What is a "Pre-Existing Medical Condition"?


What is a “pre-existing medical condition” and how does it affect travel insurance coverage?


Most travel insurance policies make reference to “pre-existing conditions” and include a definition of what this means, which can vary depending on the insurance company providing the policy.

Typically, a pre-existing condition is a medical illness or injury that was diagnosed or treated prior to leaving your Province or Territory of residence. And while many pre-existing conditions tend to be chronic and long-term in nature (i.e. diabetes, COPD and cancer) they can also include other acute, short-term issues (i.e. bronchitis, pneumonia and broken bones). Different insurance companies may define pre-existing conditions differently, so check the wording of your policy.

If your travel insurance application includes a medical questionnaire, it's important to make sure you disclose ALL of your pre-existing conditions. If you have any questions or are uncertain about your conditions, make sure you ask the broker or agent assisting you with your application and contact your doctor.

It’s important for travellers to understand what a pre-existing condition is and how it is defined in your policy, as it can impact your coverage in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Higher Premiums: The more pre-existing conditions you have and the more serious they are, the higher your premiums will be.
  2. Invalidation of Your Policy: If you fail to disclose a pre-existing medical condition during the application process and you need to make a claim, it is possible that your policy will be invalidated for failure to disclose, even if the treatment you require is unrelated to the pre-existing condition you didn’t disclose.
  3. Eligibility: Some more serious pre-existing conditions may make you ineligible for coverage under many regular policies. However, you may still be eligible for coverage under “personalized” policies offered by some providers, including Snowbird Advisor Insurance.
  4. Exclusion from Coverage: Most travel insurance policies include a “Stability” clause, which requires your pre-existing medical conditions to be “stable” for a pre-defined period (usually 90, 180 or even 365 days) before you travel, otherwise your pre-existing conditions and any related issues or treatment would be excluded from coverage.

However, some providers, including Snowbird Advisor Insurance, offer personalized policies with no-stability period requirement for pre-existing conditions.

You can learn more about Stability Clauses here.

Disclaimer: The material provided in the Snowbird Advisor Insurance Learning Centre is for informational purposes only and does NOT constitute insurance, legal, financial or other advice, and should not be relied on as such. If you require such advice, you should speak with a qualified professional to assist you.