Pregnancy Could Cause Travel Insurance Complications

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Pregnancy Could Cause Travel Insurance Complications

Pregnancy could cause travel insurance issues. Photo: Shutterstock.com.


For couples and families with one or more members who are or could be pregnant, travel insurance isn’t always an easy part of their vacation purchase. Many consumers may be shocked to learn that for issues other than complications, trip interruptions or cancellations due to a normal pregnancy aren’t covered.

But that might not be easy to determine because most exclusions are written by lawyers to protect travel insurance companies and underwriters, and clarity is given up for the sake of risk mitigation.

“For medical coverage, once a pregnant traveler has left for their trip, some policies can cover complications of pregnancy. These complications are generally not defined by travel insurance policies, and are usually handled on a case-by-case basis,” said Steven Benna, marketing specialist at Squaremouth.com.

“Travel insurance is not supposed to be major medical coverage. It’s for emergencies that occur,” said Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL Travel Protection. “You really need to read your policy before you book your trip.”

For example, BHTP lists pregnancy as an “exclusion” (i.e., a condition that would not provide for claim payments), under its General Exclusions section: “This plan does not cover any loss caused by or resulting from: (b) Normal Pregnancy or Childbirth, other than Unforeseen Complications of Pregnancy, of the Insured, a Traveling Companion or a Family Member.”

Deeper in its Terms & Conditions, BHTP’s ExactCare plan says more: “’Complications of Pregnancy’ means conditions whose diagnoses are distinct from pregnancy but are adversely affected by pregnancy or are caused by pregnancy. These conditions include acute nephritis, nephrosis, cardiac decompensation, missed abortion and similar medical and surgical conditions of comparable severity. Complications of pregnancy also include nonelective cesarean section, ectopic pregnancy which is terminated and spontaneous termination of pregnancy, which occurs during a period of gestation in which a viable birth is not possible. Complications of pregnancy do not include false labor, occasional spotting, Physician-prescribed rest during the period of pregnancy, morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, preeclampsia and similar conditions associated with the management of a difficult pregnancy not constituting a nosologically distinct complication of pregnancy.”

“Pregnancy and childbirth” are referenced in AIG Travel Guard’s Limitations and Exclusions terms and conditions. “Complications of pregnancy” means: (1) conditions requiring Hospital stays (when the pregnancy is not terminated) whose diagnoses are distinct from pregnancy but are adversely affected by pregnancy or are caused by pregnancy, such as acute nephritis, nephrosis, cardiac decompensation, missed abortion and similar medical and surgical conditions of comparable severity, and shall not include false labor, occasional spotting, Physician-prescribed rest during the period of pregnancy, morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, preeclampsia and similar conditions associated with the management of a difficult pregnancy not constituting a nosologically distinct complication of pregnancy; and (2) nonelective caesarean section, ectopic pregnancy which is terminated and spontaneous termination of pregnancy, which occurs during a period of gestation in which a viable birth is not possible.”

“The language in a policy’s terms and conditions can be obscure and make you feel like you’re stuck in circular reasoning sometimes,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com, an online travel insurance aggregator.

“As a general rule of thumb, the policies I have come across, you’re not going to be protected,” Schreier said. “Unfortunately, the only thing policies are going to do, is if there are complications. If a normal pregnancy, childbirth event makes you cancel your trip, nothing would be covered.”

So, for example, if a woman’s pregnancy was causing such severe morning sickness that she felt she would be in too poor health to go on her vacation, canceling the trip wouldn’t be covered.

There are other situations that might give a client pause. If a couple is trying to get pregnant, but isn’t sure yet if they are, it might be best for them to put off purchasing a great package/deal that expires soon, until they visit a doctor to confirm if they are pregnant or not.

 “The onus is on the individual to know whether you are pregnant or not before they commit to a trip,” Schreier said.

“However, there are some policies that include Trip Cancellation coverage for pregnancy, as long as the traveler becomes pregnant after they buy their policy,” Benna said.

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