Travel Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

Looking for cover for your pre-existing condition? Compare a range of travel insurance offers with Savvy.

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, updated on September 4th, 2023       

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Just because you have a pre-existing condition doesn't mean you won't be able to purchase a travel insurance policy. If you’re interested in travelling but are looking for the right coverage for your condition, you can compare policies with Savvy.

We're partnered with some of Australia's leading travel insurance providers to give you high-quality options to consider before you jump into your policy purchase. Get the process started with us today by completing a free, no-obligation quote online.

What is a pre-existing condition?

Different travel insurance companies will have different definitions when it comes to determining what a pre-existing condition is. In general terms, such a condition may be an ongoing illness or injury which could impact your eligibility for medical cover under the terms of your travel insurance policy. However, the specific criteria which may apply to your policy may differ significantly depending on which insurer you choose.

There are some insurers who may class a pre-existing condition as an ailment or injury which you've suffered from and received medical advice, treatment, surgery or medication for within the last five years. Others may apply more detailed criteria when assessing whether your condition is a pre-existing one, which may include the following:

  1. Any ongoing/chronic medical condition
  2. Any condition where medical consultation/advice, testing, treatment, surgery or other investigation has taken place, regardless of a formal diagnosis
  3. Any condition where treatment and/or drugs have been prescribed
  4. Any complications resulting from any of the above, whether directly or indirectly

You'll be required to declare any pre-existing condition you currently suffer from when you take out your policy. If you suffer a medical emergency overseas relating to your condition and haven’t declared it with your insurer, for example, your claim could be voided.

Can I get travel insurance to cover my pre-existing condition?

Some insurance companies may provide a list of pre-existing conditions which are included automatically as part of your coverage (subject to meeting other qualification criteria).

This differs from provider to provider, however, so it pays to compare policies to ensure the condition you suffer from won’t increase the cost of your travel insurance by too much. However, there are certain types of conditions, such as heart conditions or types of cancer, which may cost extra to cover.

Common conditions usually covered by insurance policies include:

  1. Acne
  2. Allergies (hay fever, eczema)
  3. Asthma (provided you’re under 60 years old at the time you purchase insurance)
  4. Bell’s palsy
  5. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  6. Coeliac disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Epilepsy (providing you haven’t changed your medication in 12 months and don’t take more than one anti-convulsant)
  9. Graves’ disease
  10. Macular degeneration
  11. Migraines
  12. Sleep apnoea
  13. Solar keratosis
  14. Trigger finger

However, other pre-existing conditions not included in this list may be excluded from coverage by your insurer or, in some cases, included at an increase to the cost of your insurance and/or with further conditions attached. Some of the conditions which are commonly not automatically covered include:

  1. Cancer
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heart conditions
  4. Mental health conditions
  5. Terminal illnesses
  6. Conditions stemming from drug and alcohol addiction
  7. Conditions where you've been advised against travelling
  8. Trips overseas for medical treatment or to take part in a clinical trial

In some cases, your travel insurance company may include pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Whether you'll be able to access the coverage you're looking for in this area will depend on factors such as how far along you are and what your doctor's recommendations are regarding travel. In terms of how far along you can be, some insurers may offer cover for pregnancy-related claims as far along as 32 weeks, though others may reduce their maximum to 18 to 24 weeks. These periods only serve as maximums, however, and any coverage will be subject to other qualification points relating to your pregnancy.

Regardless of whether you’re taking a domestic or international cruise, going on a road trip or flying to Fiji, if you have a pre-existing condition which you believe may impact your trip and want coverage for it, it's important to compare policies to see if you can access the protection you need from claimable events. It's important to have travel insurance for cruises, even domestic ones, as some may not have Medicare-billable doctors onboard.

What information do I need to share about my pre-existing condition?

The information you'll need to provide will depend on the nature of your condition and the insurer you choose to purchase your policy with, as different companies will have different requirements. First and foremost, you'll have to disclose whether you have any pre-existing conditions in the process of buying your travel insurance policy. 

You may have to share some details about your pre-existing medical condition via an online questionnaire during this process and your insurance company may request several documents when declaring a medical condition (depending on your condition and their own requirements). These may include:

  • A medical certificate signed by a GP or a medical specialist
  • Hospital or emergency notes relating to your condition
  • If you suffer an injury resulting from an accident, some providers may request a report from a doctor who saw you 72 hours after the incident

In certain cases, you may be required by some insurers to undergo a medical evaluation as part of this process, but this won't always be required. For example, if you're planning a trip to Vietnam but suffer from asthma (and are under the age of 60), you may not need to undergo an examination.

How do I make a claim on my pre-existing condition?

Making a claim for your pre-existing condition is relatively simple if you’re doing it online. You’ll typically have to do the following:

  1. Provide details: submit your policy reference number, contact information, holiday itinerary and incident details.
  2. Gather your supporting documents: organise your medical or police reports, receipts, written statements, invoices, photographs and any other relevant documentaion.
  3. Complete the form: fill in your claim form with ample detail and provide all the required documentation.
  4. Submit your claim: make sure you respond to your insurer promptly if they need further clarification to any questions. This will help prevent any bumps in the road when filing your claim.

Remember to read your Product Disclosure Statement before claiming with your insurance provider to make sure your unexpected event is included as part of your policy. If you can’t file your claim as soon as possible because you’re overseas, do it promptly once you get home. The longer you wait to make your claim, though, the harder it may be to obtain details from international authorities, such as police or a hospital. As such, you should document everything well if you plan to make a claim when you get home.

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Common questions about travel insurance and pre-existing conditions

What happens if I develop a condition after buying travel insurance?

If you develop a medical condition after buying your policy but before going on your holiday, insurers will recommend you call them as soon as possible. This is because not informing them of any changes between your purchase and departure may result in a voided claim should you suffer from a claimable event related to this condition.

I’m over 65. Can I get travel insurance with pre-existing conditions?

You may be able to receive coverage for pre-existing medical conditions if you’re a senior over 65. However, this will depend on the nature of your condition and other health-related requirements set in place by your insurer.

Can I get travel insurance coverage if I'm on blood thinners?

It's unlikely that you'll be able to access coverage for a pre-existing condition which requires you to be on blood thinners. Check with different insurers to see whether your condition and medication still enable you to access the cover you're looking for.

Can I purchase travel insurance when I’m overseas?

There may be travel insurance companies which might allow you to purchase a travel insurance policy while you’re already travelling overseas. For example, you may be able to purchase a one-way travel insurance policy with some insurers which covers your return to Australia. This won't always be the case, however, so it's worth checking with your insurer when buying your policy to see whether you're able to do so.

Can I cancel my policy for free?

If you cancel your travel insurance policy inside the cooling-off period, you can receive a full refund. Providers usually give you between 14 and 25 days to reconsider your purchase and receive a full refund on your premium, provided you haven't made a claim in that time. After that, you can cancel your policy at any time; however, you’ll forfeit either the partial or full cost of your premium in doing so.

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We do not compare all travel insurance brands currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and does not consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

Savvy earns a commission from our partners each time a customer buys a travel insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via their websites.

Before purchasing your policy, we recommend you refer to the provider’s PDS for any further information on the terms, inclusions and exclusions.