Which pre-existing conditions do I have to declare?

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Sam is confused by what constitutes a pre-existing condition for her travel insurance.

Q. Sam
My husband and I are thinking of booking travel later this year as we figure things should be safe around October. When it comes to travel insurance, though, we are a bit confused around how the pre-existing health conditions work. We both have high blood pressure, my husband suffers from a bad back, and I have a fatty liver. Do we have to declare all of these things? Will they still be covered if we suffer from health problems on our trip?

A. The definition of a pre-existing condition in travel insurance is a diagnosed medical condition that you or any person covered by the policy has had, or has received any form of medical advice, treatment or medication for in a specified time period before you bought the travel insurance policy.

Different insurers have different time frames for that period of time but government insurance contract regulations state: “A sickness, disease or disability to which a person was subject at any time during the period of six months before the contract was entered into and continues to be subject to after that time.”

Insurers do get around this legislation, however, with an exemption informing the policy holder in writing of the relevant provisions, which allows them to extend the time period for pre-existing conditions beyond six months.

As such, most policies cover a condition if it hasn’t led to treatment in the two years before you booked your trip, but there are others that may specify up to five years or even longer. This makes it especially important to check your product disclosure statement with regard to this time period.

There are a few companies with standard travel insurance packages that include a range of pre-existing medical conditions.

High blood pressure, being relatively common, may well be included in one of these packages. So may your husband’s back.

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. 

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.

Some policies can exclude all pre-existing medical conditions and others can require an assessment for cover of your condition (and charge a fee for this service), so research is very important and it is worth remembering that when it comes to travel insurance, you sometimes get what you pay for.

If your health conditions meet the insurer’s definition of a pre-existing condition (and these can vary) it is important to declare the condition if you want to be covered for it on your trip.

Have you ever had to make a travel insurance claim for a health issue on a trip overseas? Was it easy or difficult? Which insurer did you use?

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Total Comments: 9
  1. 0

    thinking of booking travel later this year as we figure things should be safe around October. When it comes to travel insurance
    Now that is foolish to assume that and you could easily lose your travel insurance premium !!

  2. 0

    Plus deposits on travel and any other pre-payments !!

    • 0

      Agree….forget the insurance. Have they factored in the cost of quarantine on return to Australia & very likely the destination……since both Australia & Thailand have recently stated that quarantine 14 days will still be in place because the vaccines are NOT 100% effective. The “expert scientists” have said only 70/90% effective rates . It’s a bit like buying an umbrella with a few holes in it……useless.

      I’m currently living in SE Asia & I can’t see anyone arriving for a long time to come. And I can’t see a lineup of people wanting to go to the US , Europe or the UK anytime soon. Those places are totally stuffed now.

      Apart from dodgy insurance , they’ll need another $10,000 in loose change to sit for a MONTH in quarantine for the round trip. Get your head around that.

  3. 2

    Most insurers cover for things like high blood pressure as part of a standard policy, I don’t know about things like fatty liver, but a company I would recommend as I have used them for more than ten years, is Insureandgo and their budget brand Tick insurance, they have a section where you can list all of your conditions and they ask the relevant questions which are fairly easy to follow, at the end of the process you are given a price based on your responses. I suffered 2 heart attacks almost 4 years ago so obviously I list that, I am charged a small premium to cover those conditions, the price is still better than most other companies. It’s always best to do your own research online or by phone and get a written quote that expressly shows your coverage for your pre existing conditions. Read the fine print on any policy, most show what conditions are covered, be aware of the time frames, after my heart attacks many of the insurers wouldn’t cover me at all and some wouldn’t provide cover until 5 years passed.

    • 0

      Insureandgoslow,my wife was diagnosed with cancer a month before our trip,.As she had to start chemo immediately.I gave them all the vital info they asked for.then they asked me for more and more.they wanted receipts for flights,as i had booked with Webjet this was not possible.This continued for twelve months.NOT RECOMMENDED BY CHOICE AND ME.

    • 0

      Yes there are always some bad stories when insurance companies are involved, I can only go on my experience with them, as I mentioned I have been using them for over ten years, I travel 3/4 times a year, my only issue with them is that due to age and pre existing conditions I can’t take out an annual policy that suits my needs. To add to my original comment I applied for a refund of my premiums for three trips I had booked pre COVID they originally rejected my claim, but 4 weeks ago out of the blue they gave me a partial refund. I have only made 2 claims in ten years, both claims were processed and paid in days. That was my experience with Tick insurance which I mentioned are part of Insureandgo

  4. 5

    I consider ALL Insurance Companies as THIEVES. My “Top 10 Australian Greatest Thieves List”, not necessarily in any order is: Banks, Insurance Companies, Telcos, Politicians, Lawyers, Real Estate Agents, Religious Tax Certification Companies, Used Auto Dealers, Liquidators & Energy Retailers. Did I miss any ?



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