Get a Waiver for Coverage

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  • Most travel insurance companies offer pre-existing condition waivers for stable medical conditions that already exist.
  • Policies with waivers do not usually cost more, but you need to purchase coverage within a specified timeframe.
  • Keep in mind that some pre-existing conditions aren’t eligible for a waiver.

Medical travel insurance is a great way to protect your health and finances when traveling. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you might assume you can’t get coverage. Luckily, that’s usually not the case.

Here’s everything you need to know about pre-existing conditions and travel insurance, including how to find coverage options if you have a pre-existing condition.

How do travel insurance companies define a pre-existing condition?

Most travel insurance companies define pre-existing conditions as a change in your medical record that includes tests, examinations, treatment, or changes in medication. The changes in your medical record usually result in a diagnosis, which becomes a pre-existing condition. But you do not have to receive a formal diagnosis for it to be considered a pre-existing condition.

Travel insurance companies consider medical conditions within a specified look-back period, or length of time. The medical condition must be stable to qualify for a claim. Conditions are stable if you do not need additional treatment, medication or diagnosis.

But even if your medical condition is stable, you likely need a pre-existing condition waiver to get coverage for it.

Travel insurance requires a look-back period for pre-existing conditions

If you file a claim, the insurance company has the right to review your medical record and ensure that you do not have a condition related to the claim. This process is known as a “look-back” period since the insurance looks back through your records.

The look-back period usually includes 60 to 180 days before you buy the policy. Before approving your claim, the insurance company wants to determine if the condition already exists.

The insurance company may approve or deny your claim based on what it discovers. To avoid dealing with the risk of denial, you can qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver instead.

How to get a waiver for a pre-existing medical condition

With a pre-existing medical condition waiver, you disclose your medical conditions to your insurance provider and ensure that the condition does not impact your ability to file a claim. If you have a waiver, you can even bypass the look-back period.

The waivers are set up through the travel insurance company and should not impact the cost of your policy.

You must meet the following criteria to qualify for a pre-existing medical condition waiver:

  • Stable medical conditions: Conditions are stable if you do not need additional treatment, medication or diagnosis. You also need to be medically fit to travel on the day of your trip.
  • Get coverage within a certain timeframe: You generally need to establish coverage shortly after you make your first payment towards the trip, but timelines vary by provider.
  • Coverage must equal non-refundable costs: If there are non-refundable parts of your trip, your travel insurance coverage must equal or exceed that amount.

For example, if you were diagnosed with high blood pressure several years ago, but the condition has been stable since — your medication manages the symptoms, and you have not needed additional medical support — then you are likely to qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver .

Where to find travel coverage for pre-existing conditions

Various companies offer travel insurance for travelers with pre-existing conditions, including Allianz Travel, GoReady, Nationwide, and AIG.

You can contact individual companies for quotes or work with a travel insurance comparison site like TravelInsurance.com, SquareMouth, or InsureMyTrip. Comparison sites allow you to review multiple quotes at once. You can usually filter results based on companies that offer pre-existing medical condition waivers.

Regardless of which company you choose, it’s important to understand the policies regarding pre-existing conditions and adhere to the requirements.

Pre-existing conditions and travel insurance FAQ

Some companies do not provide coverage if you have certain health conditions, such as depression, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but it varies based on the provider. The coverage details of your policy depend on the plan you select. But comprehensive travel insurance usually covers baggage delays, trip cancellations, and emergency medical care.

Allianz offers travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions with a waiver. You are eligible as long as you establish coverage within 14 days of paying the first deposit for the trip. But Allianz does exclude certain conditions like bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

A company can deny your travel insurance claim based on what it discovers in the look-back period if you do not have a pre-existing condition waiver.

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