Traveling with a pre-existing health condition can be challenging, but you can always reduce the risk with the best travel insurance. This article will provide you more details.
Imagine that you’re a diabetic traveling in a foreign country.
You fall sick and have to cut your trip short and pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for treatment while you’re abroad.
No one wants such a horrible experience, but it can happen if you don’t have travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition.
There are certain trips that you must have travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions.
For instance, if you’re traveling for a long time or traveling to a country with a very expensive healthcare system.
Even very short trips that are low-risk shouldn’t be made without travel insurance that includes pre-existing condition coverage.
Insurance is extremely important, more so for someone with an underlying chronic condition.
You shouldn’t ignore the decision of purchasing travel insurance altogether, assuming your pre-existing condition isn’t covered.
There are many insurance providers who do cover existing conditions.
Table of Contents
- How Do Travel Insurance Companies Define Pre-Existing Conditions?
- Best Travel Insurance Options for Pre-Existing Conditions
- World Nomads
- Travelex Insurance Services
- Atlas Travel Insurance by WorldTrips
- AXA Travel Insurance
- What to Know When Purchasing Travel Insurance With a Pre-Existing Condition
- Can You Get Pre-Existing Condition Waiver After Buying Insurance?
- Are All Pre-Existing Conditions Covered?
- Does Travel Insurance Cover Covid-19?
- Is It Important to Buy Travel Insurance?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How do travel insurance companies check for pre-existing conditions?
- How does travel insurance for pre-existing conditions work?
- Do I need travel medical insurance when I have a pre-existing condition?
- Why should I buy travel insurance for pre-existing conditions?
- Do all travel insurers cover pre-existing conditions?
How Do Travel Insurance Companies Define Pre-Existing Conditions?
If you’ve ever bought any kind of insurance, you’d know that the language of the policy matters a lot.
So you have to pay attention to how the insurer defines any pre-existing condition, as that will determine whether or not your particular condition will be covered.
Most travel insurers consider any illness, injury, or condition as pre-existing that required the person to seek medical help before they bought the insurance.
You see, they don’t even mention chronic illnesses. By this definition, the pain in your back that you saw a doctor for could be considered as pre-existing.
While many travel insurance plans simply don’t cover any kind of pre-existing conditions, some do. These insurers can cover certain medical conditions that existed 60 to 180 days before the purchase date of the insurance.
This means any of your chronic conditions that you’ve had for years or have acquired recently will be covered under the plan, except otherwise stated.
The good thing is you might not need an official diagnosis to prove you have a pre-existing condition.
Best Travel Insurance Options for Pre-Existing Conditions
So who is the best travel insurance provider when it comes to covering pre-existing conditions?
Well, there are many such providers available in the US and in other countries.
The best way to go about looking for travel insurance is to first travel insurance marketplaces like Aardy or TravelInsurance.com. Their extensive database with dozens of providers can help you compare plans, coverage, and prices.
It’s important to make sure that you provide any medical conditions that you already have when looking for trip insurance.
To make things easier for you, we have compiled the four best travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions.
World Nomads is the best place to find all kinds of travel insurance, especially if you’re an American. World Nomads is a travel insurance company with a great reputation and excellent policies.
They have flexible plans that provide more than decent coverage for most of your medical expenses abroad, including for those looking for coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Although they haven’t named pre-existing conditions specifically, they do cover stable and controlled medical conditions. At the same time, any pre-existing medical conditions that are unstable or not under control would not be covered.
An example of an under-control or stable condition could be diabetes. If you take medications and generally have your blood sugar levels under control, you may be covered for this chronic condition.
It’s best to confirm with the company when getting a quote and letting them know the exact medical conditions.
The great thing is that it’s not just for US residents; if you live in another country, you can still use World Nomads to buy your trip interruption insurance. They cover residents in over 140 countries.
There are basically two plans on offer: Standard and Explorer. The exact coverage amount and, ultimately, the premium varies between the two.
The benefits include trip cancellation protection, emergency medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, and even your luggage or gear. The Explorer plan is more expensive and provides more coverage in terms of money.
The age limit is also pretty high, with people as old as 70 years getting travel insurance with pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, if you’re already on the go without a travel insurance plan, you can still buy one at any time.
Obviously, it would cover the period that begins after you’ve purchased it.
In addition to your pre-existing medical conditions, they also cover over 200 adventure activities. This can come in handy for people who may have a higher risk of doing certain activities, like hiking to higher altitudes or scuba diving insurance.
Like what you are hearing? Read more in our full World Nomads travel insurance review.
Travelex Insurance Services
Travelex Insurance Services is another best travel insurance option for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Their Travel America and Travel Select Plans can cover some already existing medical conditions.
The terms and conditions may vary, but you’ll get all the information when you get a quote.
This is another benefit that you get a quick quote and all the details whether your conditions are covered or not. That way, you can compare with other plans and insurance providers on this list or elsewhere.
Travel America plans cover domestic travel within the US. You may think that you don’t need insurance traveling locally, but anything can happen.
The US is a big country, and your existing healthcare insurance may not cover medical expenditure regarding your pre-existing conditions in every state, especially if the insurance network is limited.
