Travelling should be fun and relaxing, but, unfortunately, it can be stressful if you have to deal with a medical emergency or illness or if you’re forced to cancel or interrupt your plans suddenly. That’s where travel insurance can help – it can help cover your medical care, refund some of your money after cancellation, or help you get home or change your travel plans. But can you get travel insurance if you have a medical condition? Yes! You can definitely get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. However, it’s important to note that medical care, trip cancellation and trip interruption relating to that condition may not be covered – or you may have to pay higher premiums.
What is considered to be a pre-existing medical condition?
Any condition such as an illness or disease or injury that has a medical diagnosis before your insurance is purchased is considered to be a pre-existing medical condition. This also includes ailments which are recurrent or chronic. For travel insurance, this may include any illness, disease or injury that is treated before your departure date. Every travel insurance company has a different definition of a pre-existing condition, so make sure you talk to your broker.
How is my travel insurance affected when I have a pre-existing medical condition?
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you can still get travel insurance. If your condition is considered to be stable, you may have coverage if something related to your injury or illness happens. A stable condition is one where you have not:
- Experienced worsened or new symptoms relating to your pre-existing condition
- Received new medical treatment relating to your pre-existing condition
- Increased or decreased your medication dosage
- Received a new diagnosis
If your condition is unstable or new or your travel insurance company won’t cover it, it means you will not have coverage for any medical emergency, trip cancellation or trip interruption relating to that particular medical condition. For example, let’s say you have diabetes. It’s considered unstable as you’ve just been diagnosed, but you’re doing well overall. You book a short winter vacation to Mexico. If you were forced to cancel your trip due to worsening symptoms or you need to seek medical attention relating to your diabetes while you’re in Mexico, you likely wouldn’t have coverage. However, if you fell and broke your leg before you departure date or while you were in Mexico, you should have coverage.
Some travel insurance companies may charge you higher premiums if they consider you to be higher risk. This may allow you to have coverage for your pre-existing medical condition or you may not.
Medical Questionnaire & Documentation for a Pre-Existing Medical Condition
Your insurance company may require you to fill out a medical questionnaire or provide further documentation, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65. Answer this questionnaire honestly and disclose any and all medications and diagnosed illnesses and injuries. To do otherwise is insurance fraud and could leave you with no travel insurance at all.
Should I get travel insurance if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
Every travel insurance company is different, so we advise working with a broker to find a company that will offer you the right travel insurance. Even if you don’t have coverage for your pre-existing medical condition, travel insurance can help reduce the financial burden of another type of medical emergency, such as a broken bone or sudden illness. It can also get you some money back if you unexpectedly have to cancel your trip and help get you home if something forces you to change your trip plans.