Travelling with kids is stressful enough to start with, let alone throwing in a life threatening food allergy.
Around a year ago we had the opportunity to head over to Dallas, Texas USA from Brisbane, Queensland Australia to visit an allergy clinic. We jumped at the opportunity however immediately our mind started to churn through all the risks and issues we would need to work through just to be able to safely make the trip. Our fears escalated further once we learnt that the leg from Sydney to Dallas was (at the time) the 2nd longest route at the time and that we would be 16 something hours in the air!
If you are planning a trip, we hope some of our findings help you.
Getting Travel Insurance (for a Holiday)
Get ready to do a lot of reading. The devil really is in the detail with Travel Insurance, specifically, hidden in among the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). I found all providers would provide overall insurance for overseas events and medical issues however when it came down to an allergic reaction some providers will not cover you if you with this being classified as a ‘pre-existing’ medical condition (regardless of the time-frame since your last allergic episode) but most would cover you provided you have not had not had an allergic reaction within certain time limits (in most cases this was within 2 years of the date of travel or the date of inquiry). To ensure you have cover, ensure that you disclose your condition and then you will most likely be channeled thru a survey of some sort so that they can confirm they can cover you and what your premium will be. If you don’t disclose this and there is an issue on your trip there is a fair chance they will find out and you will be the one stuck with any expenses (which can be ridiculous in the home of the Brave…. maybe called so for people with medical conditions and limited or no travel insurance?). Please also get a copy of the PDS statement and search (CTRL + F that sucker) for “Anaph” (because the chances of making a mistake when wordsearching the whole word are medium to high) and “Allerg” (to cover Allergy, Allergen, Allergic of course). The PDS will disclose what they will and won’t cover in relation to allergic reactions and what limitations if any there are if they are pre-existing conditions. You will find some policies don’t even mention the word “anaphylaxis”. In short, be certain that you are covered and that it is detailed in writing.
Getting Travel Insurance (for a Medical Trip)
If your planned trip is limited to leisure reasons only then your in the easy boat. Well, easier boat. As part of our trip was going to involve us visiting an allergy clinic things got much more complicated. I found some of the providers refuse to provide any cover if the trip has any sort of medical purpose to it (regardless if you had previously noted this as pre-existing condition), however some will still provide you general travel cover but will either note some or all of the below;
- exclude the medical condition you are travelling for;
- exclude the time when you are having the medical condition looked at / procedure etc;
- exclude all and any complications arising from the procedure or medical appointment (be careful with these clauses as some are written so that they could basically pull anything and everything that happens after your consultation and they say it could be related – eg, heart attack could be a side effect or associated with the medical treatment etc.
So what do we do?
Two options. 1) Risk it. or 2) Take out a sort of pseudo Medical Tourism insurance policy.
We ended up going with option 2 and the only provider we could find that would cover this sort of thing at the time was Global Protection Solutions. I am not sure if there are many other new players in the market. The policy essentially covered our daughter only (who had the allergy) and only during the treatment and for a period following the treatment in case of complications. The policy also had considerably reduced benefit amounts than your standard travel insurers.
Cost wise it ran in about $500USD (around $700AUD at the time) which was actually nearly double what the general travel insurance policy for the entire family was.
The other option is to risk it and if you run into complications just cop whatever medical bills are thrown at you. After a bit of loose research ready other peoples medical stories (nightmares) I thought we would be up for a minimum $20K should something happen. So we ended up paying $500 to cover the risk.
**Please note we are not affiliated with Global Protection Services or any travel insurers mentioned in this article and do not receive any commissions.