Travel insurance for pregnancy

Pregnant and taking a trip? Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance that covers you up to 32 weeks.

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Do I need travel insurance if I’m pregnant?

Travel insurance is an essential buy for the majority of travellers, but it’s even more important when you’re pregnant, as you need to know you’re covered for any pregnancy-related complications.

The good news is, most travel insurance providers do offer cover for up to 32 weeks of your pregnancy journey. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about travel insurance during pregnancy.

How does travel insurance work if I’m pregnant?

Pregnancy is usually covered if it falls under the below criteria. If the below criteria is met, there is usually no additional cost for taking out travel insurance during pregnancy.

  • Complications that arise are unexpected
  • The trip for which the policy is being taken out for ends on or before you’re at 26 weeks
  • Trip does not arise out of treatment associated with reproductive programs such as IVF

Wait, pregnancy is a pre-existing medical condition?

Each insurance policy has a section on pre-existing medical conditions that are either automatically covered or not covered under the policy. Pregnancy is a condition that falls into both groups depending on how far along you are.

When you are shopping for a travel insurance policy, pregnancy is defined as a pre-existing condition. What this actually means is that you’re legally required to disclose your pregnancy to the insurer at the time of application.

It’s important to confirm with your insurance provider whether you will still be covered for any pregnancy related issues, as some insurers automatically cover pregnancy and others do not.

For example, many insurers will cover a single, uncomplicated pregnancy up to a specified limit of gestation, usually 26 weeks. Other insurers may ask you to complete an online medical assessment before they can approve your application, but will let you to purchase cover.

There are providers out there who simply refuse to cover pregnancy, so make sure you go over the small print with a fine tooth comb.

Things to consider

Depending on your medical history and your current health, as well as on how far along you are, you may or may not be able to get cover for your trip.

Some important things to think about when it comes to travel insurance during pregnancy include:

  • Do you have to pay more for cover? It is possible to find travel insurance plans for pregnancy that won’t break the bank. However, travel insurance providers base the cost of cover on the level of risk, and if you are travelling while pregnant you naturally become a higher risk. Therefore, the cost of insurance with the correct level of cover for pregnancy is generally higher priced than the cost of a standard travel insurance policy.
  • How many weeks into the pregnancy will I be covered for? Your due date plays a prominent factor in whether or not you can get cover. The majority of insurance companies cover for up to 26 weeks into the pregnancy, and some extend to 32 weeks. Many companies will only insure you if you are planning to return home 8 weeks or more prior to your due date.
  • Are IVF pregnancies covered? Many travel insurance policies exclude cover for pregnancies that were the result of IVF treatment.
  • Are you having twins? Similar to IVF babies, many insurers exclude cover if you’re expecting more than one baby.
  • Are you travelling against your doctor’s advice? Don’t travel against a doctor’s advice. If a complication arises while you are travelling and the insurer learns that you were advised not to travel by a certified medical practitioner, your claim will be rejected.
  • Have you ever had complications with a pregnancy? If you have experienced issues or complications with pregnancy in the past, you may not be able to find a company to cover you. It’s also important to note that failure to disclose any past complications will result in any claims related to pregnancy being rejected by the insurance provider.

Do I have to pay more?

The amount that you have to pay for travel cover when pregnant can vary depending on a wide range of factors. You need to be aware that the cost can vary drastically from one provider and plan to another. Some of the things that can potentially affect the amount that you have to pay for your pregnancy travel insurance include:

  • The policy and provider you choose. The cover option you opt for will be a massively contributing factor to the cost.
  • Your age and general medical health. Your age and general medical health can affect the cost of any travel insurance cover and pregnancy travel insurance is no different. Each insurer will ask you to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions that you have during the application. Conditions that are not automatically covered may be excluded from cover altogether or incur a premium loading.
  • Trip duration. As with all travel insurance, the longer the trip, the more expensive the cover.
  • Trip destination. The actual location you are travelling to will also impact the amount you pay for cover. Destinations that are considered to carry a greater degree of risk will come with a higher premium.
  • Additional cover. Most policies will offer additional cover options to ensure you get the right level of cover to give you peace of mind. Such cover options include things such as registration of high-value items for extra cover and winter sports cover.

What is excluded from my pregnancy cover?

There are certain circumstances when pregnancy simply will not be covered by your travel insurance. Your insurer may not provide any cover if:

  • You are beyond 26 weeks’ gestation (some insurers provide cover up to 32 weeks’ gestation). If you are expecting more than one baby and your insurer agrees to provide cover, this cover usually only extends to 19 weeks’ gestation
  • You have a multiple pregnancy
  • The purpose of your trip is to undergo fertility treatment
  • You have experienced pregnancy complications before your policy is issued
  • Your travel insurance claim is for childbirth or the care of a newborn child
  • Your pregnancy was conceived through assisted reproduction services such as IVF
  • You travel against medical advice
  • Your pregnancy will pass the maximum period of gestation allowed by the insurer whilst you’re away
  • Your claim is for regular antenatal care and routine pregnancy check-ups, for example standard ultrasounds, blood tests or pregnancy tests

Please note that the above list of exclusions is not a comprehensive guide to pregnancy cover exclusions. Some insurers will provide cover where others won’t, and in some cases it may be possible to remove specific exclusions by paying an additional premium or completing a medical assessment form.

For more information on when pregnancy is and isn’t covered, you’d need to contact your travel insurance provider.

Is it safe to fly during pregnancy?

Flying while pregnant can be safe, as long as your pregnancy adheres to the below:

  • You are in the second trimester (13-27 weeks) and are not experiencing any complications
  • You have consulted your doctor and have been approved to fly
  • Your insurer has agreed to cover you if flying overseas (read your policy carefully)
  • Your airline has agreed to carry you (flight providers have different policies regarding pregnancy)
  • Your pregnancy is not classed as high risk
  • You are not travelling to a country where vaccinations are required that could be harmful to your baby (influenza vaccine is the exception)
  • You are not over 35 years of age and pregnant for the first time

You should avoid flying if any of the below criteria applies to your current pregnancy:

  • You are in the last six weeks of your pregnancy (flying could be a trigger for premature labour)
  • You are travelling to a destination where limited medical facilities are available (i.e. a third world country)
  • Your pregnancy is high risk (i.e. you have experienced cervical problems, vaginal bleeding, a multiple pregnancy, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, abnormalities of the placenta, or have had a prior miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or premature labour)
  • You are flying long distance and have in the past had a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

Tips for flying when pregnant

Pregnant and planning one last baby free getaway before your life gets turned upside down? Bear the following tips in mind to help you stay safe when travelling while pregnant:

  • Travel during the second trimester. Generally speaking, the safest time to travel during pregnancy is in the second trimester. This is the period when you’re hopefully over the worst of your morning sickness and most travel insurance providers will still offer cover.
  • Check with your doctor. Before you book, check with your GP to make sure it’s safe for you to travel. Even if you’ve already booked, it’s still a good idea to make a doctor’s appointment to check whether there’s anything you should avoid or any advice they can give you for the duration of your holiday.
  • Be careful with medications. Be extremely wary of using any medications while pregnant. Only use medications prescribed by your GP, as they are fully aware of your pregnancy.
  • Choose your destination accordingly. A secluded desert island miles from civilisation might seem like a romantic getaway, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you need urgent medical help. At the same time, if you plan on travelling to a developing nation you’ll need vaccinations from your doctor, but most vaccinations can be harmful to unborn babies. Consider this when you’re picking your destination.
  • Take it easy. If you’re known for your keen sense of adventure, make sure you stay sensible on your holiday. Scuba diving, rock climbing and bungee jumping are a no no when you’re expecting. If in doubt, ask your doctor.
  • Food poisoning. Take all reasonable steps to avoid food poisoning and other infections that could be dangerous for your baby. Don’t dine on dodgy street food, or undercooked meats and avoid any other eateries that look unhygienic. Drink bottled water if the quality of the local water supply is questionable.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Extended periods of not moving during long-distance travel can cause DVT, a condition which can potentially be very serious. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of DVT in certain circumstances, so discuss your travel plans with your doctor. Staying moving, doing frequent leg exercises and avoiding dehydration during long-distance travel can all help reduce your risk of DVT.

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