Travel insurance: Beware of pre-existing medical conditions

A recent report aired on CBC's French language network's La Facture brought to light a situation on which travelers tend to dwell too little on when purchasing travel insurance: pre-existing medical conditions. Are you one of these?

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical "condition" is any pre-existing health problem for which you have consulted a physician, received treatment, taken drugs or, more generally, for which you have had symptoms in a given period preceding the effective date of your insurance.

In the case of travel insurance, this period can extend up to 180 days before the date of departure, depending on the contract and the insurer. It is therefore imperative that you read your contract beforehand.

Is relying on free travel insurance to which you are entitled to a good idea?

Your Group Insurance at work or your credit card (under certain conditions) possibly already provide for travel insurance coverage.

Might as well enjoy it, provided that the duration of your trip doesn't exceed the maximum number of days covered!

What if the duration of your trip exceeds the maximum duration of the insurance coverage you have?

1. Plan a trip back to your province of residence

Provided your policy allows this, a return to your province of residence would allow you to reset the counter to zero. You could then begin a new period of coverage.

2. Purchase top-up insurance

If a trip back is not an option, you must purchase, before your date of departure, a top-up insurance policy, which will take effect when the initial coverage expires.

WARNING: As the pre-existing medical conditions period is calculated as of the effective date of coverage, any health problem which occurs during the initial coverage period will be considered as a pre-existing medical condition under the top-up policy.

Where to purchase top-up travel insurance?

Insurance carriers specializing in travel insurance are your safest bet.

OUR TIP: Advise the insurer directly to explain your situation and obtain the appropriate product. If you wish to avoid returning during your trip, you should consider purchasing the top-up insurance for the full duration of your trip. It could help you avoid many worries!

Source: The Vigilis Group, 450 682-7772