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Pre-Existing Condition Travel Insurance

Pre-Existing Condition Travel Insurance

Pre-Existing Condition Travel Insurance
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Best Pre-Existing Medical Condition Travel Insurance - Review

Travel Insurance provides financial security for unforeseen events. Consequently, if you have a medical condition that is new or has worsened prior to leaving for a vacation, that condition would be considered ‘foreseen’, and the insurer usually does not cover it. That seems to make sense. If we have a known problem, then it is not unforeseen but something we live with regularly.

Fortunately, most travel insurers support Pre-Existing Medical Condition Travel Insurance when you buy the policy within 10-21 days of your Initial Trip Deposit, and insure all your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.


However, what you may think is a Pre-Existing Medical Condition and what a travel insurer thinks it is can be quite different.

To the insurance company, you typically have a Pre-Existing Medical Condition if:

  • Your condition is new or has recently worsened, or
  • You have had recent procedures done, or
  • Your medication has changed or increased recently, or
  • Your physician has recommended additional testing.

The travel insurer only cares about the time between when you purchased the policy and the 60, 90 or 180 days immediately before purchase. That amount of time is a Look-Back Period or LBP, and the shorter the Look-Back Period, the better.

Ultimately, the best Pre-Existing Medical Condition Travel Insurance Policies have an LBP of only 60 days. That’s 60 days before you bought the policy when your condition first occurred, worsened, or required a change in medication. If your condition is older than the LBP and stable, then as far as the insurer is concerned, it doesn’t exist. They are not bothered by unchanged medical issues or older issues.

For example, if you have been taking a small aspirin for mild hypertension on your own without a doctor’s recommendation for years, then the insurer doesn’t care about this. Stable illnesses are not a problem.

However, some of us will have new illnesses or injuries or a change in medication.

If something new happens within the Look-Back Period, then we have a problem. Because this is a Pre-Existing Condition, the travel insurance carrier excludes it from coverage.

Also, if this condition worsens and causes you to cancel your trip or be admitted into hospital while on vacation, the insurer will not financially cover you.

No one should face the financial risk of needing insurance and having a coverage gap.

So, how can you make sure you are covered for a Pre-Existing Condition? Buy a Travel Insurance policy with a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver. This waiver will waive or ignore the Look-Back Period and automatically cover any Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.

To include a Waiver, you must buy travel insurance within the Time-Sensitive Period (TSP). This Time-Sensitive Period is a short time, typically 10-21 days, after your Initial Trip Payment or Deposit. Once that window passes, the policy does not include a Waiver.

In short, it makes sense to book your travel insurance early and cover all your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.

Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver

If you think you may have a Pre-Existing Condition, the easiest way to determine this is to ask yourself the questions that the insurer asks to flag a Pre-Existing Medical Condition:

  1. If you take medication, has your dosage changed in the last 60 days?
  2. Are there any new conditions that have appeared in the last 60 days?
  3. Are there any procedures done in the last 60 days?
  4. Has your physician recommended any additional testing in the last 60 days?

A ‘yes’ answer to one or more of these questions can flag a Pre-Existing Condition for travel insurance, and you should look for a policy that will provide a pre-existing medical condition waiver. Without the waiver in place, should your condition worsen during the trip and you require medical attention, the insurance may not cover it.


In the scenario below, a traveler planned a trip to Mexico for a week. The traveler is 59 years old and has a Pre-Existing Medical Condition.

His doctor changed his medication within the last 60 days, so we need to find him a Waiver for his Pre-Existing Medical Condition.

Policies that offer the waiver to cover Pre-Existing Medical Conditions require the policy to be purchased anywhere from 10-21 days (depending on the specific policy) from the initial trip payment or deposit date. The policy may also require all prepaid, non-refundable trip cost to be insured as well.

Most policies have a 60-day LBP. However, some policies have a 90 or 180 day LBP, so keep this in mind when choosing a policy. This Look Back Period only comes into play if you missed purchasing the policy during the Time Sensitive Period. A shorter time period is always better.

But what happens if you forget to buy insurance until well outside the maximum 21-day period but still need coverage for a pre-existing condition? Are there any other options? Luckily there is!

