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Travel Insurance for Seniors with Pre-existing Conditions

Many people defer travel to foreign destinations until they are retired. Which in many cases sees them being 60-years of age or older. Not only do they have fewer responsibilities – and healthier savings – but they also have more free time; making long holidays or cruises possible. But this doesn’t mean foreign travel is any easier, particularly when it comes to travel insurance.

Medical record papers

Believing that “age is but a number” is not a bad philosophy to follow, but unfortunately our bodies don’t always agree. And the older we are, the more predisposed we are to certain illnesses and health conditions, making senior travellers more of a risk to insurers. And that means paying more for seniors travel insurance, and being more likely to have limits imposed on what medical conditions or treatment you may be covered for.

What are pre-existing conditions?

In insurance parlance, a pre-existing condition could be defined as any of the following:

  • Any medical condition - or symptom of a medical condition - that you are aware of when applying for travel insurance.

  • Any medical condition that you are currently receiving treatment for, or have had treated in the past, either with prescription medication or surgery. This generally applies to conditions within the preceding 90-days to 12-months but varies from one insurer to the next.

The condition doesn't have to have been formally diagnosed by a healthcare professional to be considered a pre-existing condition, you merely need to be aware of it, or experiencing symptoms. Knowing you are pregnant when buying travel insurance makes your pregnancy a pre-existing condition, irrespective of how far along you are.

And while anyone, of any age, can have a pre-existing condition, insurers know that there are some high-risk pre-existing conditions that are more common to senior travellers. Having a pre-existing condition does not mean you cannot take out travel insurance, and in many instances, it won't even mean you won't be covered for those conditions. It does mean you often need to declare them when taking out the insurance, and as a senior traveller, you may also need to complete a medical appraisal or declaration form and apply for additional cover.

What is required for travel insurance for seniors with pre-existing conditions?

All insurers have different requirements when it comes to seniors with pre-existing conditions, which is why it is so important to compare travel insurance products to find one that matches your needs and is affordable.

InsurerMedical Appraisal RequiredRestrictions
QBEYes, if:
  • you have a High Risk existing medical condition, or

  • you are 80 years of age or over, regardless of health and you buy the International Travel Plan, or

  • you have an existing medical condition you want cover for, if you buy the International, Annual Multi Trip and Australian Travel Plan

Not available on Budget and Inbound Travel Plans, or after departure. Additional restrictions, premiums, and excesses may apply.
CHIYes, irrespective of age. Some pre-existing conditions could be covered with no additional premium payable but must still be disclosed. A medical assessment would be necessary to determine if cover is available for other medical conditions.No cover for any pre-existing medical conditions is available on the Mid Non-Resident, Basic Non-Resident, Top Plus Non-Medical, Mid Non- Medical or Basic Non-Medical plans. Additional restrictions, premiums, and excesses may apply.
AussietravelcoverYes, irrespective of age. Some pre-existing conditions could be covered with no additional premium payable but must still be disclosed. A medical assessment would be necessary to determine if cover is available for other medical conditions.Not available on Domestic Advance Purchase, Top Non-Resident, Basic Non-Resident, Top Plus Non-Medical, Mid Non-Medical or Basic Non-Medical plans. Additional restrictions, premiums, and excesses may apply.
SureSaveYes, if:
  • you are 81 or over and buy the Comprehensive International or Domestic plan, regardless of health;

OR
  • you do not meet the criteria for any of the 'Automatically accepted conditions';

  • have any heart conditions – cardiovascular/coronary heart disease;

  • have any respiratory conditions (except asthma and/or sleep apnoea providing they are automatically covered);

  • have chronic kidney disease;

  • have any conditions involving the neck or back;

  • have cancer which has metastasised (the process by which cancer spreads from the place at which it first arose as a primary tumour to distant locations in the body);

  • have any immune system deficiencies/reduced immunity; or

  • have any terminal illness.

Not available on Basic international and Annual Frequent Traveller plans if you are older than 75 years. Additional restrictions, premiums, and excesses may apply.

If you have any doubt, speak to the Insurer or their representative before you buy any travel insurance product. It is also important to remember that you cannot take out cover for pre-existing medical conditions after you have already started your trip or holiday.

What if you don’t disclose a pre-existing medical condition?

If you or your travelling companion(s) have a pre-existing medical condition and do not disclose it, you are at risk of having any claims you make being denied if they are related to or arising from a non-disclosed pre-existing medical condition. This doesn’t only apply to claims for medical treatment, but also to cancellation and lost deposit fees, and fees relating to repatriation. And this doesn’t only apply to seniors travel insurance, but all forms of travel insurance.

What if your insurer won’t cover your pre-existing medical conditions?

You can still take out seniors travel insurance if your insurer is not willing to cover your pre-existing medical condition, but your cover will be limited to claims that don’t relate to your medical condition. Your travel insurance could still offer medical cover, but only for treatment not relating to the pre-existing condition(s).

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