What is a pre-existing medical condition?
A pre-existing medical condition usually means any medical condition which you have or symptoms that appeared at any time prior to purchasing your policy or at any time prior to departing on your trip. These pre-existing medical conditions or symptoms may be subject to coverage limitations which are described in the travel insurance policy.
Getting insurance with a pre-existing medical condition
Many people with pre-existing medical conditions assume they are ineligible for travel insurance; this may not be true. In many cases you can get insurance which includes coverage for stable pre-existing medical conditions.
Some pre-existing medical conditions, like a cold, may not be a big deal. For others, you may need to provide a little more information to your insurance company before they will issue a policy. In this case, you’ll be asked to complete a medical questionnaire. This will determine if you are eligible for a policy, and if so, what the terms of coverage and the premium will be based on your situation. If, after you complete the medical questionnaire, you are not eligible, your insurer may be able to provide coverage after collecting additional information from your doctor through a more detailed application process.
The benefit of this process is that you will have peace of mind to know what you are covered for while away with coverage provided based on your situation. Remember to check the policy terms to understand what coverage is provided for your pre-existing medical conditions as some limitations may apply.
Speak to your insurance company or an insurance expert to find out if your pre-existing medical condition is insurable before assuming it isn’t.
Qualifying for insurance with a pre-existing medical condition
Many insurance companies will provide coverage if your pre-existing medical condition is “stable.” The definition and duration of stability can vary depending on the insurance company, and policy. Generally, to be considered stable your condition must meet some common requirements within a certain period of time before your departure or the effective date of coverage. Check your policy for coverage terms and definitions. The term ‘stable’ may require the following in relation to a pre-existing medical condition:
- No new diagnosis, treatment or prescribed medication
- No change in treatment or medication, including the amount taken or frequency
- No new symptoms or more frequent or severe symptoms
- No test results showing deterioration
- Not awaiting test results investigating the condition
- Not been hospitalized or referred to a specialist
The cost of insuring a stable pre-existing medical condition
If you have a pre-existing medical condition there is a chance that the cost of your policy will increase. How much it increases depends on a number of factors, including the type and severity of the pre-existing medical condition(s), your age and the length of your trip.
Travelling with coverage from a credit card or employer
If you have travel insurance through your employer or a credit card, be sure to review the policy before travelling. There may be limitations on the length of the trip you can take, your age and/or the type of coverage provided.
Speak to an insurance expert about your options to ensure you are protected when you travel.
Can I just not mention my pre-existing medical conditions?
This is NOT a good idea!
Getting a policy doesn’t necessarily mean you actually have the coverage. If you complete a medical questionnaire for a travel insurance policy and you do not answer the medical questions truthfully and accurately, the policy may be considered invalid and any medical claims you make against that policy will be denied.
Even coverage for trip cancellation may be denied if you have misrepresented any material information on your medical questionnaire.
If your application for travel insurance does not include a medical questionnaire, you may have some coverage for stable pre-existing conditions. Check your policy wording carefully for pre-existing medical condition limitations or exclusions.
Speak to an insurance expert about your options for travel insurance. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be able to get coverage if your condition is stable. In all situations, be sure you understand the eligibility requirements, any limitations on coverage and what you are covered for before you travel.