There is one policy that may still provide the Pre-Existing Waiver - the IMG Travel LX. This policy isn’t tied to the initial trip payment or deposit date like the other policies, but rather the FINAL trip payment date before departure. It will still cover Pre-Existing Medical Conditions as long as the policy is purchased on or before the final trip payment.

In short, all you need to care about is whether you buy travel insurance within the Time-Sensitive Period of 10-21 days of the Initial Trip Deposit, or if you miss that window, make sure you buy the IMG Travel LX on or before your final trip payment and insure all your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.

When traveling overseas, we always urge travelers to take at least $100,000 of Travel Medical Insurance. Many US health insurance plans do not cover you outside the USA, so they won’t help in an emergency.

Also, in most cases Medicare won’t protect a traveler outside the US. Even Medicare supplement policies, if available, usually only include a lifetime benefit of $50,000. Furthermore, Medicare supplements require you to pay a 20% co-pay, which could be financially devastating in a medical emergency.

If you’re traveling exclusively within the US, AIG’s Travel Guard Essential is a great option, but we do not recommend it or other basic policies for overseas travel as the medical and medical evacuation coverages ($15k and $150k respectively) are too low.

Robust All-Around Policies – Trawick First Class and IMG Travel SE

The Trawick First Class and IMG Travel SE are two popular policies for overseas travel.

They both provide a comprehensive set of travel protection benefits that suit most customers most of the time.

Specifically, for this article, they each offer a Waiver for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and 60-day Look-Back Periods.

Trawick First Class - 60-Day Look-Back and 14-Day Time-Sensitive Waiver

Earlier, we explained that the shorter the Look-Back Period, the better for any traveler with a Pre-Existing Condition. Sixty days is the shortest that we see in any policy. On the other hand, many low-cost travel insurance policies, such as the AIG Travel Guard Essential, offer a 180-day Look-Back. That’s unsuitable for many travelers, particularly seniors.

Trawick First Class offers a 60-day Look-Back. That is excellent news, but if your doctor changed your medication or you sought treatment for a new illness during those 60 days, you have a Pre-existing Medical Condition. Here is where the Waiver comes in.

With this trip insurance policy, we must buy the plan within 14 days of the Initial Trip Deposit to include the Waiver and insure all our prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. Again, we think that this is plenty of time for an organized traveler to get the coverage they need.

If you delay arranging your travel insurance, you lose many benefits due to procrastination.

Trawick Medical Benefits

  • Medical Cover: Secondary
  • Hospital of Choice: No
  • Medical Sickness: $150,000 per traveler
  • Medical Evacuation: $1,000,000 per traveler

Free Look Period

  • 10 days (Not Available in WA or NY)

Extra Cancellation Benefit

  • Cancel for Work Reason: No
  • Cancel for Any Reason: Optional
  • Time Sensitive Period: 14 days

Pre-Existing Condition Benefit

  • Look Back Period: 60 days
  • Waiver of Look Back: Yes
  • Time Sensitive Period: 14 days

A.M. Best Rating

  • A+

IMG Travel SE - 60-Day Look-Back and 20-Day Time-Sensitive Waiver

IMG Travel SE  permits up to 20 days for their Time Sensitive Period.

Therefore, you must buy the policy within 20 days of the initial trip payment or deposit to include the Waiver for the Exclusion of Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.

That might not sound helpful, but we frequently see quotes for travelers who have left insurance a little too late for the Trawick First Class yet have just enough time for the IMG Travel SE. Sometimes those extra few days are all they need to get a policy in place.

In many areas, the policies are similar.

Medical Benefits

  • Medical Cover: Primary
  • Hospital of Choice: No
  • Medical Sickness: $250,000 (for most states) – per traveler
  • Medical Evacuation: $500,000 – per traveler

Free Look Period

  • 10 days

Extra Cancellation Benefit

  • Cancel for Work Reason: 100% refund
  • Cancel for Any Reason: No
  • Time-Sensitive Period: None

Pre-Existing Condition Benefit

  • Look Back Period: 60 days
  • Waiver of Look Back: Yes
  • Time-Sensitive Period: 20 days

A.M. Best Rating

  • A

Note the IMG Travel SE has Primary Medical Insurance, while the Trawick First Class has Secondary Medical Insurance. Primary coverage is often preferable over Secondary coverage because the insurance carrier takes over the responsibility of hospital payment as soon as possible.