For pre-existing conditions, there’s a 15-day exclusion waive in the Travel Select plan. Moreover, this plan also covers children 17 or under at no extra cost. The coverage for emergency medical expenses is $50,000.
You can also get customized upgrades to meet your specific needs. This customization is very important if you have special circumstances or you’re going to a very risky destination.
Furthermore, you can also get an Adventure Sports upgrade to cover any risky activities you’ll take part in while you’re abroad.
They also offer a basic insurance plan Travel Basic which is cheaper but doesn’t cover children and any pre-existing conditions.
Like what you are hearing? Read our full Travelex review to learn more.
Atlas Travel Insurance by WorldTrips
Atlas Travel Insurance provides customizable travel medical insurance for international travelers.
Atlas Travel insurance is available if you’re concerned about a pre-existing condition, a medical condition, and/or the financial risks associated with international travel. With Atlas, you can choose your deductible, coverage length, and overall coverage maximum for a unique Atlas Travel policy.
Atlas Travel is specifically designed for travelers seeking:
- Medical coverage, including COVID-19-related expenses and people with a pre-existing condition
- Emergency medical evacuation benefits
- Supplemental travel benefits including trip cancellation coverage, trip interruption coverage, travel delays, and lost luggage
Travel medical and trip cancellation insurance are available through WorldTrips to suit the needs of individuals, groups, and organizations all around the world.
For over 23 years, WorldTrips has been on a mission to make unexpected travel mishaps and emergencies less stressful for travelers. Their travel insurance plans can provide financial compensation such as trip costs and trip payments, access to quality healthcare, insurance services, and 24/7 emergency global assistance.
Atlas makes for an excellent option for those with a pre-existing condition as they specialize in both travel and medical insurance coverage.
AXA Travel Insurance
AXA Travel Insurance is a leader in coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
AXA Assistance USA offers three comprehensive plans that will help protect you on your next trip. Whether traveling domestically or internationally, you’ll be able to find a pre-existing coverage plan for the unexpected.
Their insurance plans include many benefits including trip cancellation, trip costs, emergency medical expenses, emergency evacuation, and baggage delay to give peace of mind before and during your trip. Add-on benefits are also available if you need additional pre-existing condition coverage for your trip.
What is considered pre-existing by AXA?
AXA defines coverage for pre-existing conditions as an illness, disease, or other condition that you, your traveling companion, business partner, or family member scheduled to travel with you. You have either:
- received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment for a medical condition which first manifested itself, worsened or became acute or had symptoms which would have prompted a reasonable person to seek diagnosis, care or treatment; or
- took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine.
AXA will cover pre-existing conditions if you meet the above requirements. Depending on the situation, you may need to provide recent medical records and medical history.
They provide full global assistance throughout your trip should you need anything on the go.
Allianz is a global insurance company that specializes in a variety of insurance plans. This German-based company provides travel insurance in the US as well and covers certain pre-existing conditions.
Their timeframe as a look back period of considering a pre-existing medical condition or injury considered as pre-existing is 120 days. Suppose you’ve been diagnosed or treated by a doctor for a condition in the 120 days period before and including the day of your purchase of insurance.
This also includes prescriptions: if you were prescribed medication for something in that period.
Other pre-existing conditions exclusions include that you purchased the plan within 14 days of making the first purchase for the trip, for example, a ticket or hotel booking. You should also be medically able to travel despite your pre-existing condition or medication needs.
While written approval from a doctor isn’t necessary, it’s recommended if you’ve had surgery or cancer treatment recently. You may need to submit medical records or provide recent medical history.
Their travel insurance plans with coverage for pre-existing medical conditions are available to US residents. There are certain conditions that are not covered and are counted as a pre-existing condition exclusion, which are mental health conditions, as well as a normal pregnancy.
The cost of the trip cannot exceed $50,000. As for the coverage, their OneTrip Prime Plan covers children under the age of 17 with parents or grandparents as well for free. It can cover medical expenses such as additional medical treatment and emergency medical care for up to $25,000 and medical transportation for up to $500,000.
There aren’t any age limitations for buying OneTrip Prime or OneTrip Premium plans. Annual trip interruption insurance plans often have the same cost regardless of age.
You’ll get the chance to speak directly with a licensed travel insurance agent if you have any specific questions and given how large of an insurance company Allianz is, you’ll have global assistance before and during your trip.
They provide a variety of travel insurance plans for many destinations around the world, including those that you must have insurance for.
Much like any other major insurance provider, Avanti is also covering Covid-19, which is essential for people with pre-existing conditions.
As we know by now, individuals with pre-existing conditions are at more risk of mortality by Covid-19.
For those who have serious pre-existing medical conditions and are old, Avanti offers special Medical Travel Insurance. This travel insurance plan doesn’t have any upper age restrictions, so it’s ideal for people over 65 who are often not covered by many healthcare providers.
You also have the option to go for Annual Travel Insurance plans, which are ideal for individuals and families who are taking long trips or frequently traveling throughout the year, which is an excellent option for those looking for trip cancellation and potential medical treatment coverage.
