Pre-Existing Medical Condition Coverage in Travel Insurance

Published by April 11, 2014

A pre-existing medical condition is one reason many travelers purchase travel insurance.

Pre-existing coverage allows travelers to cancel a trip if a pre-existing medical condition prevents them from traveling, as well as receive medical treatment for a pre-existing condition while traveling.

Pre-existing coverage can also benefit travelers who have non-traveling family members with a pre-existing medical condition. If a non-traveling family member becomes ill before or during an trip, travelers with coverage are able to cancel a trip or come home early.

If travelers are not sure if they have a pre-existing condition, Squaremouth suggests looking at a policy’s look back period. Depending on the policy, look back periods can vary from 60 days to 3 years. The look back period can be found in the definition of a pre-existing condition and are defined as the days immediately prior to the travel insurance purchase date. If the traveler, traveling companion or family member has been stable during the look back period, the travel insurance company does not consider them to have a pre-existing condition.

If pre-existing coverage is needed, travelers will want to purchase travel insurance within 14-30 days of making the first trip deposit. Alternatively, CSA and HTH Worldwide have plans that allow travelers to receive pre-existing coverage if the policy is purchased within 24 hours of the final trip payment.

If a traveler has a pre-existing condition and does not purchase a travel insurance policy before the deadline, pre-existing medical coverage will no longer be available, however, if a travelers only concern is a non-traveling family member’s pre-existing condition, coverage may still be available.

If that type of coverage is needed, travelers will want to look for the travel insurance plans that define a pre-existing condition as an illness, disease or other condition of the traveler or anyone scheduled to travel with them. Those travel insurance plans will allow travelers to cancel a trip or come home early if a relative back home is sick, regardless if the insured is covered for pre-existing conditions. The image below is CSA’s definition of a pre-existing condition. Travelers in this situation will want to look for plans that have similar definitions of a pre-existing condition.

“PRE-EXISTING CONDITION means an illness, disease, or other condition during the 180-day period immediately prior to your effective date for which you or your Traveling Companion or Family Member is scheduled or booked to travel with you


Below is a quote for a traveler who was going to purchase a more expensive plan because they thought they needed pre-existing coverage for their non-traveling, ill grandparents. They were leaning towards purchasing the MH Ross Asset policy for $152 because it had pre-existing coverage, however, the CSA Custom Comprehensive policy for $135  would be a better policy for them.  After explaining that CSA Custom Comprehensive does not require pre-existing coverage for non-traveling family members, she was able to save $17.

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