Pre-Existing Medical Condition Definition Language

Let’s look at the policy definition of a Pre-Existing Condition for the IMG Travel SE for travelers from Arizona. It’s essential to understand the contractual language. The language is similar across most policies.

Here is what the IMG Travel SE uses:

Pre-Existing Medical Condition means an illness, disease, or other condition during the sixty (60) -day period immediately prior to the date Your coverage is effective for which You or Your Traveling Companion, Business Partner, Family Member, Pet, or Service Animal scheduled or booked to travel with You:

(a) received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment for a condition which first manifested itself, worsened or became acute, or had symptoms which would have prompted a reasonable person to seek diagnosis, care or treatment; or

(b) took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine. Item (2) of this definition does not apply to a condition which is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the sixty (60) day period before coverage is effective under this policy.

 (c) required a change in prescribed medication. Change in prescribed medication means the dosage or frequency of a medication has been reduced, increased, stopped and/or new medications have been prescribed due to the worsening of an underlying condition that is being treated with the medication, unless the change is: (i) between a brand name and a generic medication with comparable dosage; or (ii) an adjustment to insulin or anti-coagulant dosage.

To sum up, if you fell ill in the 60 days before buying Travel Insurance, had a change in medication, had a new condition or an existing condition became more severe, or received a recommendation for additional testing, then the medical condition is considered ‘Pre-Existing’. That is why we like shorter Look-Back Periods. It’s better to worry about the previous 60 days than 180 days.

As a result, if you have a Pre-Existing Condition, then you need a Waiver.

Next, we identify critical language differences between the Trawick First Class  and the IMG Travel SE.


Below is the policy language defining the Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver in both the IMG Travel SE and the Trawick First Class for our sample Arizona travelers.

The IMG Travel SE:

We will waive the Pre-Existing Medical Condition exclusion if all of the following conditions are met: (a) Your premium for this policy is received within the Time Sensitive Period.

The IMG Travel SE language requires the purchase of the policy within the Time- Sensitive Period, which is 20 days from the initial trip payment or deposit date.

Trawick First Class:

The Pre-Existing Condition exclusion will be waived provided: (a) Your premium is received within the Time Sensitive Period; and (b) You insure all pre-paid Trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions, and also insure the cost of any subsequent arrangements (or any other arrangements not made through Your travel agent) added prior to Your Trip; and (c) You are medically able to travel on Your Effective Date.

The Trawick First Class language requires several additional requirements to be met:

  • Purchase of the policy within the Time-Sensitive-Period, which is 14 days from the initial trip payment or deposit date.
  • All pre-paid trip costs subject to cancellation penalties/restrictions are insured
  • Insure any additional travel arrangements added after policy purchase and before departure
  • You are medically able to travel on the Effective Date

The Trawick First Class Policy has more requirements than the IMG Travel SE. Other policies may require several additional conditions to be met, so bear this in mind when choosing a policy to include a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver.

Pre-Existing Medical Condition Travel Insurance – Shop Around

Whenever you are reviewing different policy options, make sure that you take the time to look at the policy benefits.

With this overview of only two policies, we hope that you can see that different plans will have different benefit levels.

Each quote provides an overview of every policy’s benefits. It is always worth reviewing the policy document before you purchase a travel insurance policy, and we provide links to all plans on the site.

Most customers find you can compare over a dozen trip insurance plans from some of the largest US travel insurers.

Therefore, you can save time and money by finding the right plan for your particular needs.

AARDY has a call center to answer any questions you have. We can walk you through the details of each insurance policy that we offer and make sure you get the trip insurance plan that you need.

Regardless of what your pre-existing medical condition is, there is probably a policy that can cover you.

Safe travels!

This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.

Recent AARDY Travel Insurance Customer Reviews

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Melanie was able to guide to the right…

Melanie was able to guide to the right policy that we needed for our trip at a reasonable price.

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Very personal and professional.

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Easy, professional experience

Denise was helpful, professional, and knew her stuff. She made making a decision easy for us on a busy Saturday morning. We were able to take care of trip insurance with one phone call.