With a boom in “babymoons”, it’s timely to look at which travel insurance policies cover pregnancy.
It’s a little like that old Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other”.
There’s a big difference when it comes to assisted reproduction, twinning, and pre-existing conditions.
Well, here’s the good news: Compare Travel Insurance has just released an interactive tool to help expectant parents (see comparetravelinsurance.com.au) complete with cute cartoons, it asks how pregnant you are, whether there are complications, if it’s multiple or IVF, then voila!
You get a list of recommended policies from up to 19 Australian travel insurance brands and nine different underwriters.
Seven cover single pregnancy conceived using assisted reproduction;11 cover multiple pregnancy without complications and three cover multiple pregnancy after IVF.
“Some insurers consider pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition, and a medical assessment may be required,” according to Natalie Ball, director of Compare Travel Insurance. “Others cover uncomplicated pregnancies up to a certain gestation without any fuss, while there are many insurers that simply will not cover pregnancy-related complications at all.” Of course, exclusions apply, as they say in the ads!
Even if you’ve found an insurer that covers your circumstances, you wouldn’t have cover if you travel against doctor’s advice or beyond the maximum gestation period permitted, or for care of a newborn child or regular antenatal care.
A Perth mother, who gave birth prematurely on holiday in Bali last year, says expectant mums should check the fine print.
Melissa Bain’s son, Cooper, spent four weeks in hospital before flying home. Fortunately, they were both covered: an emergency medical flight can cost up to $200,000.
But Deborah and Jonathan Miller, from the UK, weren’t so fortunate. While holidaying in the US, their daughter, Eve, was born with an underdeveloped heart. They had travel insurance. But the baby had not been named on the policy. So, the underwriters refused to pay. The bill exceeded $500,000 . After public pressure, the underwriters backed down.
But it’s not just about the journey; it’s the destination, as well.
You have to be very careful where you go. In developing countries, only drink bottled or boiled water, steer clear of salads, and avoid areas with high risk of malaria. Most emergencies occur during the first and third trimesters, so try to travel in the second.
Blood clots are a danger during long flights; so make sure you get up often to stretch your legs. Preparation is crucial: Find the nearest medical clinic, ask if the resort has an in-house doctor, and carry copies of pre-natal records.
Speaking of preparation, this is something I didn’t do when I was pregnant. After using IVF, I developed a life-threatening pregnancy complication, which landed me in hospital after a flight to Melbourne.
You guessed it: I wasn’t covered. A week later, the flight back to Sydney was nerve-racking, as I worried about losing my baby at 26 weeks gestation.
Luckily, Taj hung on. We live and learn. Please, don’t make the same mistake I did …