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Purchasing travel insurance is of paramount importance for anyone going on an international trip. There are a myriad of different insurance policies and coverage available for travelers, so it’s certain that everyone will find one that’s perfect for their situation.

There are, however, many different terms and conditions associated with travel insurance. These can be difficult to navigate for the average person looking for the best coverage with the least hidden charges or restrictions.

One such confusing part of purchasing travel insurance is the look back period as it regards pre-existing conditions. To figure out what this means and how it can affect trip insurance, keep reading.

What is a Look Back Period?

A look back period is a predetermined period of time before an insurance policy’s coverage goes into effect. It can vary from 60-180 days, depending on your chosen policy. Basically, if during a look back period a condition manifested itself, an insurer would count this as a pre-existing condition (and exclude it from coverage) since it occurred in the 60-180 days prior to purchasing the policy.

What Constitutes a Pre-Existing Condition?

In many cases, a pre-existing condition is just a medical condition for which a person seeks diagnosis or treatment prior to their insurance policy going into effect. This can also include older conditions that became acute or just started to show symptoms.

Most insurance companies do not discriminate between severe or minor conditions – all are considered under their pre-existing condition policy.

What Happens When a Pre-Existing Condition Pops Up?

Most companies will refuse to cover a client for their pre-existing condition, while still providing all previously agreed upon or advertised protection. Some companies offer a pre-existing condition waiver, but only if clients are able to meet certain criteria. Unfortunately, that criteria varies company to company.

If a person does have a pre-existing condition but can prove that it hasn’t interfered in their day-to-day life, hasn’t had to be treated in an emergency and hasn’t necessitated medical or diagnostic attention during a company’s look back period, they are considered medically stable and the pre-existing condition clause may not apply (this varies by insurer and policy).

Navigating the world of trip insurance can be tricky, but it is far safer to invest in insurance during travels rather than be at the mercy of local medical restrictions. For those considered medically stable, but with a condition, this goes doubly. Losing medication or needing an emergency hospital visit is not something to gamble with.

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