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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- You’ve filled out the medical questionnaire incorrectly.
- You haven’t disclosed a pre-existing condition to your travel insurance company, even if the condition hasn’t been diagnosed by a doctor.
- You’re still undergoing tests for your medical condition.
- Your medical condition is serious, such as a terminal illness or kidney dialysis.
- Your medical condition isn’t considered stable by your travel insurance company.
- 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 on this page is from one Canadian traveller to another. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry however we are not travel insurance agents. If you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, policies and plans can and do change all the time, without warning, so always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.
*This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.