- Pre-existing Medical Conditions: Insider Tips February 20, 2020
- Known Event: When is it too late to buy travel insurance? February 14, 2020
- Novel Coronavirus Travel Update January 29, 2020
- Novel Coronavirus January 23, 2020
- Grand Palace, Thailand: A Must See Attraction January 21, 2020
- Taal Volcano, Philippines January 13, 2020
Pre-existing Medical Conditions are a fact of life but do you know what you need to declare when applying for travel insurance?
All travel insurance policies have terms and conditions relating to pre-existing medical conditions and it is important you understand what is covered so there is no disagreement if you have to make a claim.
When it comes to pre-existing medical conditions, leisure travel insurance policies generally fit into one of three categories:
- No cover is provided for any claim related to or arising from a pre-existing medical condition. In this case, they are completely excluded from cover.
- Cover is provided for only certain listed pre-existing medical conditions. Claims which arise from other conditions are excluded.
- Cover is provided for certain listed pre-existing medical conditions but if you have any other conditions, you have the option to declare these at the time of application for the insurer to decide if they will offer cover.
Policy Type #1 – no cover for any pre-existing medical condition
The first policy type is great for travellers who have no pre-existing medical conditions whatsoever. This type of policy will only respond to compensate you for medical expenses if you suffer an accidental injury or illness while travelling overseas. If you need medical treatment for or related to a pre-existing medical condition, there will be no cover.
Policy Type #2 – cover for certain pre-existing medical conditions that are listed in the policy
The second policy type will only suit those travellers who have one (or more) of the listed pre-existing medical conditions. With this policy type, there are usually certain provisos that you must satisfy for the automatic cover to be provided.
In the case of “automatically covered” conditions, there is usually a requirement that you haven’t been hospitalised within a certain timeframe (usually 2 years) and/or you haven’t received medical treatment for the condition within a certain period of time (usually the previous 90 days). If you have a medical condition that is in the “automatically covered” list but you have recently been hospitalised or received medical treatment, this disentitles you to automatic cover for the condition. Let’s look at Asthma as an example.
Many travel insurance policies provide automatic cover for Asthma provided you have not received hospital treatment in the past 2 years and/or consulted a doctor for the condition in the past 90 days. There are usually some other criteria you must meet to be eligible for automatic cover of Asthma. For instance, you must also be less than a certain age (usually 60 years old) and you must not use more than two medications to control the condition.
If you do not meet all the criteria for automatic cover of Asthma, you will not be covered in the event of a claim for treatment of this condition while travelling. It is not a case of meeting one or two of the provisos – you must satisfy all of them to be eligible for cover.
Take care with this policy type if you have one pre-existing medical condition that is automatically covered and another condition that is not automatically covered. If your chosen insurer will not allow you to apply for cover of the condition that is not automatically covered, this may produce a gap in your cover.
Policy Type #3 – option to declare pre-existing medical conditions when applying for cover
The third policy type provides you with more flexibility when it comes to finding a policy that will cover you for claims related to your past medical history. It is important though that you get it right when declaring your past medical history and check to make sure what your chosen insurer expects you to declare.
If you have two medical conditions, one of which is automatically covered by the policy and one that is not, check to see if you need to declare both of your conditions as part of the application process. It may be the insurer requires you to declare and undertake medical screening for all of your conditions – including the one that is automatically covered.
Many pre-existing medical conditions are related. For instance, heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes can be “linked” conditions. Having one of these conditions can also be a risk factor for the others. Many travel insurance policies provide automatic cover for high blood pressure and/or cholesterol but not diabetes. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, please don’t assume that because high blood pressure is an automatically covered pre-existing medical condition, you only need to declare your diabetes. Please check with your chosen insurer to make sure you are declaring your medical history in accordance with their underwriting requirements. It is always best to make sure everything is declared to avoid distress and potentially disagreements if you need to make a claim.
Last words …
Travel insurers generally exclude cover for any condition where the traveller is undergoing or awaiting medical treatment of any kind.
So, if you have been referred to a specialist and are waiting for an appointment or you are receiving treatment at the time of applying for cover, the insurer will most likely decline to offer cover. This is because the condition may not be stable and the risk is unable to be adequately assessed. The insurer cannot make a judgement call on your medical status while you are still receiving or are awaiting medical investigation. You should still be able to buy a travel insurance policy, but it will in all likelihood exclude cover for the condition that is receiving or awaiting treatment.
If you do decide to self insure your pre-existing medical conditions by not declaring them at the time of applying for insurance (or the insurer declines to cover them), you can still buy a policy and it should operate in all respects except for the (non-covered) pre-existing medical conditions. For instance, if you were to suffer a bout of food poisoning, it is unlikely this would be related to your medical history and you should be able to claim for the cost of treatment. Similarly if you were travelling as a passenger in a commercially licensed form of public transport which was involved in an accident causing you to sustain injury, this too should be covered. You should be able to claim the cost of medical treatment for your injuries because the accident is in no way related to your past medical history.
