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The truth about pre-existing medical conditions and travel insurance

Did you know simple conditions such as allergies, asthma, epilepsy, high cholesterol and osteoporosis are all covered under your travel insurance policy?*

Don’t let your pre-existing medical condition stop you from travelling the world and seeing the sights.

There are plenty of insurers out there who are willing to cover travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, it may just take a bit of extra effort to get the cover.

Medical expenses abroad can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, if you throw in some emergency evacuation and a nurse or relative to escort you back to Australia. No one wants to come home from a trip in a wheelchair, but you never know unexpected disaster could happen, so you need to be covered for the unexpected, and make sure any pre-existing medical conditions have been declared to your insurer.

Generally, anything for which you have been hospitalised, take medication for, or get regular treatment for can be considered a pre-existing medical condition. Even a broken arm five years ago could change the conditions of your insurance policy.

While some budget insurers may have exclusions, many companies will have a long list of conditions that are automatically covered for free, provided you have not been hospitalised for that condition recently.

What conditions are covered?

Most insurers cover simple conditions such as allergies, asthma, epilepsy, high cholesterol and osteoporosis.

*subject to the individual insurer’s conditions.

What conditions are not covered?

More serious illnesses such as heart problems, diabetes with complications and chronic airways diseases are not covered under travel insurance. For a full list always refer to the insurers Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

If your condition is not automatically covered, you may be able to apply for extra cover by completing a medical form and/or paying an additional loading.

There will always be some pre-existing medical conditions that insurers will not cover. If your condition is not covered by one particular insurer, try a few of the others to see if they have different terms and conditions. If you can’t find any cover for your condition, and you can’t risk travelling without cover, then you could always consider a domestic holiday, during which Medicare and/or your private health cover would cover you in the event of an emergency.

What do I need to have ready?

Each insurer will have different requirements for pre-existing medical conditions. Some may require a form to be completed by your doctor or specialist, while others may have a simple online application that you can complete yourself. If your condition requires an additional loading fee, it is usually optional whether or not you pay this extra. If you are not worried about your condition, you can often opt to have the condition excluded, however you should make sure that this will not affect other medical claims.

You can use compareinsurance.com.au to compare quotes of different travel insurance providers. Once you have found a suitable quote, you can then go and check out that company’s website and PDS to confirm the quote and find out what is required to cover your condition.

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