For an expecting mother, everything can seem a bit more difficult than usual, including getting effective travel insurance. Standard travel insurance policies specifically exclude issues arising from pregnancy, childbirth or elective termination of a fetus.
A Pre-Existing Condition
The reason the vast majority of HBFs domestic travel insurance policies make specific exclusions for pregnant women is that pregnancy and the litany of issues associated with it are collectively classified as a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition is any injury or other medical issue that has required professional treatment during a set length of time known as the “look-back period,” which commonly extends back between 60 and 180 days.
Relative to classification as a pre-existing condition, a medical condition that has required no treatment within the look-back period is termed as medically stable and eligible for coverage, and as pregnant women typically require extensive medical attention to ensure the safety of both mother and child, not only are they ineligible for standard travel insurance coverage during their pregnancy but may remain ineligible for a period of time afterward depending on the provider.
Fortunately, it is possible for expectant mothers to obtain some level of travel insurance coverage by purchasing a pregnancy waiver option in addition to a standard policy. Insurers will typically only cover a pregnant woman until the 28th week of her pregnancy at the very most, as later travel can increase the risk of complications.
Pregnancy waivers extend the travel policy to include medical issues associated with pregnancy, but the language for them specifically limits the coverage to concerns directly arising from the pregnancy itself. This means that the pregnancy itself remains ineligible, but any medical expenses resulting from pregnancy complications qualify for coverage.
Pregnancies are notoriously unpredictable, and more than one expectant traveler has had to curtail or cancel a trip entirely due to circumstances beyond her control. Although most policies do not consider a pregnancy a valid reason to cancel travel plans, some allow for refunds after cancelations due to unexpected pregnancy events, and those considering traveling while pregnant may be well served to consider adding this option to a standard policy as well if the carrier offers it.
Pregnant travelers are among those with the highest need for medical insurance while abroad, but insurers are wary of providing them this coverage with a standard policy. Luckily, some providers take a special focus on the needs of these vulnerable travelers and provide specifically designed coverage packages to offer them peace of mind during a much-deserved escape.