A large part of a standard travel insurance policy, which you pick up when travelling abroad, is health insurance and personal accident covers. A typical overseas travel policy would cover emergency hospitalization and pay compensation against accidental injuries.
But like any regular health policy, it does not cover you for any pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions in this case are ailments that you have at the time of buying the cover.
Why are pre-existing diseases excluded?
The primary reason for excluding pre-existing conditions is the cost trade-off. The premium that you pay for a travel insurance policy is much less than the cover that the policy offers. For example, for a medical cover of $50,000 or around Rs 27.5 lakh, an overseas travel insurance would cost you around Rs 1,124. In order to contain their risk, insurance companies do not include any pre-existing ailments.
Please note that a pre-existing condition would also include ailments for which you may be covered under a regular health insurance plan.
Travel insurance policy and health insurance policy are separate covers and so for the purpose of a travel insurance policy, any ailment that exists at the time of buying a travel policy is excluded.
Is it negotiable?
Most insurers include a pre-existing ailment which needed no hospitalization or treatment for the last five years. Some insurers also include pre-existing ailment in case of life threatening situation.
Your travel insurance policy will not cover you if you are going for treatment abroad, or are going without the consent of a physician. Other exclusions include suicide, injuries during a war or due to any act of terrorism. The insurer will also not entertain your claim if it is due to any illegal activities or has been caused because of a dangerous sport.
For leisure travellers, a travel policy also packs in insurance against baggage loss, trip delays and a third party insurance cover. Students get add-on benefits such as study interruption cover that pays for your advance tuition fees in case your studies get interrupted due to a medical exigency. Then there is a sponsor protection cover that pays your remaining fees in case of death or permanent disablement of your sponsor. The compassionate visit cover pays for the return ticket and boarding of a family member if you are hospitalized for more than a week.