Is My Pre-Existing Condition Covered Under My Travel Insurance?

 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ve likely wondered if you’d be covered by your travel insurance company.

Travel insurance can be a complicated beast, and if you’re confused by pre-existing coverage, you’re not alone.

Policies and coverage can change at any time, without warning. This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.

You’re in luck, though, as we’re going to clear the air about travel insurance and pre-existing conditions.

Is your pre-existing medical condition covered by your travel insurance?

The quick answer is:  It depends on your travel insurance policy, the amount of time since your diagnosis, the details of your specific condition and if your condition is stable. You can get a policy that covers a pre-existing condition, but your premium will be higher. This is because insurance companies consider you a higher risk to insure.

What is a pre-existing condition? A pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that you already know you have, whether or not it’s been diagnosed by a doctor. If you are showing symptoms of an illness, and have not seen a doctor, your illness is considered to be pre-existing – it does not need to be diagnosed by a licensed physician. For example, if you’ve been having abdominal pains, but haven’t seen a doctor, and have your gallbladder removed on vacation, your surgery probably won’t be covered.

Tip for Visitors to Canada InsuranceMany policies consider pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition!

 

Is your condition stable?

If your medical condition is stable before leaving on your holiday, you should be covered. The definition of stable varies between companies and policies, but it generally means the condition is not getting worse, and that there have been no changes (or changes recommended by your doctor) in treatment or medication. Many policies consider changes in medication or treatment to indicate the condition isn’t stable.

Tip: The definition of stable varies between companies and policies, but it generally means the condition is not getting worse, and that there have been no changes (or changes recommended by your doctor) in treatment or medication. If you’re currently being tested, or you’ve had a change in medication or treatment, your travel insurance policy probably won’t consider your illness to be stable!

The amount of time the condition must stable varies widely between insurance policies. Some companies consider a medical condition stable if you had a diagnosis or change in medication as little as 7 days ago, but some require a 180 day or longer stability period.

Tip for Visitors to Canada InsuranceCheck the wording on your policy very carefully. The definition of pre-existing condition and stability can vary a lot between policies!

 

What is your condition?

There are several conditions that simply won’t be covered under travel insurance, even if they’re relatively stable. For example, individuals with undergoing kidney dialysis won’t be covered for any emergencies related to their kidney condition. Similarly, individuals with a terminal illness likely won’t be covered.

Are you still undergoing tests?

If you’re still undergoing tests for a medical condition, you probably won’t be covered for any illness related to the testing. For example, if you’ve recently had chest pain, and had tests for heart issues, you won’t be covered for any illness related to your heart until your test results are in.

Did you fill out the questionnaire honestly and accurately?

When you apply for coverage, most policies will ask you if you have a pre-existing condition. If you have a condition, you’ll need to answer a full medical questionnaire. Be honest on the form. If your insurance company finds out you’ve lied on the form, or even if you fill it out incorrectly, you may not be covered.

Tip for Visitors to Canada Insurance

Your pre-existing condition isn’t necessarily covered because you have a travel insurance policy. A travel insurance company may still issue you a policy if you have a medical condition that is considered a pre-existing condition. However, you won’t be covered for any emergency that results from that condition.

Did you read the fine print?

If you have a pre-existing condition, be sure you read your travel insurance policy’s fine print. A travel insurance policy is a binding, legal document.

Six Reasons You Won’t Be Covered for Your Pre-Existing Condition

  1. You’ve filled out the medical questionnaire incorrectly.
  2. You haven’t disclosed a pre-existing condition to your travel insurance company, even if the condition hasn’t been diagnosed by a doctor.
  3. You’re still undergoing tests for your medical condition.
  4. Your medical condition is serious, such as a terminal illness or kidney dialysis.
  5. Your medical condition isn’t considered stable by your travel insurance company.
  6. Your travel insurance policy doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.

How Do I Compare Travel Insurance Quotes if I Have A Pre-Existing Condition?

The easiest way to compare pre-existing coverage for Canadian travel insurance is to use a comparison website.

Comparison websites, like Kanetix.ca, let you compare quotes for travel insurance from several different companies at once. You type in a few details about your trip, and select Yes where it asks if coverage for pre-existing conditions is required. Kanetix lets you compare policy coverage and prices to help narrow down your choice. Check out our review of Kanetix.ca.

 

As always, the information in this post is from one traveller to another and please remember, we are not travel insurance agents. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry however, if you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.

Lanie Kay

A true world traveller, Lanie Kay has been to over 30 countries in the past decade and loves nothing more than waking up in a foreign country. Born and raised in western Canada, she knows the value of a dollar and, just like everyone, wishes there was more transparency when dealing with large companies.

This Post Has 4 Comments
    1. Ed, some examples for a pre-existing condition that your doctor might not know about could be a broken arm or a fractured tooth that happened before your policy commenced that you “forgot” about or didn’t get treated while you were still in Canada.

      It could also be for a condition that you know about but haven’t shared with your new doctor. I can remember reading a story of a guy who’s policy was voided because he forgot to mention he had been taking high blood pressure pills for 10+ years that he kept renewing without his doctor’s knowledge and he forgot to mention it when he filled in his policy. It was up to him to disclose that information when he bought his insurance and, as such, he was responsible for all his hospital costs because of that.

      If you ever have questions or need clarification on any wording in a policy, the sum of all this is that you should always talk to your insurance agent. Better to give them too much information than not enough. Hope that helps!

  1. Looking for health travel insurance for my husband who has a pre existing condition. Is is better to get a yearly policy or by each trip?
    Thank you, Carole Gilman

    1. Hi Carole. It really depends on the pre-existing condition and how often you plan on leaving Canada and for how long. If you take frequent small trips in a year or live close to the border and do a lot of border crossing then it’s probably your cheapest alternative. It can also work well if you take multiple trips and are willing to purchase an extension if you plan on leaving the country for an extended amount of time.

      Since everyone’s situation is different Carole, you would need to compare them all to see what works best for you and your husbands particular needs.

      If he’s healing up from a recent incident, insurance is generally cheaper and easier to get if a longer time has passed. That means that you might pay more for multi-trip for the year since it’s based on his current medical situation where the single trip policy cost may drop in 3 to 6 months time if you don’t need it until then. Conversely, I also have to add that the alternate may occur and his situation may worsen thereby raising the single trip policy cost in 3 to 6 months time.

      No matter which policy you go with, please read it carefully and if you have any questions please talk to your insurance agent. Good luck!

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