How to Decide if You Need Pre-Existing Coverage on Your Travel Insurance?

Your travel insurance policy would cover any loss or damage arising due to sudden medical emergencies, flight delay or cancellation, trip curtailment, financial emergencies and legal troubles.

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    However, most travel insurance policies do not cover any pre-existing illness or a condition which may hamper your trip. So, you need to either inform the insurer about it in advance or check the policy documents to see if it can be included as an add-on in your existing travel insurance policy. This is applicable to both domestic travel insurance and international travel insurance policies.

    Travel insurance companies do not accept travel insurance claims if the insured person happens to cancel the trip or seeks medical treatment during the trip due to any pre-existing medical illnesses or complications.

    Pre-Existing Conditions

    How are preexisting medical conditions defined by the travel insurance companies? It simply means that your insurer would not consider any claim arising due to symptoms or conditions which were treated or diagnosed before the beginning of the trip or before the policy came into effect.

    Understanding the Look-Back Period

    This is usually the time before the date on which your travel insurance policy becomes effective. Look-back period is the time taken by the insurance company to review if there is any pre-existing condition which you might not have declared before the commencement of the policy. Every plan has a different look-back period, but it is usually around 2-3 months prior to the date of policy commencement.

    This is how you would know if you need Pre-Existing Coverage on Your Travel Insurance Policy

    You need to ascertain if you have got any medical tests done or made any changes to your medical prescription before your trip. If the answer to this is yes, then you will need to consider preexisting condition coverage in your travel insurance policy.

    There are a number of travel insurance providers, namely, Reliance travel insurance, HDFC Ergo travel insurance, TATA AIG travel insurance, Apollo Munich. You can read their policy inclusions and exclusions and compare them to pick the best one.

    Circumstances to Consider        

    These are the possible scenarios which may take place and hamper your entire trip.

    Imagine that your father and mother are travelling from India to visit you in the US. Naturally, you have taken international travel insurance to safeguard them against any health risks. You didn’t know that your father was treated for cholesterol a few months ago, though he was not at the risk of heart attack, and he discontinued medication before the vacation. During the trip, he was diagnosed with heart problems, but your travel insurance claim was denied. Do you know why? Because your travel insurer examined your pre-existing medical conditions and analyzed that the medical emergency was due to the heart symptoms that came into being prior to the trip.

    A lot of families commit this mistake and assume that nothing would go wrong or the health condition won’t deteriorate or reoccur during the trip.

    Elucidated Below another Scenario Which Can Hamper Your Trip

    A traveler’s wife was suffering from minor chest pains which they both misconnected with digestive disorders, and after consulting their physician, nothing else was diagnosed. After that, they purchased their tickets and booked their travel insurance policy. After few weeks, when her chest pain increased, she was taken to the hospital where the heart specialist advised her a few medical tests to ascertain her health condition and if she was fit to travel. She was advised to not travel the very next day. But the claim was rejected by the travel insurance company, as this happened due to a pre-existing medical condition. Had they been aware, they wouldn’t have booked the tickets; but they thought that the pains were not that serious, and booked the tickets anyway. 

    What went wrong? In this case, the first doctor was not able to identify how serious the pains could get. But later on, the heart specialist was able to link the pain to a heart disease. Unfortunately, their claim was rejected because it was directly or indirectly connected to the conditions that the traveler had prior to the date of policy purchase.

    Conclusion - It’s advisable that you do not make such guesses. It’s imperative to note that your travel insurer will assess your medical records for the verification of an existing health condition. If the travel insurance company gets to know that your previous medical conditions have a connection with the medical emergency for which you have made the claim, then your claim will be denied. 

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