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Travel Insurance and Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

If you or a loved one has a pre-existing medical condition, you are well aware of the effect it can have on your life. Travel insurance can help provide a financial cushion in the event of an accident or illness while away from home, but a pre-existing condition may affect your coverage options and premiums. Below are some tips to help you find the right travel insurance for your unique needs.

Plan ahead

Make sure to arrange travel health insurance before leaving for your trip. Once you are travelling, you may not be able to find the appropriate coverage. Trip cancellation insurance plans should be purchased as soon as possible after booking your trip since some of these plans must be purchased within a certain amount of time after making your travel arrangements. The sooner you begin looking into travel insurance, the more time you will have to find the right coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Check eligibility

Travel insurance policies contain rules that state who qualifies for coverage and who does not. These are typically found in the "eligibility" section of a policy, and many plans contain eligibility criteria related to specific medical conditions. If you have a medical condition which makes you ineligible for a plan, you will not be able to purchase that plan, regardless of how long you have had the condition or whether or not you have had recent changes (or improvements) in health.

Review exclusions

If you meet the eligibility criteria for a policy, it does not guarantee that your pre-existing medical condition will be covered. Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions depends on the exclusions in your travel insurance policy. Exclusions are scenarios that are not covered by an insurance policy; travel insurance plans contain one or more exclusions related to pre-existing conditions. Review these exclusions carefully to determine whether or not they apply to your medical condition.

Learn the definition of "stable"

Most travel insurance policies will not cover expenses related to pre-existing medical conditions that are not stable. The exact definition of "stable" and the length of time a medical condition must be stable in order to be covered varies from policy to policy. Generally, if you have had a change to your medical condition (e.g., a new diagnosis, different treatment, hospitalization, or changes to your medication) within a specific time period, you may not be considered stable and may not be fully covered for your pre-existing condition.

Know your options

If you are having difficulty finding travel insurance for your pre-existing medical condition, look into alternative solutions such as medically underwritten plans. This type of plan involves more detailed information on your medical history and may require that your physician be involved in the application process. However, it is possible for medically underwritten plans to cover medical conditions that more conventional plans cannot.

Remember, honesty is the best policy

When purchasing travel insurance, be up front about your medical history. Answer all questions about your medical conditions honestly, and if you are not sure of an answer, ask your insurer to clarify a confusing section or get in touch with your doctor for more details on your condition. Make sure to provide whatever details are needed about any pre-existing medical conditions. If you answer a question incorrectly or withhold information about an illness or medication, your policy may not be valid and any claims you make could be denied.

Get the help you need

If you have difficulty at any of the stages described above, do not hesitate to speak with a travel insurance professional or your physician for expert advice. Ingle International’s highly trained travel insurance representatives can help recommend the best plan for your pre-existing medical condition and your physician can help you confirm your eligibility, answer your medical questionnaire, and determine whether or not your pre-existing conditions are considered stable.

Charities we work with

Ingle International has partnered with many Canadian charities to provide reliable travel health information to those with special needs. At Ingle, we understand that living with a disability or chronic condition means facing challenges when it comes to finding the right travel insurance product, and we are happy to provide unbiased advice and alternative solutions if necessary.

Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

March of Dimes Canada

Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario