Travel insurance protects you in case of unexpected medical emergencies and related expenses that you may incur while travelling outside of the country or your home province.
Our handy consumer guide provides you with the key points for choosing travel medical coverage.
Pre-existing medical conditions
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 condition and terms such as treatment and stable as they relate to your personal medical history.
Insurance companies may define these terms differently, but generally they will not cover conditions or symptoms that have, within a certain time frame prior to your departure:
- deteriorated or become more frequent
- been treated by a medical professional
- required change of medication type or dosage
- been recommended for consultations or tests
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.
Some policies will require you to declare all of your medical conditions and medications. Others will define the eligibility criteria required for coverage. It’s important that you understand your medical status and report it correctly to the insurance company as that information is used to determine your coverage and your premium.
Be aware that if there are any changes in your medical status between the time you buy the policy and leave on your trip, you need to notify the insurance company as this may affect your eligibility and your rate.
Remember, if you provide inaccurate or incomplete answers to the questions, your claim can be denied; even if the question that is answered incorrectly is not related to the cause of the claim.
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.
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.