Taking medication for a condition does not mean you have been cured of the condition. It means the condition is being managed with medication. If you stopped taking the medication, the symptoms would likely return. For instance, if you are taking medication to treat high blood pressure, this means you have controlled blood pressure; it does not mean the condition no longer exists. So, if you are taking medication for any reason, declare this to your chosen travel insurer. Similarly, if you have had surgery for a medical condition, you should still declare the condition that the surgery was performed to treat. If you had a coronary stent inserted to treat heart disease, this does not mean the heart disease is cured, it means the stent is being used to treat / manage the condition. You should declare any past surgical procedures and let the insurer decide if it is relevant to their decision to insure you.
The term known event sounds like insurance jargon but it is an important concept.
As the term suggests, known event means something (ie the event) has happened and you know about it.
When it comes to insurance, it is really important you understand the term known event and how it may affect you.
Insurance is designed to cover sudden, unforeseen and unexpected events. Insurance is essentially risk transfer – by purchasing a policy you are transferring your risk of financial loss in the event something unforeseen happens. You are transferring your risk to the insurance company and for this you pay the insurer an amount of money (ie the premium).
Insurance does not cover you against something that you know about and which could reasonably be expected to result in you making a claim. This is where known event comes into play. If something has already happened and it is likely you will suffer financial loss as a consequence, it becomes uninsurable because it is not unexpected or unforeseen.
This may sound confusing so let’s look at some examples.
A known event can take many forms but if we look at travel insurance, here are some scenarios which would involve a known event.
Sally and Sam planned to go on a Contiki tour. They paid for the tour and their airfares but did not buy travel insurance. Two days before they were due to depart, Sally suffered appendicitis and required surgery. Sally’s doctor advised them to cancel the trip because Sally was too unwell to travel. Sally and Sam then bought travel insurance to cover them for the loss of their holiday.
The airfares and Contiki tour were non refundable. Sally and Sam lodged a travel insurance claim. The travel insurer reviewed the claim and declined it on the basis of known event. That is, when Sally and Sam purchased their travel insurance policy, they knew that Sally was sick and that she may not be able to travel. The appendicitis was a known event – that is Sally and Sam knew about it when they bought the policy. They tried to buy a policy because they knew they would suffer a financial loss. They were trying to pass their loss to the insurance company.
Richard was backpacking through Europe when he started to suffer stomach pains. He wanted to visit a doctor but did not have any travel insurance. Richard bought an “already overseas” travel insurance policy and went to see a doctor. Richard was diagnosed with gallbladder stones and admitted to hospital for treatment. Richard claimed compensation for these costs from the travel insurer. The travel insurer denied the claim because Richard was aware that he needed medical treatment before he took out the policy. Therefore, the stomach pains (and need for treatment) was a known event.
Tom and Sarah arranged a trip to Fiji but did not buy travel insurance. The week before they were due to go on holiday, a cyclone developed in the Pacific Ocean and was tracking to hit Fiji. They bought travel insurance in case the cyclone meant the trip would be cancelled. As they were aware of the cyclone and the potential that it would stop them from travelling before they purchased their policy, the cyclone was a known event. No claim would be payable if they had to cancel the trip due to the cyclone because it was already in existence when they purchased the policy. It was not unforeseen or unexpected.
Similar scenarios could relate to the declaration of medical epidemics/pandemics or instances where the government travel advisory for a destination country is upgraded to advise against travel. If you wait to purchase travel insurance until after an epidemic is declared or the government upgrades its travel advisory recommending against travel, it is too late because the event which might result in you suffering a financial loss has already happened – it is a known event.
Most if not all insurance policies have exclusions that relates to a known event. In travel insurance policies, the exclusions normally take the following form.
You are not covered for any incident that does not occur during the period of insurance.
You are not covered for circumstances manifesting between the date of booking your trip and the date you purchased your insurance.
We strongly recommend that you arrange travel insurance once you have started to make payment for any trip arrangements. When you hand over money, you are carrying the risk that something might happen which could cause your trip to be cancelled or disrupted. If you wait until something happens that might cause you to cancel your trip, it is too late – this is like waiting until the horse has bolted before shutting the gate. Don’t delay – once you have paid money (even if it is just a deposit), organise your travel insurance immediately.
Do you love Bali? So do we.
Many people have been concerned that volcanic activity could disrupt a trip to Bali. Travel insurers have also been cautious with cover restrictions in place since September 2018.
But not anymore!
We have now lifted the cover restriction relating to Mount Agung.
What does this mean?
It means that if Mount Agung erupts again and ash cloud closes Balinese airspace, this will trigger a valid claim. *
* Subject to policy terms and conditions. Please read the PDS to ensure it meets your needs.
Have you ever wondered about the difference between a Single Trip policy and an Annual Multi Trip policy?
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about taking a couple of trips and thought it might be cheaper to take an Annual Multi Trip policy.
So how do you know if an Annual Multi Trip policy is right for you?
To help you decide, let’s look at the main differences between a Single Trip policy and an Annual Multi Trip policy.
