If you are like 34% of Canadians, your travel plans started with an online search as you eagerly browsed the reviews and travel deal websites for a chance to escape on your next adventure. Travel is a great way to give yourself and your family something to look forward to in anticipation. But remember, if you are planning a getaway even if it is only to leave your home province, you need travel insurance to protect you from the financial hardship of a medical emergency.
You may believe that if you are feeling okay to go – everything is a go for travel. But if you have a pre-existing health condition you have even more reason to buy travel insurance.
It is critical to thoroughly understand your travel insurance and how to apply for it when you have health issues, so here are some important tips to remember.
Travel insurance when you have a pre-existing condition
Travel insurance when you have a pre-existing condition is more expensive than for those who do not; there is no doubt about it. You know what else is expensive? Paying out-of-pocket for medical care when you are far away from home, and you have very little leverage to negotiate. To get the best rate on travel insurance when you have past medical history to consider, it’s best to start shopping well before your trip.
If you do foresee travel in your future and you have just encountered health issues, it is in your best interest to start building a relationship with an insurance broker like SBIS right away. When you purchase insurance from a broker like SBIS, we will assist you in understanding how to apply for coverage, and what you will and will not be covered for. If you plan on taking multiple trips, SBIS saves you a lot of time by understanding your needs, so you don’t have to go over the basics of your health history repeatedly every time you want to take a trip. And, if you do have a health emergency your travel insurance provider will negotiate the claims payment on your behalf with the hospital involved, leaving you one less thing to worry about. A good broker like SBIS will also step up to become a buffer between you and the insurance company during a claim so there is no extra hassle to you.
Yes, you have to be upfront about your medical history
A word of caution when you apply for travel insurance: full disclosure is required.
When you are filling out application forms for your travel health insurance, it may be tempting to fudge a little on the details of a pre-existing condition to initially save a bit of money on your quote. That is a bad, bad idea. Your insurance company can and will request access to your medical records as part of their claim investigation process. Lying or omitting details on your application form will effectively void your policy.
If you wonder if the details of a prior accident or illness are important enough to disclose, then always err on the side of caution. Be sure to include the information on your condition to the best of your recollection, no matter how trivial it may seem, on your application. It is even advisable to have your doctor review your answers to make sure everything is as accurate as it can be.
Not disclosing your health details can have severe results
Unfortunately, some travellers fail to realize what is considered a ‘change in health’ when they apply for travel insurance. That’s why we provide online information tips on how to avoid application mistakes if your health has changed and expert telephone guidance to help you.
While it’s true, travel insurance is harder to get for those with pre-existing conditions, and it’s more expensive than it is for other people, the additional premiums will seem like a drop in a bucket next to the cost of seeking treatment far from home, and the emotional toll of being ill while out of the country. Save yourself the difficulty, stress, and risk of financial strain altogether by making sure you buy travel insurance for your next trip – pre-existing condition or not!
Know your travel insurance coverage options if your health has changed
SBIS offers policies that may meet your needs if your health has changed. You may be eligible for the following travel medical insurance plans with reduced stability period riders or an individual medical underwriting plan:
TuGo Ultimate Trip Guard
If your pre-existing condition does not meet traditional stability requirements, you may be eligible for TuGo Ultimate Trip Guard insurance that provides coverage for pre-existing medical conditions that were stable for a minimum of 7 days before your planned departure date (if it occurs in the week before you leave, you will not be covered).
Destination Health Travel Plans (for ages up to 89)
You may qualify for 30-day, 90-day, or 180-day reduced stability period for your pre-existing medical condition, depending on the plan you are eligible for based on your answers to medical questions on the application. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition that has been stable within a reduced stability period is limited up to $150,000.
Individual Medical Underwriting Plan Underwritten By Manulife (no age limit)
Manulife’s individual medical underwriting plan covers fully disclosed pre-existing conditions without stability requirements. The cost of your insurance is based on your own specific health situation. You must declare all medical conditions including any that have been diagnosed in the last 5 years, you have received treatment for or taken medication for. If you meet the eligibility requirements all your declared conditions will be covered during the trip.
Read our blog here for tips on how to complete a travel insurance medical questionnaire.
Don’t make travel insurance mistakes. We’re here to help
Travel insurance is essential, and it’s critical that you understand what you are covered for and provide accurate medical information when purchasing coverage. It’s equally essential to ensure that you update your travel insurer if your health changes for the better or worsens, prior to your effective date of coverage. Remember, those plans that automatically “cover you” without any medical questionnaires, like ones purchased from banks, may not ask questions when you apply, but will check on your health should you make a claim and may deny your coverage based on their findings.
You can call our SBIS team for help with understanding travel insurance. Knowing you have done that will give you the peace of mind that you have the coverage you need while away.
From a single-trip policy for the infrequent traveller to a multi-trip policy that can cover several adventures within a 12-month period, we can help you find a travel insurance policy that will only leave having a good time on your travel to-do list. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation travel insurance quote or go online at SBIS.