Travel insurance for mental illness

Am I covered for mental health issues? Find out more about travel insurance for mental illness.

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Mental illness is a broad category that encompasses a variety of conditions including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety and stress. It is something of a grey area in insurance, with many insurers choosing not to cover it, or offering cover only under certain conditions.

This guide takes a closer look at why it can be so hard to get insurance for pre-existing mental illness, and identifies which insurers may offer travel insurance for mental illness.

Compare travel insurance for mental illness

Name Product Medical Cover Cancellation Cover Luggage and Personal Effects Cover Default Excess
Unlimited
$50,000
$5,000
$100
Unlimited
$50,000
$0
$100
No cover
$50,000
$0
$100

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How much does it cost?

Those insurers who do cover mental illness will typically charge a higher premium, due to the higher perceived risk. But no two premiums are the same and how much you might pay can depend on the insurer, the type and severity of your mental illness and the usual factors that determine the cost of travel insurance which include:

  • The level of cover you choose (benefit amounts etc)
  • The options you select
  • The destination you are travelling to
  • Your age and general health

Difficulty in obtaining insurance

People who have or have had a mental illness can encounter difficulty in obtaining all kinds of insurance, not just travel insurance. Health insurers, for example, are reluctant to cover mental illness and provide negligible cover compared to what they would provide for other common health problems.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

For the purposes of travel insurance policies, a pre-existing medical condition might typically be defined as any medical condition that you are aware of and are taking medication for or have had treatment for in the past, including surgery.

Many travel insurers have a list of pre-existing conditions they automatically cover. These conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, might generally be seen as “manageable” and perceived as a low risk to the insurer. Some forms of mental illness such as anxiety and depression may be listed in the product disclosure statement (PDS) as a condition that requires further assessment prior to the issue of a policy.

In these cases you may be able to obtain cover by undergoing assessment and paying an additional premium. Insurers might also have a list of pre-existing conditions not covered under any circumstances. Unfortunately, mental illnesses may commonly feature on this list or in the general exclusions.

If you’re looking for travel insurance for mental illness, one of the first places you might check is the PDS of different products or insurers, where the conditions relating to pre-existing medical conditions can often be found.

New Zealand support services for people suffering from mental illness

If you’d like some help or advice, whether insurance-related or otherwise, the Mental Health Foundation has a list of support groups for those dealing with mental illness.

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