As the name suggests, a Single Trip policy covers one trip.
If you are taking a return trip, the Single Trip policy will cover you from the date you leave home to commence the trip and end when you return home again. It is a continuous period of cover. Provided you nominate the policy start date as your departure date and the policy end date as your return date, you will be covered for the full travel period.
Usually, a Single Trip policy can be taken to cover a trip as short as 2 days or up to 365 days. Your policy period is determined by the number of days you will be away from home. Sometimes, a travel insurer will be able to cover you if you will be travelling for longer than 365 days but this is subject to their underwriting guidelines.
An Annual Multi Trip policy provides cover for frequent short term trips during an annual period. When you purchase the policy, you select the annual period you want. You are then covered for any number of trips taken within that annual period – provided each trip is less than the maximum trip duration you selected.
With an Annual Multi Trip policy, the insurer will offer you a number of maximum trip duration options. These are normally 31 days, 50 days, 60 days and/or 90 days. If you select a maximum trip duration of 31 days, you can take as many trips as you like in the annual period of cover but each trip must not exceed 31 days. If you select a maximum trip duration of 50 days, each trip you take in the annual period of cover must not exceed 50 days.
When arranging an Annual Multi Trip policy, you should nominate the policy start date to be the date you will be starting the first trip you want to be insured. This may be many months in advance and in which case you would effectively get a period of insurance that is longer than 12 months. That is, you would be covered for pre-departure cancellation up until the departure date of the first trip and then for a further 12 months thereafter.
So what are some of the benefits of an Annual Multi Trip policy?
Quite obviously, a major benefit of the Annual Multi Trip policy is that you have cover for a whole year and do not need to arrange travel insurance each time you book a trip.
Some Annual Multi Trip policies offer free inclusions like automatic cover for a set number of days of snowsport activities.
Annual Multi Trip policies that cover international travel often also include cover for travel within Australia provided these domestic trips meet certain criteria – eg the trip must be a certain distance from your home and involve an overnight stay.
Some insurers offer the option to choose a couple or family Annual Multi Trip policy and this may enable each member of the family to travel independently of the other.
What about the pitfalls?
Perhaps the main issue is the maximum trip duration limitation. It may be that you have an insufficient maximum trip duration to cover one or more of your trips. For instance, if you have a 31 day maximum trip duration on your policy but one of your trips will be 40 days, your cover will be insufficient. Take care here to read the policy to make sure you understand how this affects you. Some insurers would cover you for the first 31 days of the trip and you would then need to make alternative arrangements for the balance of the trip period. Other insurers wont cover you at all because the trip period exceeds the 31 day maximum trip duration noted on your policy.
Some insurers will allow you to “add” extra days for a trip which exceeds the maximum trip duration of your policy, others will not. This is something you would need to check with your chosen provider.
Another issue to take into account is that the terms of some Annual Multi Trip policies require that for cover to be in force, each trip needs to be booked within the policy period. This could be an issue if you purchase a trip before arranging an Annual Multi Trip policy or if you are renewing an annual policy and the booking was made while insured by one policy/insurer but the trip will take place while insured by a new policy/insurer. In this case, the trip would “straddle” two policy periods (one during which the booking was made and the other during which the trip will occur).
A similar issue arises if your annual period of cover will end while you are travelling. Is the trip insured under the expiring policy or the new policy (provided you have renewed / purchased a new policy)?
These should be simple queries to resolve by contacting your chosen provider. Please make sure your cover is continuous and that you understand the applicable terms and conditions.
What about the cost?
An Annual Multi Trip policy is best suited to anyone who travels frequently during the year. For frequent travellers, this policy type is not only more convenient, it is also more economical.
If you plan to travel once (or maybe twice) within a year, one or two Single Trip policies may be a more economical choice. If you plan to travel internationally at least twice in the year, it’s worth doing a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it would be cheaper to go with an Annual Multi Trip policy or a few Single Trip policies. Given that travel insurance depends to a certain extent on the number of days you will be travelling and where you will be going, two of the key considerations here would be the destinations and durations of trips you’re planning to take. Your chosen travel insurer should be able to prepare a few quotes to help you get an idea of what might be your best bet.
Taal volcano located near Manila in the Philippines has erupted releasing ash into the sky. This eruption has resulted in the immediate evacuation of thousands of people from the surrounding … Read More
What’s New at Go
Flexible Travel Insurance
Non-Resident Travel Insurance
Go Insurance provides unrivalled one-way and return travel insurance for non residents. If you’ve been resident for 3 months, you are eligible for our travel insurance.
Flexible Travel Insurance
Comprehensive and basic policy options tailored to suit your itinerary and budget because at Go Insurance we believe that one size does not fit all
Kids Insured Free
Making family holidays even better. Children under the age of 18 are covered free when travelling with an adult. It’s just another way Go Travel Insurance is looking out for you.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Automatic cover for many conditions – because some things are a fact of life. Can’t find your condition in our extensive list of automatic covers? Call us for a tailored quote.