Ataxia UK
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Travel Insurance nightmare

Travel Insurance nightmare

Trying to do the right thing, I telephoned Lloyds TSB today to notify the Travel Insurance section about my recently diagnosed Ataxia. What a mistake. Apart from anything else, I foolishly expected the fact that I am a Platinum account customer to mean something in the way I would be treated. wrong.

(The reason for doing this in advance of any travel plans, is that I have two quite elderly parents...)

A few hours after the telephone call I am still seething with anger and frustration, and will seriously consider moving my account to another bank.

The short story is as follows:

Initially, they wouldn't even go through the evaluation - which would determine whether and at what cost, they might consider covering me for travel insurance - as my Ataxia is not yet fully diagnosed. In their terminology as far as I understand it, the diagnosis must be completed so they know what the treatment is... or it might be something else, etc.

Because they don't appear to understand Ataxia, they seem to treat it as something which might suddenly develop complications and require emergency treatment (for example). No surprise here.

After finally getting through to a manager, the conversation worsened. He was very nice, but continued to insist on Ataxia being treated like all other medical conditions, even though he claimed to have had other customers with Ataxia. Level playing field was the term he used.

He did concede that the further tests, I had foolishly mentioned, would not bring about any change in the basic diagnosis and nor would it result in a treatment to cure the condition...

This led him to start the evaluation. It was at this stage that the conversation plummeted, with the questions becoming too personal for uncomfortable and a little intrusive.

I finally gave up when he insisted I describe exactly what each of my medication was for. The final straw was when he insisted I had to telephone my doctor and get that detailed information before they could continue to consider my application for travel insurance.

I will either not be travelling in the future, or will travel without travel insurance - at least not with Lloyds TSB.

If you were to consider avoiding these sorts of problems by skirting the facts or by being economical with the detail, then I think you run the risk of the insurance not being paid when you need it.

Uncomfortable. Unfortunate.

10 Replies

try allclear I do not know much about them and i used I think I was un insurable but i put in my details for curiosity and ataxia was in their drop down list so they know about it and the premium didn't seem to bad I hope this helps


Thanks John for the suggestion.



Sorry to hear about your experience.

I was diagnosed 6 years ago and had the same problem with Lloyds TSB. Eventually I contacted the AA and have had no problems since.




Hi Wyndham

Sorry to hear about your experiences with Lloyds TSB. If you contact our Helpline we can give you some more information about travel insurance, and other companies not mentioned here, and I'm sure you will be able to get much better service than you have received from Lloyds TSB. Please don't let it put you off travelling, if it's what you enjoy doing, as many people with ataxia travel the world and manage to get good insurance cover. You can call the Helpline on 0845 644 0606 or email:




I have to pay £80 extra with my travel insurance.You are right , they dont know what ataxia is as it doesnt fit iknto a box.They are clerks at the other end.We just get lumped with the rare disease lot.


Spot on Marrie.


Aren't you driving yet Iain?Thought you would be whzizing about by now.The irony is I have my licence now for another year but I only dtrive now in emergencies.I dont trust my eye sight anymore judging distances and I go too slow and too cautiously.I like having my licence though as it makes me feel more independent. I have recently changed to a road scooter which means I can look round safely.Hope you get your licence soon.



Still waiting to hear from DVLA Marie. Read my blog, 'Driving licence' for more info. Unlike yourself Marie my eyesite is okay at the moment. I too use a scooter but only use it on the pavements. Nice to hear you feel more indepedant. Wishing you well.


Reply 2009 I travelled Mexico' ........also lived there for a year with Ataxia (not recommended/) no problems with travel insurance. like you informed the insurer of my exact diagnosis..........cerrebella ataxia, thats all the info they had. no extra. the only thing they asked me if I had any early dementia; I said no so that was that, no extra to a normal traveller. bizarre yes but thats what happened. the insurer was from the back of the observer........Atlas?


We also had this problem when we booked our holiday, they wouldn't insure my daughter untill all her diagnosis/ test were complete, and at her age im sure she will have to undergo these for the rest of her life? so found an insurance company that understood but still cost us extra!


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