Many airlines will refuse to carry women who are in an advanced stage of pregnancy – again, because of the risk that the mother will go into labor and/or need medical attention while in flight. And most travel insurance providers are understandably unwilling to take the extra risk of insuring pregnant travelers because of the increased possibility that the mother will need medical attention. If the traveler wants their travel insurance plan to cover cancellation due to pregnancy, can they get it?
If pregnancy is specifically excluded from all travel insurance coverage, what’s a traveler to do?
Respect the Timing
If the traveler is already pregnant, that’s considered a pre-existing condition and therefore not covered except by adding the pre-existing condition coverage. If the insured is pregnant before the travel insurance plan’s effective date, you’ll need to purchase a travel insurance plan with coverage for pre-existing conditions. If the insured is not yet pregnant, but may become pregnant before or during the trip, understand that trip cancellations and interruptions will not be covered unless there are medical complications due to the pregnancy.
If you recently purchased your travel insurance, and have discovered you are or may be pregnant, your purchase may be within the free look period (typically 10-15 days after the purchase) and you may be able to make changes or cancel the policy for one that has the coverage you need.
Know that Complications due to Pregnancy are Covered
While normal pregnancy is specifically excluded from travel insurance coverage, which means you can’t cancel your trip, end it and return home, or get medical care while traveling unless there are medical complications resulting from the pregnancy.
A complication of pregnancy is defined as “a condition whose diagnosis is distinct from pregnancy but is adversely affected or caused by pregnancy”. So, you’ll have travel coverage for emergency medical treatment if you become pregnant after the travel insurance plan’s effective date and the plan includes ‘complications due to pregnancy’ as a covered event.
Buy ‘Cancel for any reason’ for Trip Cancellation Protection
It’s important for travelers to understand that being pregnant, in itself, isn’t included as a covered reason to cancel your trip. Similarly, if your pregnancy turns out to be a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy and you’re advised not to travel, that isn’t a covered reason to cancel either.
So, if you find out you’re pregnant and decide that a trip to the Bahamas six months down the road isn’t for you, you won’t be covered for that trip cancellation without ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage.
Best Practices for Women Who Are or May Become Pregnant
The following are the travel insurance best practices for women who are or may become pregnant and are planning to travel:
If you’re already pregnant – check that the plan specifically states that complications of pregnancy are covered and that it has pre-existing medical condition coverage. See the details of pre-existing medical coverage for information about timing your travel insurance purchase.
If you might become pregnant – if you want the absolute right to cancel your trip if you become pregnant, you’ll need to buy ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage.