Travel expert: What expectant mothers should know about insurance
What is actually covered by travel insurance when you're pregnant?
Getting travel insurance when you're pregnant can be tricky. Not only are there a host of terms and conditions to read through but the wording of travel insurance policies can often be confusing.
While many travel insurance brands do cover pregnant travellers, make sure you've read through your policy document and understand what is covered. Most brands will list the maximum number of weeks pregnant a traveller can be to be eligible for cover, which can be anywhere from 18 to 32 weeks.
For example, Travel Insurance Direct (TID) will cover "an expectant mother’s usual medical expenses, hospital bills and even medical evacuation if deemed necessary – but only up to the end of the 26th week of pregnancy in the case of a single birth, or 19 weeks for a multiple birth," according to TID travel safety expert Phil Sylvester.
In this case, you will be covered if a "complication" arises with the pregnancy which forces you to seek medical attention. But what are complications?
"Common complications for pregnant women include pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes (although this usually doesn’t show up until after the 26th week), miscarriage or placenta previa (although commonly this does not occur until the third trimester – 30 weeks or more – so would not be covered)," Sylvester said.
It's important to point out that in most cases while you will be covered for medical costs that arise due to "complications" associated with pregnancy, you won't be covered for any costs that are related to childbirth.
"Costs associated with childbirth are excluded because of their very high cost. It is an event likely to occur to a very small number of insured travellers, but the associated risk of exposure means premiums would have to rise significantly for all policyholders – the majority of whom are not or ever will be travelling while pregnant. It’s a matter of fairness in some respects," Sylvester said.
This stance is pretty universal across the industry, although Columbus Direct does offer a pregnancy extension that covers childbirth and care of a newborn born during a trip for an additional premium.