Travel insurance policies, including those providing protection for unexpected medical costs, trip cancellation or trip interruption may cover claims relating to pre-existing conditions that are stable and controlled. It is essential to review your policy and understand how it defines pre-existing conditions and terms such as treatment and stable as they relate to your personal medical history. Insurance companies may define this term differently, but generally they will not cover conditions or symptoms that have happened within a certain time frame prior to your departure.
A pre-existing medical condition is usually defined by the following:
- A medical condition you’ve had symptoms for
- A medical condition you’ve received treatment for
- A medica condition that has deteriorated or become more frequent
- A medical condition required change of medication type or dosage
- A medical condition you’ve consulted a medical professional for
If you have any doubts about changes you may have experienced during these time frames, or don’t understand terminology in the policy or your medical application for insurance, check with your doctor and your insurance advisor.
Eligibility, exclusions and limitations
All travel policies define their requirements for eligibility. They also have limits on benefits and maximum amounts for certain types of claims, such as trip cancellation or interruption. There are exclusions; for example, treatment of certain health conditions including pregnancy-related conditions may not be covered or may be limited. In addition, if you have a medical emergency that is addressed through your insurance and that emergency ends, then the same issue or related issues recur, no further benefits are payable because it is now deemed a pre-existing condition. We recommend always reviewing your policy to understand how it defines pre-existing conditions and terms such as “treatment” and “stable” as they relate to your personal medical history.
Claims generated by activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, alcohol or drug abuse may also not be payable. It’s important you read and understand the exclusions and limitations; as travel insurance covers unexpected emergencies only. It is not a substitute for your provincial health insurance.