You can get a quote online or call on their toll-free contact number, which is active 24/7.
What really distinguishes Avanti from some of the travel insurers in the US is that they provide unlimited medical expense coverage. This means that there isn’t a limit to the amount of coverage they provide in case of a medical emergency and medical claim.
Avanti also covers cruise trips, which is something some travel insurers may not include in the plans.
Nevertheless, make sure to read the policy terms and conditions thoroughly. You may need to submit medical records. So, see what kind of travel and activities the plan covers.
See Related: Best Sites for Booking Tours
What to Know When Purchasing Travel Insurance With a Pre-Existing Condition
Can You Get Pre-Existing Condition Waiver After Buying Insurance?
You might be able to ask for a pre-existing condition waiver in the two to three weeks period after you booked for the trip and got insurance for the full trip expense.
For instance, if you booked a trip and bought the insurance and afterward got diagnosed with a disease, you may ask your insurance provider for a pre-existing condition waiver. This simply means that they’ll include the coverage in your insurance for the newly diagnosed condition.
Your insurer might charge more, but that’s typically not the case. This is applicable as long as you’re still medically stable enough to travel.
This really depends on the insurance company, as it’s at their discretion whether they give you a pre-existing condition waiver after you’ve bought the plan.
Are All Pre-Existing Conditions Covered?
While the pre-existing clause in your insurance would ideally cover many common chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, it might not cover all kinds of pre-existing conditions.
There are certain mental conditions many travel insurers don’t cover. This may include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, or drug addictions.
Pregnancy isn’t exactly a pre-existing condition, but some insurance companies may not cover normal child delivery.
International travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition doesn’t just depend on what conditions you have but also the entire cost of your trip. If you’re insuring for trip costs exceeding $50,000 per person, your insurer might not cover your already existing medical conditions.
It’s important to note that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doesn’t implement the pre-existing coverage requirement for travel insurers.
So, while your private health insurance provider might be bound by law to cover your pre-existing medical condition, the travel insurer isn’t.
See Related: Best Travel Insurance for Diabetics
Does Travel Insurance Cover Covid-19?
We’re sure most travelers are concerned whether their insurance covers Covid-19.
Since it’s a global pandemic, you have to take into account that you could get it abroad as well.
The policy coverage of Covid-19 varies by insurance providers. Many are including it in their insurance, often because it’s mandated by a particular country or region. For instance, the European Schengen Area has made it mandatory for travelers to have insurance that covers Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
However, different scenarios can affect the coverage. You may get have a plan that includes emergency medical coverage, medical treatment, medical evacuation coverage, or initial trip payment.
For example, your travel insurance plan may cover your traveling expenses if you had to cancel plans because of testing positive for coronavirus. But you may not receive trip cancellation insurance coverage as a result of Covid-19.
Similarly, you may not be covered for any medical bills incurred by contracting coronavirus if you traveled against government advice.
So it really comes down to nitty-gritty details about Covid-19 coverage that you have to look out for.
Is It Important to Buy Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is very important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Even if you think your pre-existing condition is pretty much in control, you have existing insurance, or you believe that you are medically stable, you don’t want to take any unnecessary risk.
Getting sick in another country with inadequate insurance while having an existing medical condition or pre-existing condition can be a nightmare that can even prove fatal, or at the very least, cost you thousands of dollars.
Make sure to buy trip insurance as soon as you’ve booked your trip.
Many plans only provide coverage for existing conditions if you buy soon after booking the itinerary.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do travel insurance companies check for pre-existing conditions?
Travel insurers are thorough in their investigations of your current state of health. In fact, before providing an initial policy or renewing coverage at renewal time, travel insurance providers may even demand a more detailed description of your regular medical history.
Reputable travel insurers use a system called SMPRA – this stands for Simple Medicines Procedure Profiles and Access Records. The SMPRA checks your complete medical records from the past several years to see if you have any health problems.
How does travel insurance for pre-existing conditions work?
When traveling outside of your medical insurance plan’s coverage area, travel insurance for pre-existing conditions covers the expenses of medical visits associated with sickness or injury resulting from a condition you had within a certain timeframe of your trip.
Travel medical insurance varies by provider and level of coverage and typically exceeds $300 per day (beyond typical emergency medical care) depending on the type and duration of emergency service.
Do I need travel medical insurance when I have a pre-existing condition?
You may need travel health insurance if you travel regularly (ie. more than once a year, multiple countries), when you travel to an underdeveloped or developing country, or you travel outside the country for over one month at a time, regardless of destination.
Why should I buy travel insurance for pre-existing conditions?
Yes, it is highly advisable to buy travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition as it helps cover potential medical expenses since you are at great risk of medical issues while traveling. This type of insurance offers direct financial protection from costly medical emergencies or unexpected trip cancellations.
Do all travel insurers cover pre-existing conditions?
Pre-existing conditions are not covered by most travel insurance plans when traveling abroad. Travel insurers will usually provide a pre-existing condition exemption which may result in being charged a 10% or more premium on coverage. WorldNomads is one travel insurance policy that generally provides travel coverage to anyone who asks for it, regardless of any pre-existing health conditions.
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