Pre-Existing Medical Condition Trip Insurance - Review
Pre-Existing Medical Condition Holiday Insurance can cause some travelers concern. We are here to help.
Many of us have a Pre-Existing Medical Condition and still want to buy trip insurance that covers that medical condition. The good news is that providing the medical condition is stable and the trip insurance is booked quickly, holiday insurance with full medical cover should be available.
The initial concern that we will have is whether or not the medical condition that we have is medically stable.
Medically Stable – no changes within the last 60-180 days, depending on the particular travel insurance plan that you choose. As you can imagine, a plan that only required medical stability for 60 days is far more traveler-friendly than one that looks back 180 days. We are always a little nervous about plans that have a 'Look-Back' period of 180 days. These are fine if the traveler is in great health, and has not visited a doctor for a long time. But for those of us who need to seek medical assistance more frequently, 180 days is a long time to be able to remember if there were any changes to a prescription or a slight change in the underlying medical condition.
Let's use the iTI Travel SE Policy in order to highlight some of the pertinent issues. Remember, each policy from different Travel Insurance Carriers will have slightly different wording. So, it is worth reading the policy document before you buy Pre-Existing Medical Condition Trip Insurance.
iTI Travel SE - Pre-Existing Medical Condition & Waiver
When you review different Travel Insurance policies with us, you will see a quote box, a little like this one below.
Here is the critical information that you should be looking for within the quote box, in the bottom right hand corner.
Pre-Existing Condition Benefit
- Look-Back Period: 60 days
- Waiver of Look Back: Yes
- Time-Sensitive Period: 20 days
Let's look into the trip insurance policy itself.
Normal Trip Insurance Policy Exclusions
Every travel insurance policy will have a list of activities and conditions that are excluded from cover.
The language in the policy document will look like this:
GENERAL EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS Benefits are not payable for any loss due to, arising or resulting from:
Then there is a large list of activities that are not covered, such as racing cars or piloting an aircraft.
When we get to the Pre-Existing Condition exclusion, the language looks like this:
..due to a Pre-Existing Condition, as defined in the Policy. The Pre-Existing Condition Limitation does not apply to the Emergency Medical Evacuation or return of remains coverage.
Note that a Pre-Existing Condition will not prevent you from taking advantage of any Emergency Medical Evacuation cover. That's good news, the insurance carrier isn't going to leave you behind in the event that your pre-existing medical condition requires a medical evacuation. But, what is a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?
Pre-Existing Medical Condition - Definition in Trip Insurance Policy
Here is what iTI has to say about Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
The Company will not pay for any expense as a result of any illness, disease, or other condition during the sixty (60) day period immediately prior to the date Your coverage is effective for which You or Your Traveling Companion, Business Partner or Family Member scheduled or booked to travel with You:
- 1) received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or Medical Treatment for a 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
- 2) took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine.
Item (2) of this Exclusion does not apply to a condition which is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the sixty (60) day period before coverage is effective under this Policy.
In the trip insurance policy language we see above, the 'Look-Back Period' is only 60 days. That is the period we need to concern ourselves with in terms of any pre-existing medical condition. That's one of the reasons we like trip insurance policies that have a short Look-Back Period - it makes it much easier for the traveler to get cover if the Look-Back Period is short.
So, this looks pretty friendly. Many travelers are worried that if they have any form of medical issue at all, they cannot buy travel medical insurance. Clearly, this is not the case. Provided that your symptoms have not worsened, or your medication changed inside 60 days, then we are good to go. You do not have a 'pre-existing condition', as far as the Travel Insurance Carrier is concerned.
Where we see this most often is when a traveler has been on the same hypertension medication for years and is worried that they will not be able to buy travel medical insurance. Well, as is clear from the above, a stable medical condition that has not required a change in medication is simply not considered a 'Pre-Existing Condition'. As such, they can buy trip insurance safe in the knowledge that they have full medical protection for their underlying medical condition.
When Does the Look-Back Period Begin?
Now that we know we have to worry about 60 days for the Look-Back Period, we need to figure out when the Look-Back Period begins. Where does a traveler need to start counting back from? Date of trip insurance quote? No. Date of departure? No. How about date of return? Wrong again. Our Look-Back Period begins on the date that your trip insurance policy is 'live'. Your trip insurance policy will go 'live' at midnight of the evening that you buy your policy. If you bought a policy on January 13th, for instance, your policy would go 'live' at 1 minute past midnight on January 14th. Your Look-Back Period would be 60 days before January 14th - the date that your policy is effective.
What Can I Do if I Do Have a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?
Sadly, some people will have had a change in medication within the Look-Back Period. Or they will have experienced a recent injury or illness. How then does a traveler buy travel medical insurance that will cover this pre-existing medical condition? Well, there are two ways. The first, which seems a little illogical, is to wait until the 60 days window has passed before they buy travel insurance. If a traveler has already paid a deposit, then this can leave an extended period of time without trip cancellation protection in place. Many of us would feel uncomfortable without cancellation insurance for a long time. Perhaps wait to book the trip until the 60-day Look-Back period is clear. That way travel insurance can be bought at the same time as the trip deposit, and the insurer will no longer consider that the medical condition is relevant.
