When it comes to pre-existing conditions in travel insurance, people may get confused about some of the terms and conditions. This is partly because every company has different rules on the issue of pre-existing conditions. Since there is also no standard guideline or time frame, travelers have to be extra careful to find the best coverage.
To put it simply, any illness from the simplest cold to the most serious cancer is considered a pre-existing condition by an insurance company. Here are some more concrete guidelines. If you have symptoms of a certain illness before you obtained the insurance, it’s considered a pre-existing condition. Along the same vein, any illness treated before you got the policy is also considered a pre-existing condition. When you’ve consulted a doctor about the illness, it’s considered a pre-existing condition. In fact, it’s best that you inform the travel insurance company if you have had any medication changes within that set period. Failure to report any possible pre-existing condition will result in complications if you need insurance when you are stricken by that illness.
In some cases, you don’t even have to know that you have this condition. If you discover that you were previously ill, even if you didn’t know about it, it can still be technically considered a pre-existing condition. This is why it’s important to see a doctor before you take any trips.
Most companies will only issue a travel insurance policy to travelers with a pre-existing condition only if they are considered “medically stable” by their doctor. This means that they have to be stable at the time of obtaining insurance and have not “taken a turn for the worst.” This also means that the condition is not likely to change at a point in the near future. In other words, travel insurance companies will not insure people whose conditions are likely to get worse while they have a policy with the company.
It’s important to note that few companies will offer any form of travel insurance to someone with a pre-existing condition which is still being treated. In nearly all cases, treatment must be well completed before the person applies for an insurance policy, especially if the person is not free to travel. It doesn’t matter if you can travel later. If you can’t travel now, it’s pointless to apply for travel insurance.
In the criteria of determining a pre-existing condition, travel insurance companies look at the “lookback period.” A company defines a certain timeline and if the condition or symptoms appeared during this time period, it’s considered a pre-existing condition. In most cases, this period is 90 days. Some companies have a shorter lookback period, which may be 60 days, but some actually have a lookback period as long as 180 days. If an illness occurred during this time, it must be revealed to the insurance company or any policy obtained is automatically annulled for fraud.
The declaration of a pre-existing condition serves to protect the interests of the travel insurance company as well as the applicant. If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s best to be transparent about it.