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Travel Insurance Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage - How It Works


What is a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?

When a trip cancellation travel insurance company refers to a "Pre-Existing Condition", they are talking about medical conditions that exist in the Lookback Period that immediately preceeds the travel insurance purchase date.

Simply put, a Pre-Existing Condition is any medically documented condition (no matter how minor) an Insured Person, Traveling Companion or Family Member has been treated for, consulted with or received advice on. This includes any adjustments or changes in any prescription drugs or medication during the Lookback Period. The condition has to be medically stable.

Medically Stable also includes the idea that nothing is foreseen or expected to "be a turn for the worse". In other words if you're given a week to live and you want to buy travel insurance for a cruise next month, you can't cover the Pre-Existing Condition. It's like wanting to buy Fire Insurance when your house is on fire.

Here's some actual policy wording:

"Any injury, illness, sickness or medical condition of an Insured or Family Member which either manifests itself or exists during the Lookback Period immediately preceding the day you buy Travel Insurance, unless the condition is controlled through the taking of prescription drugs or medication and remains controlled throughout the Lookback Period. A pre-existing condition has manifested itself when medical care, treatment or diagnosis has been given."

What this means is starting today, if during the Lookback Period:

  • You, a traveling companion or a family member, has any injury, illness, disease, sickness or medical condition and
  • Has been diagnosed, treated for it, had any prescription changes (increase or decrease), been advised to be treated, had symptoms of it, hopitalized, saw a medical professional for it, etc.
  • Then that person has a Pre-Existing Condition as defined by a Travel Insurance policy. Note: If that person has a medical condition that's farther in the past than the Lookback Period, they don't have a Pre-Existing Condition.

Why is this important?

You can cancel or interrupt your trip or receive medical treatment even if you have a Pre-Existing Condition - if you follow the rules.

Trip cancellation travel insurance excludes claims due to pre-existing medical conditions. Some travel insurance plans will waive the pre-existing condition exclusion at no extra charge if you get your travel insurance in the first 10, 14 or 21 days after your first trip payment date (before the end of these 10, 14 or 21 days).

Any payment on your trip is considered the first payment. This includes the tax you pay when you redeem frequent flyer tickets, refundable deposits or even a trip planning consultation fee if that fee is later credited toward your trip costs.

You'll protect yourself if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip or receive medical treatment because of that pre-existing medical condition. There are three primary rules to keep in mind:

  • You have to insure your trip's full prepaid, non-refundable cost and
  • person with the medical condition has to be medically stable when you get your insurance and
  • You must get your travel insurance in the first 10, 14 or 21 days after your first trip payment date

If you're past the first 10, 14 or 21 days you will be governed by the "Lookback Period".

What's the bottom line?

If Pre-Existing Conditions are a concern for you or your traveling companions, you have to buy your trip cancellation travel insurance within the deadlines.

Steve Dasseos is the CEO of TripInsuranceStore.com. You can compare travel insurance policies at this website. Contact Steve here.


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