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Travel insurance & mental health

Having a mental health condition shouldn't prevent you from living a full and rich life. Certainly it can pose its challenges but it shouldn’t stop you from fulfilling your dreams and seeing the world. It may be tricky to find travel insurance that covers mental health conditions, but that's why we're here! After all having a pre-existing medical condition can be tiring, so going on holiday may be just what the doctor ordered!

Does travel insurance cover mental health?

The majority of travel insurers rule out cover for mental illness as a general exclusion, however, we are now seeing insurers in the market covering many people with mental health conditions such as anxiety, anorexia or depression.

Generally insurers do not cover conditions that already exist before your trip, or they require a medical evaluation before cover can be granted, which may cost you an additional premium.

In order to determine whether you are eligable for cover, you will be required to answer a bunch of questions on; 

- When you were first diagnosed with your mental health condition
- Whether you have been admitted to hospital for your condition recently or in the past
- How often you receive treatment 
 

who covers what?

INSURER 

     UNDERWRITER                

MENTAL ILLNESS COVER ON APPLICATION?

FIRST TIME MENTAL ILLNESS EPISODE COVERED?

1Cover Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's  
No general exclusions listed for mental illness. You must disclose your condition and depending on your answers the insurer will decide whether to cover and what premiums may apply.
 
Cigna Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited
No general exclusions listed for mental illness. You must disclose your condition and depending on your answers the insurer will decide whether to cover and what premiums may apply.
Columbus Direct Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's  
No general exclusions listed for mental illness. You must disclose your condition and depending on your answers the insurer will decide whether to cover and what premiums may apply.
Covermore Zurich Australian Insurance Limited    
No general exclusions listed for mental illness. You must disclose your condition and depending on your answers the insurer will decide whether to cover and what premiums may apply. There is no cover for amendment or trip cancellation costs due to mental illness including anxiety, depression or stress, by you, a relative, or travelling companion, unless diagnosed by a registered psychiatrist as a new medical condition.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance Southern Cross Benefits Limited   
No general exclusions listed for mental illness. You must disclose your condition and depending on your answers the insurer will decide whether to cover and what premiums may apply.
TINZ Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's   
No general exclusions listed for mental illness. You must disclose your condition and depending on your answers the insurer will decide whether to cover and what premiums may apply.

Tips for travelling with mental illness

Consult with your doctor and make sure you have all the medication you require for your trip. It's a good idea to have a doctor's note to accompany your medications in case you are queried at customs.

Do your research and talk to your medical team about your destination and solutions to common travel issues like jet lag and motion sickness. Knowing what to expect can relieve symptoms of anxiety and keep you in control.

Bring along some coping strategies. Whether it's some helpful print outs, meditation exercises or some deep breathing techniques, make sure you have some tried-and-tested coping aids for those stressful moments.

Practise moderation when on the road. It can be easy to go overboard while travelling and overindulge in poor food choices, alcohol and too little sleep. Ensure you are maintaining some healthy habits and taking care of your mind and body.

Sort out your paperwork. A letter from your doctor stating your pre-existing condition, symptoms you suffer from and a list of emergency contacts can be helpful should you require medical assistance during your travels. Relevant information that is easily accessible to a foreign medical practitioner can help get you on the road to recovery.
 

other reasons to get cover?

Although your health is top priority there are other big factors that can make travel insurance an essential for all travellers!

Lost or stolen luggage: When you’re dealing with illness, the last thing you need is the extra financial stress of a lost suitcase or stolen wallet. Travel insurance will cover you for any lost, stolen or damaged items, provided you look after them.

Cancellations and emergencies: Should your flight be delayed for more than 24 hours, your travel insurance provider will cover any costs you’ve accrued. You’ll also be covered should you miss a flight due to any type of motor vehicle accident or natural disaster. It's best to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday - that way if you have to cancel your trip for any unforeseen circumstance you'll be covered.

Rental car excess: Planning a bucket list road trip? Your travel insurance will usually cover rental car excess, so you can drive off into the sunset, worry free.

Personal liability: Your policy will cover you in the event that you are responsible for another person’s injury. Most comprehensive policies will cover you for up to $2 million in personal liability fees.

What’s next?

Having mental health conditions doesn't mean you can't get travel insurance or that it has to be expensive. It simply means that you need to dig a little deeper when doing your research!

Medical costs abroad can be very expensive, so it is vital to ensure that you get the right policy to cover your needs. In order to get the right cover, you must let your insurance provider know of any pre-existing medical conditions that you have. If you fail to do this you may be left facing a massive medical bill when you try to make a claim.

Remember to always check the fine print before you purchase a policy concerning pre-existing conditions and medical cover to ensure that any conditions related to your mental illness are covered.

*Please note: the contents of this article were accurate at the time of writing.  Insurer’s change their policies from time to time, so some information may have changed. You should always read the product disclosure statement of your chosen insurer to understand what is covered and what isn't.

 

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