Having a severe allergic condition like anaphylaxis shouldn't prevent you from living a full and rich life. While it can pose its challenges, it shouldn’t stop you from living your holiday dreams and seeing the world.
It may be tricky to find travel insurance that covers anaphylaxis, but that's why we're here! After all having a pre-existing medical condition can be tiring, so going on holiday may be just what the doctor ordered!
when travel insurance covers allergies
The general rule of thumb is that insurers do not cover any condition that already exist before your trip, therefore you may be required to complete a medical evaluation before you are given the green light on cover.
Most insurers will cover mild allergies automatically, provided;
- the condition has been stable for more than 12 months;
- and there is no planned surgery, treatment or specialist review;
- and you have not attended hospital for treatment for the condition in the past 12 months;
- and cover does not extend to cover any routine treatment or management of your approved pre existing medical condition(s); for example, blood test and prescription renewals.
Does travel insurance cover anaphylaxis?
Most insurers cover "allergies" automatically without medical assessment, but anaphylaxis is a whole other ball game...
Typically food intolerances are automatically covered such as coeliac disease or lactose intolerance. However food allergies, such as an allergic reaction to peanuts or shellfish (that you already knew about) are not. You may however have provision to claim if you had an allergic reaction for the first time on your holiday, and it was an allergy that you were not aware of at the time of purchasing your policy.
Yes, we know, technically, anaphylaxis is an "allergic" reaction, however if you cannot see the word "anaphylaxis" in your insurers PDS, do not assume you are covered. You'll need to call your insurer directly to see if they will insure you. More likely that they will assess your condition on a case-by-case basis.
So who covers what?
We done a bit of research and found a few companies that will consider cover:
Provided you have not been hospitalised in the last two years.
|Columbus Direct||Provided you have not received treatment, or been hospitalised in the last two years. You must complete a medical assessment on their website.|
Provided you do not have asthma, have not received treatment, or been hospitalised in the last 12 months. You must complete a medical assessment on their website.
|Insure4Less||Provided you have not been hospitalised (including day surgery or emergency department attendance) in the past 24 months.|
Remember, this information is provided as a general guide and is accurate at time of writing October 2017 only. You should always refer to your PDS to determine whether the provider in question or policy is best for your circumstances.
Tips for travelling with severe allergies
Having a pre-existing condition such as anaphylaxis shouldn't curb your thirst for travel, but it's sensible to be prepared.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It typically causes more than one of the following: an itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. These symptoms can come on over minutes to hours, so it's essential to be prepared when you're away from home in unfamiliar territories.
Here's a few tips for safe and healthy travelling:
- Have a check-up with your doctor before you go so they can give you advice about travel; for example, ask about emergency plans in case of a severe reaction.
- Take a letter from your doctor with the details of your condition and be sure to take it with you on holidays.
- Take all the medication you will require with you and carry it in your hand luggage in its original packaging. It's also advisable to take more medication than you'll need in the event of lost or delayed luggage.
- Make sure your adrenaline autoinjector (or epipen as it's well known) is within date before you leave for your holiday.
- Inform your airline if you have a severe nut reaction. If you know the airline serves peanuts they may be able to change the snack on your particular flight.
- Planning is key to ensuring your condition is controlled while you're on holiday. You and your travelling companions should be trained to recognise the symptoms of an anaphylaxis and be prepared to administer adrenaline ASAP.
- Avoid certain foods - Always check that the meal you're about to consume does not contain the food you're allergic to. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy are the most common food triggers, which cause 90% of allergic reactions
- Have an emergency plan in case complications occur. This should include a list of any emergency contacts, information about the medications you are how to administer.
What if I can't find cover for my pre-existing condition?
Other reasons to buy travel insurance
Although your health is top priority there are other big factors that can make travel insurance an essential for all travellers!
Lost or stolen luggage: When you’re dealing with illness, the last thing you need is the extra financial stress of a lost suitcase or stolen wallet. Travel insurance will cover you for any lost, stolen or damaged items, provided you look after them.
Cancellations and emergencies: Should your flight be delayed for more than 24 hours, your travel insurance provider will cover any costs you’ve accrued. You’ll also be covered should you miss a flight due to any type of motor vehicle accident or natural disaster. It's best to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday - that way if you have to cancel your trip for any unforeseen circumstance you'll be covered.
Rental car excess: Planning a bucket list road trip? Your travel insurance will usually cover rental car excess, so you can drive off into the sunset, worry free.
Personal liability: Your policy will cover you in the event that you are responsible for another person’s injury. Most comprehensive policies will cover you for up to $2 million in personal liability fees.
Remember to always check the fine print before you purchase a policy. Don’t simply assume that you’re automatically covered by travel insurance. Check the fine print concerning pre-existing conditions and medical cover to ensure that any conditions related to your anaphylaxis are covered.
Phew! Feeling informed? Once you’ve compared travel insurance policies, spoken to your insurance provider and taken all the necessary precautions for your trip there’s nothing left to do but focus on enjoying your trip. Have fun!