Travel insurance for travelers with special needs

By: Dream Team Media

If you have special needs you must ensure that your special circumstances are covered by the policy you choose.

Pre-existing medical conditions

Most insurers do not automatically cover pre-existing medical illnesses or medical conditions. However traveler's can apply for coverage for their pre-existing illness via an application, which is, then subject to approval and possible payment of a premium. Keep in mind there are illnesses and conditions that will not be covered under any circumstances. Some insurers offer automatic coverage for common illnesses/conditions such as tinnitus, asthma or stable high blood pressure but the onus is on the traveler to check because conditions can apply. For example if you are on a hospital waiting list for treatment for your illness or condition you may not be covered. Sometimes insurers will offer you a policy that excludes claims caused by your condition or they may not offer a policy because of the destination of your travels.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

In general they are usually defined as any chronic or ongoing medical or dental condition for which you have received treatment or advice within a specified time prior to the policy being issued or any chronic or ongoing medical condition, illness or disease that's been medically documented prior to departure.

If the insurer does agree to cover you it is recommended you get it in writing. There may be an additional premium. Also check the excess in relation to a claim relating to the pre-existing condition. If you cannot get travel insurance for your condition it is still important to get travel insurance for other claims.

Pregnant Women

Most policies will cover pregnant women on application but you might be charged an additional premium for prior complications.

The cut-off point for coverage during pregnancy varies from 26 weeks to ‘no time limit', with 26 weeks being the norm. Many policies cover unforeseen complications of the pregnancy during that time period, but they don't all cover the medical costs of a premature baby.

Some charge an additional premium. Policies do not cover full-term birth. A few policies don't cover you if you buy a policy and depart on your journey without knowing you are pregnant.

Older Travelers

Most of the policies offered have special conditions for older travelers. Some will require the payment of an extra premium while others will not offer cover after a specific age such as 75.

Most will require a medical assessment; some will charge a higher premium or extra fee. Others have no fee but have an extra excess for medical claims.

Adrenalin Seekers & Adventure Travelers

It is very important to check what activities you are covered for and more importantly what activities you are not covered for. Most amateur sports are covered however there are exclusions. Exclusions can include mountaineering using ropes, base jumping, running with the bulls, snowboarding and professional sports. All product disclosure statements will outline the specific ‘adventures' which are covered. Be aware that an extra premium may apply and read the conditions.

Single Parents traveling with children

If you are a single parent or adult travelling alone with several children most policies will cover the children for the single premium. However, some only allow cover for two dependent children travelling with one parent. It is important to check the age limits for children traveling with one parent.

Duo policies

These are policies that enable two people to travel together under the same policy. Make sure you check the restrictions because some may only allow you to travel with a spouse or family member others may require you to have the exact itinerary whereas others may allow you to spend 50% of time together.

Working while overseas

Working and traveling is a cost effective way of financing your trip. However some policies don't cover you for manual labor or an accident that has happened while working. Policies that do provide cover usually don't charge an additional premium but a few do.

As always make sure you check and double-check what you are buying. It is very important to understand the conditions and restrictions found in the product disclosure statement before you travel. It is essential for you to check all the small print on your policy before you make a decision. Read many policies carefully before making a decision and make sure you understand exactly what you are covered for and more importantly what you are not covered for.

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