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Compare Travel Insurance Travel Insurance Tips Finding Travel Insurance Cover For Mental Illness

Finding Travel Insurance Cover For Mental Illness

30 January, 2020 By Carolina Tran

While having a mental illness can be debilitating it shouldn't be a deterrent to living a full and rich life. Travel can be a wonderful way to alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illness but what about that tiny issue of travel insurance? You want to be covered medically in the event of an emergency, so what exactly do you need to know?  

Historically insurers were reluctant to provide cover to those with mental illnesses, however an increasing number of companies on the market are now offering varying degrees of cover. It may be tricky to find cover,  but don't rule your options out just yet! After all pre-existing medical conditions can be tricky to navigate and a holiday may be well overdue!

Does Travel Insurance Cover Mental Illness?

When it comes to mental illness, cover will depend on a range of factors;

- Some companies will now offer cover by assessment for mental illnesses such as anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and stress. Once these are assessed cover may be granted, which could cost you an additional premium.

-Some insurers will cover for mental illness if the traveller has not suffered and/or sought help for that condition in the previous five years.

- Insurers such as CGU, Bupa and InsureandGo will generally cover first-time episodes of mental illness so long as medical documentation to support your claim can be provided.

Note that most travel insurers within the Australian market do still exclude cover for mental illness, however, a few listed in the table below will consider cover on a case-by-case basis.

So Who Covers What?

The following table highlights which insurers consider cover for mental illness by application and/or whether a first time mental illness episode would be covered. 

**Click the ticks and crosses for more details on each.**

General Advice Warning: The contents of this article were accurate at the time of writing. Insurers change their policies from time to time, so some information may have changed. You should always read the Product Disclosure Statement of your chosen insurer to understand what is covered and what isn't. The information provided is of a general nature only and does not take into account any personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your personal circumstances.

What If I Can't Find Cover For My Pre-Existing Condition?

If you're struggling to find cover you may have luck with travel insurer AllClear. This specialist medical travel insurance provider offers comprehensive cover. Any medical condition is considered. They can offer cover for any age. 

Remember you can still buy normal travel insurance with pre-existing conditions - not having cover for your condition simply means you may be out of pocket for any claims related to, exacerbated by, or arising from that pre-existing medical condition without prior approval.


I Can't Find Cover For My Mental Illness! What Are My Options?

In the event that your are not able to obtain cover for your particular mental illness you should be aware that medical cover is just one of the many benefits of travel insurance. There are plenty of additional circumstances in which travel insurance could prove to be very handy! Just remember that you may not be covered for any claims related to, exacerbated by, or arising from your particular pre-existing medical condition without prior approval.

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 policy 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.

Tips For Travelling With A Mental Illness:

Having a pre-existing condition shouldn't curb your thirst for travel, but it's sensible to be prepared should your condition flare's a few tips for safe and healthy traveling when you have a mental illness.

  • 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 the solution to common travel issues like jet lag and motion sickness. Knowing what to expect and how to treat various unpleasant symptoms can relieve symptoms of anxiety and keep you in control.
  • Be prepared for the possibillity 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 print outs, 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 get you on the road to recovery, fast. 

What’s Next?

Remember to always check the fine print before you purchase a policy. Don’t simply assume that you’re automatically covered by travel insurance. 

Phew! Feeling informed? Once again, it's important to remember that having a mental illness shouldn’t deter you from taking that long awaited holiday!! 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. And have fun!

*Please note: the contents of this article were accurate at the time of writing.  Insurers change their policies from time to time, so some information may have changed. You should always read the product disclosure statement of your chosen insurer to understand what is covered and what isn't.

Mental Illness FAQs

What can affect mental health travel insurance coverage?

Some travel insurers don't offer any coverage for pre-existing conditions including mental health issues. Other travel insurance brands require you to complete a medical assessment online to figure out whether they can cover you. Don't worry - it's easier than it sounds. You simply answer some questions about your condition. Medical screening forms may ask about recent hospitalisations, whether you take any medication, whether you are currently seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist, and if you have ever cancelled travel due to a mental illness before.

What if standard travel insurers won't cover my mental illness?

Specialist medical travel insurer AllClear Travel Insurance offers medical travel insurance for mental health conditions, including more severe cases of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. While they do not cover all travellers with all conditions, they may be worth considering if a standard travel insurer won't cover you.

Otherwise, you can look into an insurance broker, or insurers who do not cover pre-existing conditions. The latter would, however, mean that you had no coverage if a deterioration of your existing mental health condition was the reason you had to cancel or curtail your trip, or seek medical attention overseas.

What should I do if I suffer a panic attack while on holidays?

Speak to your doctor about having a plan for what do should a panic attack strike. Having a plan and tools can reduce the fear of panicking, and reduce likelihood of panic attacks.

What if the person I'm travelling with has a mental health condition?

If the person is on your policy, make sure you or they fill out a medical assessment - otherwise, if they have to cancel the trip due to their illness, neither of you would be covered.

If the person you're travelling with has a mental health condition and they are with a different insurer, your insurer is unlikely to cover you for someone else's pre-existing condition.

What if I forget to tell my travel insurer about my mental health conditions?

If you have forgotten to declare your mental health conditions to your insurer, give them a call to see if they can update your pre-existing medical assessment. Otherwise, you wouldn't be covered for any issues related to your pre-existing condition.

Why do I need travel cover for my pre-existing mental health issues?

This is dependent on you and your circumstances. If, as a result of your pre-existing mental health conditions you needed to pay for medical expenses overseas, or had lost deposits from cancellation or curtailment of your trip, you would generally not have provision to claim.

Contributor Carolina

Carolina Tran

Carolina has been working exclusively in the travel insurance industry for over two years. With a customer consultancy background and currently studying law, she is a fine-print wizard who loves helping travellers find a policy that actually works for them. Speaking two languages and having travelled all over the world, Carolina discovered that she is not cut out for working holidays after a stint on her grandparents’ southern Vietnam farm, and is definitely a lounge-by-the-pool kind of lady.

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