Having pre-existing medical conditions doesn't mean you can't get travel insurance or that it has to be expensive. It simply means that you need to dig a little deeper when doing your research.
Tell your insurer
Medical costs abroad can be very expensive, so it is vital to ensure that you get the right policy to cover your needs. In order to get the right cover, you must let your travel insurance provider know of any pre-existing medical conditions that you have. If you fail to do this you may be left facing a massive medical bill when you try to make a claim.
Most insurers have a long list of pre-existing medical conditions that are automatically covered for free, which do not require an assessment or declaration form to be submitted. If you have a pre-existing medial condition not listed, you may be able to get cover for an additional fee. Depending upon the seriousness and recency of the condition, your application may require further assessment.
Know your medical history
Each insurer has different terms for pre-existing conditions. Some will ask for medical history in the past ten years and others, for the past six months. We encourage all Australian's to check how much of your medical history you have to disclose so that you can be confident that your policy covers you should anything happen. The conditions covered and additional costs that apply vary between insurers and policies, so be sure to read the PDS of your chosen insurer to check whether your condition is covered.
Typical pre-existing medical conditions that are covered
Typical conditions that are covered automatically include; High cholesterol, asthma, osteoporosis, cataracts, congenital blindness, hernia, incontinence, diabetes (if you were diagnosed more than 12 months ago and have no kidney or eye complications, you do not suffer from hypertension or hypoglycaemia, and you are under 50 years of age), high blood pressure (provided you do not suffer from cardiovascular disease or diabetes) and congenital deafness.
Typical conditions that need to be assessed
Some conditions require you to fill out a medical assessment form before cover can be granted or declined. Typical conditions that need to be assessed include; heart problems such as coronary angiography, if you have a pacemaker, if you've suffered from a stroke, epilepsy, deep vein thrombosis, conditions where you've had surgery in the last 2 years, lung disease and certain types of diabetes.
pre-existing medical conditions that may not be covered
There are some conditions that insurers will not cover. This does not mean that you cannot take out travel insurance. It simply means that any claim arising from, or related to that condition will not be covered.
Conditions such as terminal illness, requiring oxygen, awaiting surgery, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, types of cancer, congestive heart failure, recurring pain or mental illness (including dementia) are typically not covered.
What if I can't find cover for my pre-existing condition?
Once you've done your travel insurance comparison, click on your policy choice and we will direct you to your chosen insurer's site to confirm your quote. Whether you're purchasing online or over the phone, you will usually be prompted to disclose pre-existing medical conditions during the purchase process. When purchasing online, once you have selected 'Yes' to cover pre-existing medical conditions, premium loadings are applied at the end of a questionnaire.
Are you a mature traveller?
If you are over the age of 50, finding a suitable policy to cover your pre-existing medical conditions can be tricky and expensive. Read our guide to seniors travel insurance for some top tips.