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What's the Best Travel Insurance for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?

two senior travelers on the beach
Allianz - two senior travelers on the beach

If you have any kind of recent or chronic medical condition, you need travel insurance even more than the average traveler does. Whether it’s as simple as an inflamed knee or as serious as a cancer recurrence, a medical problem can ruin your vacation and cause you to lose all the money you spent — unless you protect yourself with travel insurance.

But how can you find the best travel insurance for your pre-existing medical condition? And how do you know for sure that you’re covered? Here are three things to look for when you’re buying insurance.

1. How Travel Insurance Defines an Existing Medical Condition

You may think that a pre-existing condition means anything you’re being treated for at the time you purchase your travel insurance. The definition is actually broader than that. Allianz Global Assistance defines a pre-existing medical condition as:

An injury, illness, or medical condition that, within the 120 days prior to and including the purchase date of your policy:

  1. Caused a person to seek medical examination, diagnosis, care, or treatment by a doctor;
  2. Presented symptoms; or
  3. Required a person to take medication prescribed by a doctor (unless the condition or symptoms are controlled by that prescription, and the prescription has not changed).

It’s important to know that the illness, injury, or medical condition does not need to be formally diagnosed in order to be considered a pre-existing medical condition.

Let’s consider a few scenarios:

  • Sudden, debilitating pain in an arthritic knee forces you to cancel your planned trekking tour of Iceland. Because you consulted your doctor about knee twinges three months ago, it’s considered a pre-existing condition.
  • While sightseeing in Shanghai, you suffer a mild heart attack. Because you were diagnosed with coronary heart disease three weeks before purchasing travel insurance, this is considered a pre-existing condition.
  • You were diagnosed with lupus many years ago, but it’s been in remission. You feel pretty good when you book your cruise to Bermuda, except for some fatigue and a rash. Then the Caribbean sun triggers a serious lupus flare, sending you to the hospital. Because you had symptoms when you booked your trip, this is considered a pre-existing condition.

2. Travel insurance requirements for covering pre-existing medical conditions 

If you’re dealing with a pre-existing medical condition, that does not mean you can’t get travel insurance, or that you shouldn’t travel at all. You just have to read the insurance policy documents very carefully to make sure you meet all the requirements. As Conde Nast Traveler puts it, “it’s best not to make assumptions. Returning home in pain is bad enough. Don’t intensify it by unnecessarily paying thousands of dollars you could use on your next trip.”

Certain Allianz Global Assistance plans can include pre-existing medical condition coverage as long as you:

  1. Your policy was purchased within the time frame specified in your plan (usually 14 days of the date of the first trip payment or deposit.) In other words, don’t dawdle! Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, so you don’t forget.
  2. Are a U.S. resident.
  3. Make sure you’re medically able to travel on the day you purchase the plan. Don’t assume you’re cleared to travel just because you feel OK that day. If you’re living with a chronic condition, or if you’ve recently had surgery or cancer treatment, it’s wise to get written approval to travel from your doctor.
  4. On the policy purchase date, insure the full non-refundable cost of your trip with Allianz Global Assistance — including trip arrangements that will become non-refundable or subject to cancellation penalties between the policy purchase date and the departure date. Make sure you include your airfare, hotel reservations, tour bookings and any other nonrefundable costs when you’re insuring your trip. If you incur additional non-refundable trip expenses after you purchase your policy, you must insure them with us within 14 days of their purchase. If you do not, those expenses will still be subject to the pre-existing medical condition exclusion.

3. What’s excluded from travel insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions

While most pre-existing conditions are covered by Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance, there are a few exceptions. Mental and nervous health disorders and normal pregnancy aren’t covered, for instance. If you want to make sure your particular condition is covered, speak with an insurance specialist before you buy.

Also, check the cap on trip costs. For the OneTrip Prime Plan, for instance, the total cost of your trip must be no more than $50,000 per person.

Why Allianz Global Assistance offers the best travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions 

If you have any kind of chronic health problem, travel insurance can save your vacation — or even your life. The best travel insurance for pre-existing conditions is the OneTrip Prime Plan from Allianz Global Assistance, which includes abundant coverage for covered emergency medical expenses overseas (up to $50,000). You also get emergency medical transportation benefits up to $500,000 to travel to the nearest appropriate medical facility or to return home. This is huge, especially if you suffer from a serious condition that might require advanced treatment. The OneTrip Premier Plan doubles these amounts.

Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance also can include trip cancellation and interruption benefits to reimburse you for non-refundable trip payments, in case you have to cancel your travel because of your covered pre-existing medical condition or another covered reason. You also get personalized, one-on-one help in emergencies from our hotline staff. Every day they help travelers who are suffering medical emergencies, lost documents, travel delays and other crises, all around the globe. But, our hotline experts say, the toughest thing they deal with is having to tell a customer who’s seriously ill that their pre-existing medical condition's not covered. That’s why it’s so important to follow the rules and meet the requirements.

Have questions about how to choose the best travel insurance for your covered pre-existing medical condition? Call our travel insurance advisers anytime at 1-866-884-3556. Travel happy!

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