Blog, Travel Tips, & News

I’m going under the knife – Travel Insurance Gotchas

Worldwide Travel Insurance Application Form Concept

The dreary weather is keeping me cold and bundled up as I work to get things wrapped up in my work world for a while. I’ll be putting things on pause for about a month starting next week as I have some surgery that requires four to six weeks of recovery time.

My health situation inspires this week’s article about some of the nitty gritty details involved in travel insurance…

An important clause to know about –  {Pre-Existing Conditions} 

This week’s article will probably fall into the category of TMI (too much information) about my upcoming surgery. I’m telling my story because I think it’s important to understand the “gotchas” that impact your travel insurance benefits, and my situation illustrates that.

Bottles of pills, one spilling, close-up

So, let’s start with my story and I’ll try to make it brief. Back in October, I thought I had a bladder infection and went to urgent care one Sunday. Good antibiotics helped, but over the next few months, the issue reoccurred, more antibiotics, same again, and finally ended up needing a specialist. In the course of three weeks in January, I gained a urologist, a colon surgeon, and an infectious disease doctor, had numerous tests and got scheduled for surgery. Despite all that, I actually feel great, so I am very fortunate.

And I am immensely fortunate that I was diagnosed and scheduled for surgery so quickly because – I’m supposed to go to Tahiti at the end of March!!

Travel insurance policy booklet with a boarding pass and a passport

Now let’s talk travel insurance. Because I’ve been anticipating this Paul Gauguin cruise for so long – if I don’t get to go, I sure don’t want to lose money on top of the disappointment of not going. Of course, I got the right travel protection to cover me, but let’s play with the scenarios.

Let’s pretend that I made my first payment for this trip on October 1. And maybe I looked at travel protection but kind of forgot about it for a while, and then finally purchased the plan November 5. By waiting that long, I would have reduced my travel protection benefits significantly.

One of the key components of almost every travel insurance plan is a clause that exempts pre-existing conditions from coverage.

HOWEVER, if you purchase your travel protection within a certain period of time, typically 10-21 days, from the first deposit or payment you make for the trip, that clause is waived, which means you ARE covered for pre-existing conditions.

Because I first went to the doctor in mid-October, that started the clock on my pre-existing condition. And by waiting to buy travel insurance in my pretend scenario, I lost coverage for pre-existing conditions.Hello I Have a Pre-Existing Condition Name Tag 3d Illustration

“Pre-Existing Condition” {From Travel Insured’s Worldwide Trip Protector Prime plan} means an illness, disease, or other condition during the 60 day period immediately prior to the date Your coverage is effective for which You or Your Traveling Companion, Business Partner or a Family Member: 1) 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 2) 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 60-day period before coverage is effective under this Policy.

Back in November it would have never occurred to me that I had a pre-existing condition. When I went to the urgent care doctor, I thought I had a simple bladder infection. But it was really the start of something much more serious.

Close-up top-view photo of calendar with a datum circled by young woman with red nails with a back marker, concept of time management at work

If my surgery had been scheduled later in March, I would have had to cancel my Tahiti trip, and under the pretend scenario, I would have lost all my money because my pre-existing condition would not be covered.

What is the moral of my story?

Purchase your travel insurance plan within the timeframe to have pre-existing conditions covered – 10-21 days from the very first payment you made for your trip – whether that’s a plane ticket, cruise deposit, or non-refundable hotel payment.

Be aware of the importance of covering pre-existing conditions and give attention to your travel insurance options and make your decision quickly.