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Compare Travel Insurance Travel Insurance Tips Travel Insurance Anxiety

Travel Insurance for when you have anxiety

07 June, 2019 By Natali Mansberg

Approximately one in five Australians experience symptoms of anxiety, yet most keep it a secret from their travel insurer.
A study by reveals that 76% of travellers wouldn’t declare their anxiety to their travel insurer. Nearly 22% said they would avoid disclosure to keep their premiums down while an additional 54% didn’t think it was ‘necessary to disclose’.
On the contrary, insurance experts say that travellers who fail to declare their pre-existing conditions risk invalidating their overseas medical coverage. With a growing list of companies now offering mental health cover by assessment, those with anxiety may find it easier to access travel insurance.

Which insurers consider cover for anxiety?

In the past, most insurers wouldn’t cover conditions such as anxiety, placing blanket exclusions on all mental illnesses. However, the market is finally coming around to the vast number of the population living with mental health diseases. 70%* of travel insurers now offer some sort of mental illness cover by assessment and travellers should take steps to research their options.

Why you should declare your pre-existing conditions

While not every pre-existing condition will be covered, non-disclosure can lead you down a potentially costly path. Those who fail to reveal their mental health condition(s) may be liable for any medical costs they incur overseas.
The risk in not omitting your pre-existing condition is that if you do somehow require medical care, your costs may not be covered.
Medical care for travellers overseas can range, however destinations such as the United States are among the most expensive. Depending on the facility, travellers can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a check-up in the USA and anywhere from US$1,500-$12,500 for a day in hospital.
Omitting your pre-existing illnesses could see you facing huge medical costs overseas. If you can’t afford those fees it’s essential that you take steps to get covered.

How do insurers assess anxiety?

While assessing mental health conditions, each travel insurer will consider various factors such as severity and any treatment you currently or have previously received. Should your insurer agree to cover your condition, you will most likely be charged a premium on top of the base of your policy. Every insurer will calculate these premiums differently, with some charging a flat rate and others basing their fee on a range of varying factors.
Insurance policies are risk-based products and lots of variables are considered when covering pre-existing illnesses. For example, each insurer will have a different definition of anxiety. Some will consider it a pre-existing condition if you’ve ever suffered from it while others will only take into account whether you have recently received treatment. Cover will also depend on your destination as medical costs can vary greatly around the world.

Tips for travelling with a mental illness

Before taking a trip those with anxiety and other mental illnesses may reasonably feel nervous and concerned about their upcoming journey. The following steps may help to ease potential travel stressors.
Consult with your doctor and make sure you have all the medication you require for your trip. It's a good idea to have a doctor's note to accompany your medications in case you are queried at customs.

Do your research and talk to your medical team about your destination and solutions to common travel issues like jet lag and motion sickness. Knowing what to expect can relieve symptoms of anxiety and keep you in control.

Be prepared for the possibility of homesickness. Travel can be exhilarating but difficult at times for those prone to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Bring along some coping strategies. Whether it's some helpful printouts, meditation exercises or some deep breathing techniques, make sure you have some tried-and-tested coping aids for those stressful moments.

Practise moderation when on the road. It can be easy to go overboard while travelling and overindulge in poor food choices, alcohol and too little sleep. Ensure you are maintaining some healthy habits and taking care of your mind and body.

Sort out your paperwork. A letter from your doctor stating your pre-existing condition, symptoms you suffer from and a list of emergency contacts can be helpful should you require medical assistance during your travels. Relevant information that is easily accessible to a foreign medical practitioner can help get you on the road to recovery.
*70% figure is based on 35 out of 50 insurers researched in the market who offer medical screenings for mental illness.
 ** Based on policy for a 33-year-old traveller on a seven-day trip to the United States.


Contributor Natali Mansberg

Natali Mansberg

Natali is a former kids magazine writer whose credits include working for the mouse (Mickey that is). An avid traveller, Natali spent part of her childhood in Israel and enjoyed several stints across the globe. Having worked in travel insurance for three years, Natali likes to simplify the fine-print and help Aussies make sense of their insurance policies. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and one-year old son.

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