Travelling with a Pre-Existing Condition

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As the weather begins to turn cold across most of Canada, many of us start eagerly browsing the last minute travel deal websites for a chance to escape winter's harsh blast. Winter travel is a great way to give your family something to look forward to when the endless drudgery of snow seems too much to bear. If you are planning a getaway to a warm destination this winter, or really any time you're planning to leave your home province, you need travel insurance to protect you from the financial hardship of a medical emergency.

Those with pre-existing conditions are often convinced that as long as their medical issue is under control when they leave the country, there is no reason to buy travel insurance. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Travel Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

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 take into account, it’s best to start shopping around early.

However, if you do foresee a lot of travel in your future, it is in your best interest to start building a relationship with an insurance broker right now. It could save you a lot of time going over the details of your health history repeatedly every time you want to take a trip. When you purchase insurance from a broker, they will negotiate the claims payment on your behalf with the hospital involved, leaving you one less thing to worry about. A good broker will become a buffer between you and the insurance company after a claim is paid so there is no extra hassle to you.

Full Disclosure is Required

A word of caution about disclosure: Yes, you have to be upfront about your medical history. 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. Bad, bad idea. Your insurance company can and will request access to your medical records as part of their claims investigation process. Lying on your application form will effectively void your policy. It’s true, read the fine print. 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 advisable to have your doctor review your answers to make sure everything is as accurate as it can be.

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. However, the additional premiums will seem like a drop in a bucket next to the costs 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 difficulty altogether by making sure you buy travel insurance for your next trip – pre-existing condition or not!


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