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Travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

From bad allergies to diabetes and everything in between, you can get cover for your pre-existing condition. Here's how.

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Name Product Medical Cover Cancellation Cover Baggage Delay With COVID-19 Coverage? Offer
MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex
Up to $1,000,000
Up to $15,000
Up to $1,500
Travellers with stable and controlled pre-existing medical conditions can choose from three levels of MSIG TravelEasy covers (Standard, Elite and Premier) at a slightly higher premium.
Income Enhanced PreX Plan Travel Insurance
Up to $3,000,000
Up to $45,000
Up to $4,000
Comprehensive coverage designed to address the needs of travellers with stable pre-existing medical conditions, namely asthma, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Compare up to 4 providers

The good news is that yes, you can get travel insurance that will provide you with cover for pre-existing conditions. In fact, many travel insurers have a list of pre-existing conditions they cover automatically. And for conditions that aren’t automatically covered, it could be as simple as completing an online medical questionnaire and pay an additional premium.

How does travel insurance for pre-existing conditions work?

Pre-existing conditions usually won’t stop you from buying travel insurance. Insurers will consider most medical conditions and even if they decide not to cover yours, you can still get insurance covering everything else. It simply means you won’t be covered for claims related to or caused by your pre-existing condition.

Steps for getting travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition

1. Be straight up with your insurer

If you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition and need travel insurance, you must let your travel insurance provider know of any pre-existing conditions you may have. If you don’t, you could be left out-of-pocket in the event where you need to make a claim.

2. Understand what is considered to be a pre-existing medical condition

The definition of a pre-existing medical condition varies slightly between insurers but the term is generally accepted to refer to:

  • An ongoing medical or dental condition of which you are aware, or a related complication you have or the symptoms of which you are aware
  • A medical or dental condition that is currently being treated or investigated by a health professional, or that has been treated or investigated by a health professional in the past
  • Any condition for which you take prescribed medicine
  • Any condition for which you have had surgery
  • Any condition for which you see a medical specialist
  • Pregnancy

Check your product disclosure statement (PDS) or contact the insurer directly to find out how your insurer defines a pre-existing condition.

3. Check to see if your condition is on the automatically covered list

While you’re looking at the PDS make sure you check to see if your condition is automatically covered or excluded by your insurer.

4. Complete the online questionnaire

If your condition is not mentioned on either list, you’ll need to complete your insurers medical screening process, which will most likely consist of you completing an online questionnaire. These questionnaire typically ask you about how long you’ve had your condition, the type of treatment you’ve undergone, whether or not you’re currently taking any medication and other relevant questions so that they may assess your risk level.

Typically you’ll be asked:

  • What is the name of your condition?
  • What medications have been taken to treat the condition?
  • If you have been treated for blood pressure or diabetes, what was the last reading?
  • Have you changed your treatment medication recently? (generally in the last 3 months)
  • Have you seen a medical practitioner recently? (generally in the last 3 months)
  • Have you been admitted or undergone treatment in a hospital in the last 12 months?
  • Are you currently awaiting a medical review or treatment?

If you don’t declare your condition, you won’t be covered for any claims for losses that have occurred as a result of your condition. In some cases, your insurance provider can also choose to cancel your policy if they feel you have purposely withheld information that may increase the likelihood of a claim occurring.

5. Approval of cover

Once you’ve completed the medical questionnaire you’ll either have your pre-existing condition approved, which will generally result in you paying a higher premiums, or you’ll be told that the insurer won’t provide you with cover for your pre-existing condition.

6. Why get cover if your condition is not approved?

If your condition isn’t approved it doesn’t mean you can’t get travel insurance, it just means that you won’t be covered for claims that are the result of your pre-existing condition; this is called a pre-existing condition waiver.

Even though you’re not able to take out cover for claims related to your existing condition, you’ll still be entitled to lodge claims for cancellation, lost luggage and even medical claims so long as they aren’t related to your condition.

How do I know if my condition is covered?

Insurers vary in how they cover pre-existing conditions, so never assume that you’ll be automatically covered when you buy a policy. Instead, take a look at the pre-existing medical conditions section in the PDS.

This will contain the following information:

  • A list of pre-existing conditions automatically covered by the policy, usually without requiring you to pay an additional premium
  • Information on how you can apply to have any pre-existing condition not included in that list covered by your policy

If your condition is not automatically covered, you’ll need to declare it to the insurer when you apply for cover. This can be done by filling out an online health questionnaire or answering some questions about your condition over the phone. Your insurer will then assess whether or not it will cover claims arising due to your pre-existing condition, and you will typically need to pay an additional premium for cover to apply.

Check the list below for details of conditions which are usually automatically covered, conditions which you must declare, and conditions which are usually excluded.

If your condition is not listed in the policy, you must declare it to your insurance company. The company will assess the condition and decide whether or not cover can be provided. There are some general rules around coverage of certain conditions.

The list below is of conditions generally covered automatically provided the condition has been stable for the last 12 months and there is no planned surgery for the condition.

