Travel SOS: travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

Joe wants to know where he can get travel insurance to cover pre-existing medical.

Travel SOS: travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

Joe is about to head overseas, but since his last trip, he and his partner have had some health problems. So, he wants to know where to find travel insurance that won’t charge him an arm or a leg.

Q. Joe
I’m off to the United States and I know that the healthcare system there is the pits. Since my last trip, I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and my wife has had knee surgery. I know I should buy travel insurance, but I’m worried that I’m going to be charged a fortune just to cover our pre-existing medical conditions. Do you know where I can find good cover at a decent price?

A. Well Joe, having a pre-existing medical condition will most likely cost you a bit more on your insurance, but it may not be as bad as you think.

Firstly, there are a few companies that have standard travel insurance packages that include a range of pre-existing medical conditions. Diabetes, being a relatively common disease, may well be included in one of these packages. So may your wife’s knee. This means you may not have to pay as much as you’d imagine.

Now, I just want to make it clear that I’m not here to recommend one insurance company over another. What I am saying is that pretty much every travel insurance company will offer travel insurance that includes some pre-existing conditions, although one policy may not cover both of your health conditions. So, you’ll have to do your research to find the best one for you. But be wary – with insurance, as with all things, you get what you pay for.

travel insurance forms

Most insurers include cover for some pre-existing medical conditions for free, but other conditions may require an additional fee in order to be covered. You’ll also need to get a health assessment.

If you can’t find someone to insure you, there is a company called All Clear that will cover you for pretty much everything, or will at least consider covering you, but it probably won’t be cheap.

So, to get you started, here are some popular travel insurance websites where you can get a quote. Again, I’m not suggesting one or another and I recommend doing plenty of research and reading the product disclosure statements before deciding on and paying for any insurance cover.

Anyway, try these for starters:

Good luck Joe!



    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Jul 2017
    Australian Bridge Federation travel insurance will cover all pre existing (except terminal) conditions on their 12 month policies. Friends of members are now allowed and can be applied for on the Internet.
    22nd Jul 2017
    CBA credit cards entitle holders to different levels (travel periods) of travel insurance, underwritten by Allianz. I have pre-existing hypertension and they covered that without any price rise when I applied - no problem, all done online.
    Now, does anyone know a reputable insurer who will cover 80+ year-olds for travel?
    Golden Oldie
    22nd Jul 2017
    I asked Medibank Private for travel insurance a few years ago when I wanted to go to Hawaii. They told me that they do not cover trips to USA. I normally use National Seniors Australia for travel insurance.
    22nd Jul 2017
    ?AC of WA cover people up to 110 years of age
    22nd Jul 2017
    Sorry that should read RAC
    22nd Jul 2017
    I am 70 and have a number of heart related conditions. Last year something like 20 Travel Insurance companies refused me cover for a 6 week trip to Mexico. Some of them told me they would offer me insurance cover if it were for destinations such as Europe or Asia.
    I tried AllClear and received cover for almost $3000, which I was happy to pay to have cover. Since then a company that refused me cover last year have sent me an email offering to now sell me insurance. I filled in their online quote form and their charge for 6 weeks in Mexico is almost $6000, double that of AllClear.
    23rd Jul 2017
    I have had the same problems, and after much research for four trips, I have found the best cover with either NRMA or Insurandgo (the link is in the article). Once you get over a certain age it's harder - I now have to declare my asthma and high blood pressure / high cholesterol which are the main problems, and yes, the price does vary according to your destination. For some reason America is dearer, perhaps because of their ridiculously high medical costs? So far I haven't had to make a claim, but both these places have good feedback.
    24th Jul 2017
    Beware, presenting at an emergency department without being admitted counts the same way as hospital admission when insurance companies are estimating the "waiting" period before they will cover some pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions may also be an issue if you are planning to drive a rental car. This may be a problem if you want to use your travel insurance to cover any excess charges. This was raised by one company when I was asking about coverage travelling to Norfolk Island which is covered by Medicare so the medical insurance is not an issue. The rep suggested I should have a medical exam to check if I was safe to travel to Norfolk Island in case I had an accident driving. This was after my road authority had already advised me I was OK to continue driving! I contacted my credit card re the automatic insurance cover as I purchased my package on the card. The contact also sounded very reluctant to confirm I would be covered on my trip. I pointed out that my pre-existing condition probably would not lead to my luggage being delayed and should have nothing to do with it should I need to claim! I suspect I am a safer bet now for travelling compared to before I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. With all the healthier food, increased exercise and tailored medications, I am fitter than I have been for many years. I would be interested to hear which companies have covered those with cardiovascular conditions. I have not given up on travel yet!
    24th Jul 2017
    We have CBA credit card insurance, which is free for one year at a time (after we've paid for the credit card, of course!). We travel a lot and I didn't want to be caught out on my pre-existing hypertension so contacted the underwriter, Allianz, and they sent me a form to complete. I filled it out, got my GP to sign it, and it came back approved, so that was fine. Then a travel agent asked me to check that my insurance would cover a whole range of things, so I listed them and sent to Allianz. Every one was covered.
    We then did our world trip and I caught a kidney infection in the UK and hopped on the next flight home, thus missing our scheduled (and pre-paid) South Africa leg. I claimed accordingly and was reimbursed very quickly and without further questioning.
    We obviously all have different circumstances, so you need to check your own. But I'd suggest you could do worse than starting with Allianz...
    13th Jan 2018
    I have used webjet travel insurance for 9 cruises now, last year i had tonsillitis 2 times on a 30 day cruise i paid out almost $450 on 2 lots of antibiotics and doctors visits, i didn't have to send in my documentation to webjet, and the money was in my account within 2 weeks.
    my sister had a heart attack and was taken off the ship in Darwin, in hospital there for a week,cost all up $15,000 this included her husbands accommodation food and transport to and from the hospital her hospital related costs and both their plane fares back to Sydney, she got the whole lot back no problems, my husband has a pre existing health issue and he goes with insureandgo haven't had to use them so far thank goodness.
    13th Jan 2018
    As mentioned above, we use CBA credit card insurance company Allianz for overseas trips - no problems, including major refund from interrupted 'world' trip and subsequent hospitalisation/operation.
    But notice InsureandGo mentioned in your post and also 52-KID's, so thought I should mention that I've just insured my wife and I with InsureandGo for domestic travel because the credit card insurance is for overseas only, and InsureandGo's quote was almost exactly 50% of another company that I won't mention here because there may be differences in the cover each provides. But certainly InsureandGo would be worth getting a competitive quote from before any travel (the advertised 15% seniors discount was automatically included when I asked for the quote).

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