Do you have a pre-existing medical condition? Find out if you can get travel insurance.
Having a pre-existing medical condition doesn't mean you can't get travel insurance or have to fork out more cash. It just means you have to look a little harder for the right policy.
This article will take a look at the conditions that are normally covered by travel insurance and how to get covered for a pre-existing medical condition.
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Be straight up
Know your medical history
- That you are aware of
- For which you are having or have had treatment in the past
- You are treating with prescribed medication
- You previously had surgery for
How do I know if my condition is covered?
- Bell’s Palsy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Coeliac Disease
- Congenital Blindness
- Congenital Deafness
- Diabetes Mellitus (Type I and II)
- Dry Eye Syndrome
- Folate Deficiency
- Gastric Reflux
- Graves’ Disease
- Hiatus Hernia
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Lipids
- Impaired Glucose Tolerance
- Insulin Resistance
- Iron Deficiency Anaemia
- Macular Degeneration
- Meniere’s Disease
- Pernicious Anaemia
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Raynaud’s Disease
- Sleep Apnoea
- Solar Keratosis
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Trigger Finger
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency.
If you suffer from any of the conditions listed below, you will be covered for any sections of the policy related to medical expenses/repatriation or trip cancellation/lost deposits.
- Conditions where you have been given a terminal or palliative prognosis with a shortened life expectancy
- If you require oxygen therapy or home oxygen for the journey
- Aids defining illness
- If you have had or are having an organ transplant in the future
If you suffer from any of the conditions listed below, you will need to declare these to your insurance company. The company will then assess the condition and determine if they can provide cover for that condition and/or journey.
- Cardiac or heart conditions
- Respiratory or lung conditions
- Metastatic or secondary cancer
- Dementia or memory loss
- If you require the accompaniment of a full-time minder
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Heart problems (e.g. coronary angiography, pacemakers, etc)
- Any conditions requiring surgery in the last two years
- Certain kinds of diabetes
Whether your insurer covers your condition will depend on its severity, how recent it is and the extent to which it is being controlled by medication.
What questions will I be asked when I declare my condition?
Typically you'll be asked:
- What is name of your condition?
- What medications have been taken in treatment of the condition?
- If you are treated for blood pressure or diabetes, what was the last reading?
- Have you changed your treatment medication recently, generally in the last 3 months?
- Have you seen a medical practitioner recently, generally in the last three months?
- Have you been admitted or undergone treatment in a hospital in the last 12 months?
- Are you currently awaiting a medical review or treatment?
- Have you smoked in the last 12 months?
If you don't declare your condition you will not be covered for any claims for losses that have occurred as a result of your condition. In some cases, your insurance provider can also choose to cancel your policy if they feel you have purposely withheld information that may increase the likelihood of a claim occurring.
How is pregnancy assessed as a pre-existing condition?
Most travel insurers will cover pregnancy, providing it satisfies the following criteria:
- Your trip ends on or before your 26th week of pregnancy
- Claims are for unexpected complications only (not expenses related to childbirth)
- It does not involve IVF treatment
- It will not be a multiple birth (i.e. twins)
- Your trip is not for fertility treatment
- You have not experienced pregnancy complications in the past
- You are not travelling against your doctor’s advice
As pregnancy is classed by insurers as a pre-existing condition, you will need to declare it when applying for insurance, be medically assessed and pay a higher premium, due to the higher risk you represent to the insurer.
I’m a diabetic, can I get cover?
The majority of travel insurers will automatically cover diabetes, but the devil is in the detail, as each may require certain conditions to be met. For instance;
- Even though Type 2 diabetes is a less serious form, if you have also had hypertension in the last 12 months, some insurers may exclude you from cover altogether
- Because Type 1 diabetes requires stricter management, some insurers apply stricter cover conditions such as age limits.
The golden rule with diabetes, as with any pre-existing medical condition, is if you are unsure whether you are covered, declare it to your insurer at the time of applying. You may have to answer a few more questions and pay a higher premium, but it’s a small price to pay compared with receiving overseas medical bills that aren’t covered by your insurance.
Some final questions you might have
What is a pre-existing medical condition?
Any condition that you are aware of and have had treatment or surgery for in the past, are currently treating with medication, or have been hospitalised for in the past 90 days.
I went to the emergency department about my medical condition. Is this considered hospitalisation?
Yes, hospitalisation includes visits to day surgery and the hospital emergency department.
How long does a medical assessment take?
An online self-assessment can take as little as 10 minutes.
How long does it take to process my assessment?
Usually within 24 to 48 hours.
How much does it cost to cover my pre-existing condition?
It depends on your insurer, your condition and how much of a risk you represent.
What if I develop a new medical condition after I have purchased my policy?
As it developed after you bought your insurance, it is not considered a pre-existing condition and would therefore be covered according to the terms and conditions of your policy.
Can I apply for cover for a pre-existing medical condition from overseas?
No, you must apply while you are in Australia.
My insurer has refused to cover my pre-existing medical condition. Does this mean I can’t get travel insurance?
No, it simply means you won’t be covered for any expenses related to your condition.
If there is a problem with my pregnancy and my doctor advises against travel, will I be covered for trip cancellation?
It depends on your insurer. You may be able to claim if cancellation is due to unexpected complications with your pregnancy.
If I fall pregnant after I have bought my policy, will I still be covered?
Again it depends on your insurer, but normally if you inform them of the change in circumstances you may still be able to get cover for pregnancy.
Is asthma classed as chronic lung disease?
Only when you are more than 70 years of age.
My insurer refused to cover my condition. Does this mean I can’t get travel insurance?
No, it just means you won’t be covered if you develop any complications related to that condition.
Can I get travel insurance if I have suffered from cancer?
Yes, there are a handful of insurers who will provide cover for some cancers for a higher premium, providing certain conditions are met, such as being in remission for a certain period of time (i.e. 6 to 12 months).