HomeBlogBest Pre-Existing Condition Travel Insurance - 2022 Review

Best Pre-Existing Condition Travel Insurance - 2022 Review

Best Pre-Existing Medical Condition Travel Insurance - Review

Insurance provides financial security for unforeseen events. Consequently, if you have a medical condition before you leave for a vacation, that is not considered an ‘unforeseen event’ 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 2-3 weeks of your Initial Trip Deposit.

AuroraPano Cruises Travel Insurance

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 only 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 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 a 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 60 days 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 for ten 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 14-21 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.

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. Any new conditions that have appeared in the last 60 days?
  3. 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 what 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.

Example

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 be purchased anywhere from 14 days to a maximum of 21 days (depending on the specific policy) from the initial trip payment or deposit date.

Below is the list of policies and their Time Sensitive Periods and Look Back Periods (should the policy be purchased AFTER the Time Sensitive Period shown).

Policy

Time Sensitive Period

Look Back Period

AIG Travel Guard Essential

15 Days

180 Days

AIG Travel Guard Preferred

15 Days

180 Days

AIG Travel Guard Deluxe

15 Days

180 Days

AIG Travel Guard Plus

21 Days

180 Days

IMG Travel Lite

20 Days

60 Days

IMG Travel SE

20 Days

60 Days

John Hancock Bronze

14 Days

60 Days

John Hancock Silver

14 Days

60 Days

John Hancock Gold

14 Days

60 Days

Seven Corners Round Trip Choice

20 Days

60 Days

Seven Corners Round Trip Elite

20 Days

60 Days

Travel Insured World Wide Trip Protector

21 Days

60 Days

Travel Insured World Wide Trip Protector Plus

21 Days

60 Days

Trawick First Class

14 Days

60 Days

As you can see, AIG has the longest look back period of 180 days while the rest of the policies will only look back 60 days. 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 forgot to buy insurance until well outside the maximum 21-day period but still needed coverage for a pre-existing condition? Are there any other options? Luckily there are!

Two policies – The Trawick Voyager and the IMG Travel LX aren’t tied to the initial trip payment or deposit date. They will still cover a pre-existing medical condition 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 14-21 days of the Initial Trip Deposit, or if you miss that window, making sure you buy one of the other two policies on or before your final trip payment.

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

Also, 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 – John Hancock Silver and IMG Travel SE

The John Hancock Silver and IMG Travel SE are two popular policies for overseas travel.

When you examine the John Hancock Silver and the IMG Travel SE plans, 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.

John Hancock Silver - 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.

John Hancock Silver 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. 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.

Standard Cancellation Benefit

  • Covered Cancellation: 100% refund
  • Job Termination: 100% refund

Medical Benefits

  • Medical Cover: Primary
  • Hospital of Choice: No
  • Medical Sickness: $100,000
  • Medical Evacuation: $500,000

Free Look Period

  • 10 days

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 should buy the policy within 20 days to include the Waiver for the Exclusion of Pre-Existing Medical Condition.

That might not sound helpful, but we frequently see quotes for travelers who have left insurance a little too late for the John Hancock Silver 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.

Standard Cancellation Benefit

  • Covered Cancellation: 100% refund
  • Job Termination: 100% refund

Medical Benefits

  • Medical Cover: Primary
  • Hospital of Choice: No
  • Medical Sickness: $250,000
  • Medical Evacuation: $500,000

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

Both policies have Primary Medical Insurance. Primary coverage is 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 – IMG Travel SE and John Hancock Silver

Let’s take a look at the policy definition of a Pre-Existing Condition for the IMG Travel SE. It’s essential to understand the contractual language.

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 John Hancock Silver and the IMG Travel SE.

Medical Exclusion Wavier - Contractual Language – John Hancock Silver and IMG Travel SE

Here is what we get from the John Hancock Silver:

Waiver of the Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion – John Hancock Silver

The exclusion for Pre-Existing Condition will be waived provided:

  1. a) the policy is purchased within 14 days of Your initial trip deposit;
  2. b) the booking for the Covered Trip must be the first and only booking for this travel period and destination; and
  3. c) You are not disabled in a way that prevents you from traveling at the time You pay the premium;

Now, take a look at the policy language for the IMG Travel SE:

PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION EXCLUSION WAIVER

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 is simpler and only requires purchase of the policy within the time sensitive period, which is 20 days from the initial trip payment or deposit date.

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, finding the right plan for your particular needs.

TripInsure101 has a call center to answer any questions you have. We can walk you through the detail 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.

We wish you a healthy trip.

Safe travels!

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

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