Question: My wife was recently diagnosed with dementia and I was recently reviewing our out-of-country travel insurance through our homeowner’s policy and noticed that in the exclusions it stated coverage is not available to any individual who has Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia. Will we be able to get travel insurance now?
Some travel insurance policies will cover passengers with dementia but it may be more expensive. Every insurance contract carries exclusions.
An insurer cannot cover certain risks and still maintain affordable insurance premiums.
The most common exclusions are: a pre-existing illness diagnosed prior to departure, a trip taken against your doctor’s advice, risks taken by the insured that surpass those considered insurable such as taking part in a race, an extreme sport, an illegal act or using drugs, and others of which can be found in the What is not covered section.
Policies that do not cover claims arising from a ‘pre-existing medical condition’ may list chronic illnesses like dementia, a cold or a recent surgery.
If the insurer considers this condition as an increased risk, your premium may be higher than someone in better health.
However, many require a medical questionnaire and then the condition is sometimes covered if it is determined to be stable by your treating doctor and the insurer’s medical director.
Make sure that you read the travel insurance contract and review your travel insurance certificate to ensure the benefits listed are in fact the ones you selected.
The contract is an agreement between two parties and you must know your responsibilities as well as those of the insurer.
Pay particular attention to the following sections around:
• When the coverage begins and ends
• What is covered and what is not covered
• Exclusions and reductions of coverage.
The important thing however is doing what you have just done, which is, ensuring that you read your policy carefully and ensure that you understand your policy before you travel.
Being aware of what is and is not covered should you have a claim is extremely important.
Not all travel insurance plans or policies are equal and can differ on many levels. Unfortunately, some individuals only become aware of these differences in an emergency situation, when you need the best service available.
When shopping for travel insurance there are companies that provide an online quote comparison service for emergency medical travel insurance.
They can provide a one-stop shopping environment where you see various insurance companies with their premium rates listed on a quote ticker shared by individual travelers who have received quotes from various companies. This may help with your search.
Finally, when reading your policy also consider making sure you are covered for travel delay and consider if the person with dementia can manage if you as a caregiver are suddenly hospitalized.
The Alzheimer Society of Muskoka believes the sooner we improve our understanding, the better we’ll be able to provide care.
Please call or email with your questions or concerns and we will try to get them published in an upcoming column.
Call 1(800) 605-2075 or (705) 645-5621 or email email@example.com.
Karen Quemby has completed her Master’s degree in Gerontology specializing in Alzheimer’s disease. She is presently the Education and Family Support Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Muskoka as well as a part time instructor for Georgian College.