Since the recent “million dollar baby” incident in Hawaii, travellers have come to us with many questions around pre-existing conditions: What are they? Who should be concerned? Are there any grey areas? What do I do if I think I have one, or I’m not sure?
This guide is intended to answer your questions and concerns about travel insurance and pre-existing conditions—so that, rather than feeling afraid, you can have peace of mind when booking your next trip.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Any medical condition you have been diagnosed with or treated for prior to the effective date of your insurance policy.
Pre-existing conditions can affect any traveller. There is no age minimum or maximum when it comes to pre-existing conditions.
What happens if I develop a medical problem after purchasing travel insurance, but before leaving on my trip?
When you purchase travel insurance coverage, you do so with the understanding that your health meets the specific requirements of the policy. If there is any change in your health after you purchase insurance, but before your date of effective coverage, you must report it to your insurer right away. Otherwise, you could invalidate your coverage.
Can I get travel insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?
Yes—but some restrictions apply.
First, each insurer will have limitations and exclusions. It’s important to read the fine print of any policy you’re considering to make sure that your condition will be covered, and under what circumstances. If you’re not sure or need help understanding the details, ask your insurance agent—or you can always drop us a line.
What do I need to know when applying for insurance coverage?
First, understand that you must be honest when you apply for insurance coverage. If you withhold any information, your claim could be denied—even if it’s information about a condition that’s completely unrelated to your claim. So make sure you pay close attention to the questions you are asked.
Another important thing to note: If your doctor is aware of a change in your health, but doesn’t communicate it to you (because they deem it unimportant, for instance), your insurance claim can still be denied because of withheld information—even though you didn’t know the information yourself. Unfortunately, doctors aren’t always aware of travel insurance requirements. So, when filling out a medical questionnaire for an insurance policy, make sure you ask your doctor for the full details.
How insurable is your pre-existing condition? Check our Insurability Guide.
What does “stable” mean?
The TuGo Quest Plan features unique options for travellers with pre-existing conditions. Find out more…
Finally, insurance policies for pre-existing conditions will usually have stability requirements. In other words, most insurers will only cover pre-existing conditions if they are considered stable.
Basically, having a stable condition means that your condition has been unchanged for a specified period of time before you travel.
Every insurance company has their own definition of stable and their own periods of stability, so, again, it’s important to check the fine print of your policy or ask your insurance agent if you need clarification.
The following things could mean that your condition will be considered unstable:
- If you’ve had a change in your diagnosis
- If you’ve received any medical treatment
- If any ongoing treatment has been changed
- If your medication has been adjusted
- If you are awaiting the results of any medical tests
Be aware that any change—not just a negative change—can make your condition qualify as unstable. For instance, even if your doctor lowers your dose of medication because your condition is improving, that is still considered a change that would make your condition unstable.
So, what do I do if there’s a change in my stability?
Always inform your insurer right away of any changes to your health. If you don’t, your coverage could be invalidated.
For more information, download our brochure (requires Adobe Reader).
Have any more questions about travelling with pre-existing conditions? We’re here to help.