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Travel Insurance & Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: What You Need To Know
Thinking of purchasing travel insurance for an upcoming trip, but you’re unsure how a pre-existing medical condition may affect your cover, and its price?
In this article you’ll learn what’s considered a pre-existing medical condition, how it might impact your travel insurance policy options, and why the Australian government still recommends having travel insurance, even if your specific condition won’t be covered.
What is a pre-existing medical condition?
Generally speaking, a pre-existing medical condition is any ongoing medical or dental condition that you are aware of or a medical or dental condition you’ve received medical advice, treatment, or medication for. Frequent examples include asthma, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, or a recent injury.
Depending on the condition and also on the insurer, the time period for which this condition will exclude you from cover related to the condition can vary.
Is your condition covered by your travel insurance policy?
Don’t instantly assume that a pre-existing medical condition means you won’t be covered.
Some insurers will offer automatic coverage for some conditions if you’ve been stable for a stipulated period of time, no surgery or specialist review is planned, and you haven’t required hospitalisation for a stipulated period of time.
In addition, for other conditions, cover may be available following an assessment process.
You may also find that cover for your pre-existing condition is available for a small additional fee. Alternatively, you may feel comfortable choosing a policy that excludes your pre-existing condition, but still covers you for any of the other things that could go wrong while travelling.
But whatever you decide, it’s always best to disclose your pre-existing condition1, as failure to do so could void your entire travel insurance policy.
Why travel insurance?
For most people, your pre-existing medical condition is something that you’re actively managing and keeping under control. This means that the likelihood of this being the cause of issues on your trip is hopefully small.
But there’s lots of other things that can go wrong on your travels, which is why the Australian government recommends having suitable travel insurance. Here’s just a few examples of what’s typically covered:
- Being injured in an accident and requiring medical treatment and even repatriation
- Developing an illness unrelated to your pre-existing condition
- Losing luggage or having possessions stolen
- Travel delays resulting in missed hotel/flight bookings
- Causing an injury to someone else or accidentally damaging their property
What about pregnancy? Is that a pre-existing medical condition?
Yes, pregnancy is considered a pre-existing medical condition. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t travel. If you do decide to travel while pregnant, and you’re thinking of purchasing travel insurance, it’s critical that you disclose this to your insurer.
You should shop around for a pregnancy-specific policy that will provide cover for things like cancellation due to pregnancy-related medical issues, if your doctor declares you’re no longer fit to travel, or for emergency birth overseas (but coverage periods vary by insurer and for single or multiple births, so make sure you check the details before booking your trip).
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*iSelect does not compare all travel insurers or policies in the market. Travel insurance is only available through our website and not all policies are available at all times or in all areas. Not all policies made available from our partners are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements and customer circumstances not all policies compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Click here to view iSelect’s range of providers.
iSelect General Pty Limited ABN 90 131 798 126, AFS Licence Number: 334115. Any advice provided by iSelect is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice iSelect gives you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on iSelect’s advice or purchasing any policy. You should consider iSelect’s Financial Services Guide which provides information about our services and your rights as a client of iSelect. iSelect receives commission for each policy sold.