Legal Version: A pre-existing condition is defined as any injury, illness, sickness, disease, or other physical, medical, mental or nervous condition, disorder or ailment that existed at the time of application or during the past duration(specified by each insurance plan) prior to the effective date of the insurance, including any subsequent, chronic or recurring complications or consequences related to thereto or arising there from.
What is a pre-existing medical condition with travel insurance?
Simple Version: Something that happened before you bought insurance is called a pre-existing medical condition. Travel insurance generally does not cover pre-ex, or if it does there are specific conditions.
The concept is simple; insurance companies cannot pay a medical bill for something you already had when you bought insurance.
This would be like trying to place a sports bet after the game ends, you already know the outcome. The pre-existing condition in travel insurance stipulation makes sure “all bets are in”, so to speak, by the start of the game.
For example: A travel medical policy states that insurance will not cover any condition(see definition above) that occurred within the previous 36 months. So if you are diagnosed with kidney problems, and take a trip a year later, any re-occurence of your kidney problem will not be covered. The kidney trouble did not start within the insurance coverage.
Every travel medical policy is a little different. If you are a non-US citizen visiting the US, there are no policies that will cover pre-existing conditions.
For US citizens traveling abroad, some policies will cover pre-existing conditions up to a certain limit, an/or for a shorter time (12 months instead of 36 months, or some as low as 60 days). In these cases, the policy must be purchased in a certain period of time; such as within 14 days of the initial trip depost. This varies by company.
The exclusion of pre-existing conditions, or “pre-ex”, is one of the most common reasons for a denied claim. Some travelers hope they can purchase a policy and get that surgery they always wanted, but it just doesn’t work that way.