Often times, we get calls in the customer service department relating to pre-existing conditions. They aren't sure they can get travel insurance coverage that covers any pre-existing condition they may have, and they're worried about how that could impact their travel plans. In fact, just a few days ago we saw a tweet where someone claimed travel insurance companies do not cover for pre-existing conditions! Well, we just had to clear up the confusion, so here is a everything you need to know about pre-existing medical conditions and travel insurance.
What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is basically an illness, disease or injury you have received or been recommended to receive a test, exam or medical treatment for. If a doctor notified you of an illness, or potential illness, you probably have a pre-existing condition. If a doctor recommended tests, exams or medical treatment, you most likely have a pre-exsiting condition.
Insurance companies will look-back a certain number of days from the day you purchased your plan to determine whether or not you have pre-existing condition. This is called the "look-back period." If you saw a doctor 65 days before the day you bought your travel insurance plan, and their look-back period was only 60 days, then the insurance company would not look-back at the doctor's visit to determine whether your condition was pre-existing.
Can I Get Travel Insurance Coverage for a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?
Great news! You can get travel insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. This comes in the for of a waiver, and we call it the Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Exclusions Waiver. It removes, or waives, the exclusion that is in your travel insurance plan for pre-existing medical conditions.
Wait! How do i get the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver?
First, not every plan offers this waiver. You'll want to be sure the plan you are looking for offers this coverage. Also, the Pre-Existing Conditions Waiver is a time-sensitive benefit. So, you'll have to purchase your travel insurance plan within a specific time frame from the day you put your first deposit down on your trip, typically between 7-21 days of your first trip deposit. For TravelSafe plans, that time frame is the industry high of 21 days.
If you book your cruise on May 1st and give the cruise line your first deposit, you may qualify for the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver up to May 22nd. Now, you are required to be eligible and approved by your physician for travel at the time your travel insurance premium is paid. If your doctor has recommended that you do not travel, the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver will not be included in your travel insurance plan.
Some travel insurance plans will require you to cover the full cost of your trip in order to qualify for this waiver. For plans with this requirement, all prepaid trip costs must be covered. However, the TravelSafe Classic plan does not require the full cost to be covered.
Who does the pre-existing condition apply to?
We frequently get phone calls regarding this question specifically. Often times, travelers wonder if a pre-existing condition of a relative or traveling companion will exclude their trip insurance coverage. The only person who the pre-existing condition pertains to is the traveler who the policy was purchased for.
If you are traveling to Scotland, and your father who is staying home has suffered a heart attack 25 days before you booked your trip, you do not need to worry. The pre-existing condition exclusion does not pertain to him. If he falls ill again, and you are in need of canceling your trip, you are okay.
Now, if your father plans to join you in Scotland, not only will he need the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver, but he will also need to be cleared for travel by his doctor and his condition is stabilized.
Hopefully we were able to give you a better understanding of pre-existing conditions and what you can do. Check out the 5 Terms in Travel Insurance You Need to Know for more on travel insurance.