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Travel insurance

Travelling with a pre-existing condition

Confusion about pre-existing conditions, cover for illness and how it affects you if you need to claim is the most common source of misunderstanding for travellers.

In this article we help you to understand what you need to tell your insurer before you go on holiday – and that having a pre-existing medical condition or illness doesn’t automatically mean you can’t buy travel insurance.

What does pre-existing condition mean?

A pre-existing condition in travel insurance refers to a diagnosed medical or dental condition – whether current or in the past. Most travel insurance policies regardless of insurer, will have a requirement for the traveller to declare pre-existing conditions, so that the right cover can be offered to you.

It’s not just conditions like cancer or heart disease, cholesterol and mental illness – it includes medical conditions that have been diagnosed and documented that you require cover for whilst you’re on holiday.

This also includes any ongoing medical or dental condition that you are currently receiving treatment for. If you are on holiday and you need to seek medical treatment for it – you may not be covered if you haven’t declared it to your insurer.

The most common conditions that people neglect to declare include high blood pressure, asthma, knee or hip replacements, pacemakers and stents. They don’t purposefully neglect to declare them – people usually just don’t know that they need to declare them when applying for travel insurance.

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Automatic coverage

HBF travel insurance automatically covers some pre-existing medical conditions such as well-controlled asthma, non-insulin dependent diabetes, pregnancy up to 24 weeks, high cholesterol and high blood pressure provided they meet certain criteria and only if you have no other pre-existing medical conditions. Check our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for full details and always ask your insurer about the pre-existing medical conditions they automatically cover as each insurer is different.

If your pre-existing medical condition is not automatically covered, your insurer may provide cover for it once they have assessed the condition.

HBF provides online medical assessments which are very quick and easy, you simply need to answer a few questions for each medical condition you want cover for. Once completed you receive an immediate response advising you if it is a medical condition we can cover. There is no need to visit a doctor to have a medical assessment form filled out, and we can help you through the process to make sure you have the cover you need before you go on holiday.

If your insurer isn’t able to cover your specific pre-existing condition, you can usually still purchase travel insurance and be covered for other unrelated unforeseen medical expenses or other events such as lost luggage, travel delays or accidents, as long as they aren’t related to your pre-existing medical condition.

Tips for travellers

If you’re buying travel insurance for a couple or a family, you will need to make sure you disclose all medical conditions that they will require cover for. List any current and previous medical conditions as well as surgery and ongoing medical treatment before you apply for travel insurance so you don’t accidentally forget a condition you may have had. Think about the conversations you’ve had with your GP recently, consider any medication you are currently taking and why you are taking it.

Sharing your medical conditions with your travel insurer helps them to find you the best travel insurance cover for your specific needs, so you can get on with enjoying your holiday.


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