 4 to 6 weeks before departure. You should always seek medical advice before you book your travel. It is advisable to obtain the names of local doctors, hospitals, and clinics where you can get help if required – your own doctor or healthcare provider may be able to help you with this. Make sure the holiday providers at your destination understand your COPD and any special requirements you may have.

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Fit to fly

Certain airlines will require medical certificates confirming that you are currently stable and fit to fly – your GP can advise you on this. The amount of oxygen in an aircraft can be 15% compared to 21% on the ground. This fall in the level of oxygen can be quite dramatic for patients with COPD and can lead to increased shortness of breath, wheezing, light headedness, chest pain, and lack of oxygen as demonstrated by blue lips and/or finger nail beds. A fit to fly assessment can help identify those people who may suffer such symptoms.


You should always check specific airport and airline regulations on oxygen prior to travel and see if they will allow you to carry a portable oxygen concentrator on board. It may not be possible to take your normal oxygen on the flight due to a change of altitude and cabin pressure which increases the risk of any pressurized container exploding, but some airlines may provide supplemental oxygen. Book direct flights whenever possible as this eliminates the need to have oxygen during any layovers. Always be sure to arrive at the airport in plenty of time.

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Drink lots of fluids

The air on the plane tends to be dry and the last thing you want is the lining of your respiratory tract becoming dehydrated.

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Check with your cruise company before you make your booking about your oxygen requirements. Provide the cruise line with a letter from your doctor. This should include a brief medical history, and ensure your doctor provides a current prescription for oxygen as well. Most cruise ships are accommodating as long as they have advance notice you will be onboard.

Travelling by car

You should keep the windows closed to avoid fumes from the traffic. Place your oxygen upright in the seat beside you. If you can, secure the unit with a seat belt. If you have additional oxygen units, place them on the floor behind the front seats. Plan your route for times when the roads won’t be too congested.


Check how much medication you will need to last through your trip. When possible, carry a water bottle with you so that you always have a drink available to take your medication. Remember you may need a Doctor’s letter to accompany your medication.

An adequate supply of oxygen

If you use oxygen, check if your current oxygen prescription needs to be adjusted for any extra activity. Your supplier may be able to provide you with compressed portable oxygen supplies for use in an emergency. Several oxygen-supply companies have outlets across the country and can arrange to have oxygen delivered to your destination when you arrive. Check how long your portable oxygen cylinder will last and know what to do in an emergency. You should always carry a spare oxygen cylinder in case of unexpected delays while travelling.

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