This is all a little too clever. We would prefer to have a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver.
Waiver of Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion
The insurer can waive the right to exclude your medical condition. By 'waive' we mean that they will relinquish or give up their right to exclude the medical condition from cover. If the insurance carrier waives the exclusion, then your medical condition is no longer excluded from cover. You have full medical protection. This is excellent news for the traveler looking to buy travel medical cover. Here is the policy language that iTI uses when describing its Waiver of Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion.
Waiver of the Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion
The exclusion for Pre-Existing Condition will be waived provided:
- a) Your Payment or Deposit for this Policy and enrollment form are received within 20 days of the Date your initial Payment or Deposit for your Trip is received; and
- b) You are not disabled from travel at the time Your premium is paid.
So, even if you do have a pre-existing medical condition, you can still get travel medical insurance protection for it, if you book quickly. The period of time that is available for you to quickly book your travel insurance policy is known as the 'Time-Sensitive Period'. It is critical that a traveler with a pre-existing medical condition understand the Time-Sensitive Period.
Time-Sensitive Period - Pre-Existing Medical Condition - Waiver of Exclusion
OK, so we have a traveler with a pre-existing medical condition. This medical condition would ordinarily be excluded from cover by the Travel Insurance Carrier. But, the Insurance Carrier will offer a waiver of this exclusion if you buy travel insurance very quickly after your Initial Trip Deposit.
This is critical - you must buy your travel insurance very soon after you have paid your initial trip deposit - the length of time you have to buy the policy is known as the Time-Sensitive Period. In the case of the iTI Travel SE Policy, the trip insurance must be paid for inside of 20 days of your initial trip deposit.
Many people, particularly those who book cruise vacations, book a long time in advance, and only pay a small deposit when they book the vacation. You must buy travel insurance that incorporates a waiver for pre-existing conditions, even if the deposit is tiny. The amount of initial trip deposit is of no interest to the travel insurance carrier. What they care about is the date of deposit - that is when the clock starts in terms of you having the ability to get the medical condition exclusion waived.
Does Every Trip Insurance Policy Cover Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
No. There is a significant difference between the type of cover that is offered from different travel insurance carriers. It is essential to know the type of cover that is available to you, in order to assess whether the policy is of good value or not. Over the years we have assessed countless trip insurance policies and see a wide range in the quality of cover. By far and away the worst type of cover we see comes from travel companies like Expedia. Please do not rely upon Expedia Travel Insurance to offer protection for any pre-existing medical condition. Airline Trip Insurance tends to be pretty awful too, so take the time to review a policy document if you choose to buy your travel insurance from an airline like Delta or United. Cruise Line Travel Insurance, sold by companies like Carnival and Norwegian, are slightly better, but not by much. Please do not make any assumption about the type and cost of pre-existing medical condition travel insurance. All policies are different - some have no cover for pre-existing conditions at all.
AardvarkCompare - Travel Insurance Marketplace
As always, at AardvarkCompare we recommend that you consider travel insurance. You can get an anonymous quote in seconds, and compare top travel insurance plans from many of the largest US travel insurers. You will save time and money finding the right travel plan for your needs. The prices you see are the same as if you went to each and every Trip Insurance Carrier directly. We can guarantee that you will not find the same Travel Insurance Policy at a lower price. Anti-discrimination law forbids such marking up or discounting of Travel Insurance Policies, so we are certain in our promise of best value. We make it as clear as possible for you to be able to assess each policy on the relative merits. The price is clearly displayed, as are all the significant policy benefits. Because of the importance of Pre-Existing Condition cover to our customers, we placed this particular type of trip insurance concern into its own section within our quote boxes.
Irrespective of your medical condition, there is probably a trip insurance plan that can cover you. There may well be some confusion for you if this is not something you have dealt with frequently. Please do not worry. We have Travel Insurance Agents who can guide you. Just talk with us before you buy your policy, and let us help you with your options.
Recent AardvarkCompare Travel Insurance Customer Reviews
I Panicked When I Discovered I panicked when I discovered the Travel Insurance I had through Expedia had expired when I changed my flight reservation. When I went to renew I was told I couldn't. I discovered Aardvark on my AARP site and I was excited I could purchase an even better travel plan with cover starting with my trip departure, at a cost I could afford. I was confused with the initial site and Mr. Breeze reached out to me for clarification. He explained the policy more thoroughly and addressed all my concerns, can't get any better than that! Thank You Aardvark and thank you Jonathan for your assistance. I can go on my trip now knowing I'll be covered for medical emergencies and then some. _ _Barbara
Good Choices, Well Explained I liked the way insurance was explained. I had read an article your company had written explaining Expedia trip cover versus other choices. I used this advice to make the best choice for me and my traveling companions. That choice was to take a policy that provided much better medical and evacuation primary care. Your site allowed comparisons, and I think I got the best value for my money. I don't like constant follow up emails, though. You could back off a bit!! Louise