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Travel Insurance Coverage And Pregnancy

Travel Insurance Coverage and Pregnancy

Introduction

Travel insurance during pregnancy should be an important consideration. Most people plan trips months in advance; between the initial trip booking and the date of your trip, circumstances can change for many people. For women, pregnancy can be one of such circumstances. There are many different aspects related to travel and pregnancy, like whether your travel insurance will cover such a scenario will depend upon the insurance plan you purchased or the insurance plan that you are considering purchasing.

*Please note that routine expenses related to pregnancy such as antenatal care, routine pregnancy check ups such as ultrasounds and blood tests, pregnancy tests as well as the childbirth expenses are excluded from travel insurance policies.

Unexpected Pregnancy

After you have booked your trip and purchased your travel insurance, if you discover later that you are pregnant and you would like to cancel your vacation, there are only a few travel insurance plans that will provide trip cancellation coverage, most will not.

Even if a pregnancy occurs after the purchase of the insurance, you must provide proof that the conception date of your pregnancy was after the effective date of the travel insurance. That is, your physician will have to provide a document that indicates so. Otherwise, it would be considered a pre-existing condition and there will be no coverage.

Travel

There is no coverage for trip cancellation if you fear that it may not be safe for you to travel during pregnancy, or if you decide that you don't want to travel because you are pregnant.

However, if you have purchased the 'Cancel For Any Reason' travel insurance, you can simply cancel your trip. There are of course restrictions regarding when you are able to purchase such travel insurance, which you must buy soon after making your initial trip payment. You must also insure your entire trip cost and you must typically cancel your trip at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled departure date. You can't just change your mind on the day of your departure and get trip cancellation coverage.

On the other hand, if you are hospitalized a day before your scheduled departure date because of severe dehydration due to vomiting caused by morning sickness, you would usually be covered. That is because it is more likely a complication of pregnancy.

If you have any medical symptoms, they should generally be stable for 90 days prior to purchasing travel insurance to provide the most emergency medical coverage while on your trip.

Airline Restrictions

Each airline has their own set of rules regarding how far along in a pregnancy a woman can travel. Even if you and your doctor feel comfortable enough with the progression of your pregnancy, and that you are safe to travel during the late stages of your pregnancy, the airline may not allow you to travel. If you show up at the airport and the airline does not allow you to board, you can't get the coverage for trip cancellation due to that. It is your responsibility to know the rules and regulations of the airline you are traveling on before you book the ticket.

Some airlines have no rules about travel during the last trimester and others airlines have strict rules about the final weeks of pregnancy. Some airlines will let you travel at any time with a doctor's certificate. Some airlines will let you travel as long as your return trip is at least two weeks before your estimated delivery date.

In any case, it is best to get a letter from your physician indicating that you are fit to travel. Usually, such a letter should be dated no more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure date.

*Note: Depending on your home country and/or your destination, the gestational age may differ; for example in the U.S., pregnancy is calculated based on the last menstrual cycle, but in other parts of the world it may be based on the actual conception date.

Complications of Pregnancy

Many travel insurance plans offer a trip cancellation benefit if you can not travel due to complications of pregnancy.

Even though the exact definition for each travel insurance plan may differ, essentially a complication of pregnancy is any condition of which the diagnosis is distinct from pregnancy but is adversely affected or caused by the pregnancy.

Your physician must provide the documentation indicating that you are unable to travel due to a complication of pregnancy. Make sure that your physician fills in the codes correctly in the documentation so when you try to show proof of complications for canceling a trip the doctors have correctly indicated that it is due to complications and not regular pregnancy issues.

Additionally, while you are on your trip, if you have complications of pregnancy, many travel insurance plans would provide coverage for emergency medical coverage as well as emergency medical evacuation which is the transportation to the nearest place where adequate care can be given.

If your pregnancy was through IVF or any other medically assisted methods, or if you are expected to give birth to multiple babies, there might be additional rules for emergency medical coverage for complications of pregnancy.

Doctor Advice

There is no coverage for trip cancellation if your doctor advises against travel because there may be a chance of complication due to your prior complicated pregnancies. As long as the current pregnancy is normal, it would be excluded from coverage.

However, if a particular plan provides the coverage for complications of pregnancy, distinct from normal symptoms and expenses related to normal pregnancy, it would be covered.

On the other hand, just because your physician says it is OK for you to travel after your check up, you would not be automatically covered in travel insurance because each plan is different.

Babymoon

Babymoon is a term used for a vacation where expectant parents go on a vacation to spend some time together before the birth of their baby. This vacation is usually taken during the later stages of the pregnancy, (during the final trimester). After you book the trip and buy travel insurance, if your doctor advises that you should not travel in such later stages of pregnancy, just as a precaution, there will be no trip cancellation coverage because there are no complications and it is a normal pregnancy. Of course, you should listen to your physician's advice and do whatever is best for you and your baby's health.

However, while on such a trip, if you experience severe dizziness, fall down and break your wrist, that would be covered even if your dizziness was due to your pregnancy.

Childbirth

If you go into labor and give birth while you are traveling, you will not have any medical coverage as normal childbirth is excluded from coverage.

Even if you have a premature delivery for whatever reason and the expected due date was well after your return from your vacation, there will be no medical coverage.

Conclusion

It is important to purchase travel insurance, especially during pregnancy. However, it is very important to understand the terms and conditions of the insurance as each policy is different. If you have any questions, make sure to contact a travel insurance professional who is a licensed agent/broker. Of course, you must also discuss the risks in detail with your doctor first to determine whether traveling is advisable during your current stage of pregnancy.

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