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Bunions
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Cataracts
  • Coeliac Disease
  • Congenital Blindness
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Diabetes Mellitus (Type I and II)
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Folate Deficiency
  • Gastric Reflux
  • Goitre
  • Glaucoma
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Hiatus Hernia
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Lipids
  • Hypertension
  • Impaired Glucose Tolerance
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Iron Deficiency Anaemia
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Migraine
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pernicious Anaemia
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Raynaud’s Disease
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • Solar Keratosis
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Trigger Finger
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency.
If you suffer from any of the conditions listed below, you will be covered for any sections of the policy related to medical expenses/repatriation or trip cancellation/lost deposits.

  • Conditions where you have been given a terminal or palliative prognosis with a shortened life expectancy
  • If you require oxygen therapy or home oxygen for the journey
  • Aids defining illness
  • If you have had or are having an organ transplant in the future
If you suffer from any of the conditions listed below, you will need to declare these to your insurance company. The company will then assess the condition and determine if they can provide cover for that condition and/or journey.

  • Cardiac or heart conditions
  • Respiratory or lung conditions
  • Metastatic or secondary cancer
  • Dementia or memory loss
  • If you require the accompaniment of a full-time minder
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Heart problems (e.g. coronary angiography, pacemakers, etc)
  • Any conditions requiring surgery in the last two years
  • Certain kinds of diabetes
  • Epilepsy

Whether your insurer covers your condition will depend on its severity, how recent it is and the extent to which it is being controlled by medication.

How to find the best travel insurance for pre-existing conditions

If you’re looking for travel insurance to cover a pre-existing condition, we can’t tell you which policy is the best choice for you. This is because the right policy depends on your cover needs, your budget and your personal situation, so the best cover for one person may be insufficient for the next traveller.

However, there are a few simple tips you can keep in mind to help you find the right policy:

  • Consider your cover needs. First and foremost, think about what you want in a policy – what are the risks you want cover for and how much protection do you want? How much are you willing to pay for cover?
  • Compare suitable policies. Once you know the type of cover you want, you can compare a range of policies from different insurers. What benefits do they offer and how high are the cover limits? What exclusions and restrictions apply?
  • Treatment of pre-existing conditions. Check the PDS of each policy you’re considering to see how the insurer treats pre-existing condition. Is your condition automatically covered? If not, what do you have to do to apply to have it covered?
  • Compare quotes. Compare quotes across the best policies to see which one offers the best value for money. Does it cost extra to have your pre-existing condition covered?

The key when buying travel insurance for pre-existing conditions is to shop around. Don’t just settle for the first policy you find; compare benefits and limits across several policies to find the cover that best suits your needs.

Travel insurance for seniors with pre-existing conditions

If you’re 60 years or older and you have one or more pre-existing conditions, finding suitable travel insurance can be something of a challenge. The good news is that it’s still possible to find cover, but there are a few key points you should be aware of when searching for the right policy:

  • Cover costs more for seniors. Unfortunately, the risk of illness and injury is higher as you age, so the cost of cover also increases as you grow older. Once you reach 60 years of age, many insurers will start applying an age loading to your policy.
  • Fewer pre-existing conditions covered. Some pre-existing conditions that are automatically covered for younger travellers may not be covered for travellers 60 years or older. For example, some insurers won’t cover seniors for claims that arise due to asthma.
  • Terms and conditions differ between insurers. Different insurers impose different restrictions and exclusions on cover for seniors with pre-existing conditions. For example, if you’ve previously suffered a stroke, some insurers will not cover you if you’ve had any incidents in the past five years, while others only require you to not have had any incidents in the past two years.
  • Age limits apply. Insurers impose maximum age limits on their policies, so you’ll need to check the fine print to make sure you’re eligible for cover. While some providers set this limit as low as 65 years of age, others will cover you up to 100 years or even older.
  • Disclose everything. Don’t be tempted to save on the cost of cover by withholding information from your insurer. Disclose all the details of your pre-existing conditions when you apply for a policy.

Check out our guide to seniors travel insurance for more information on how to find the right policy.

How is pregnancy assessed as a pre-existing condition?

Most travel insurers will cover pregnancy, providing it satisfies the following criteria:

  • Your trip ends on or before your 26th week of pregnancy
  • Claims are for unexpected complications only (not expenses related to childbirth)
  • It does not involve IVF treatment
  • It will not be a multiple birth (i.e. twins)
  • Your trip is not for fertility treatment
  • You have not experienced pregnancy complications in the past
  • You are not travelling against your doctor’s advice

As pregnancy is classed by insurers as a pre-existing condition, you will need to declare it when applying for insurance, be medically assessed and pay a higher premium, due to the higher risk you represent to the insurer.

I’m diabetic… can I get covered?

The majority of travel insurers will automatically cover diabetes, but the devil is in the detail, as each may require certain conditions to be met. For instance;

  • Even though Type 2 diabetes is a less serious form, if you have also had hypertension in the last 12 months, some insurers may exclude you from cover altogether
  • Because Type 1 diabetes requires stricter management, some insurers apply stricter cover conditions such as age limits.

The golden rule with diabetes, as with any pre-existing medical condition, is if you are unsure whether you are covered, declare it to your insurer at the time of applying. You may have to answer a few more questions and pay a higher premium, but it’s a small price to pay compared with receiving overseas medical bills that aren’t covered by your insurance.

Some final questions you might have

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