Since writing this post on triple checking your travel insurance, my view on asking your insurer a million and one questions has not changed. I used to work for a travel insurance company, so I’m well aware of how easy it is for travellers with pre-existing conditions to believe they are covered—when, in fact, they are anything but. Even if you’ve jumped through all the hoops and ticked all the boxes, you have to admit, it was damn complicated to get there.
First, you’ve got to figure out the following:
- Do you receive travel coverage through your workplace benefits or credit card?
- If yes, does that particular policy cover a pre-existing condition (i.e., food allergies), or do you need to pay extra for additional coverage?
- How long is the stability period? (Spoiler alert: It’s almost always 90 days.)
- How do they define “stable”? (For some, it means no allergic reactions, no new symptoms or diagnoses, and no new medications. For others, a simple follow-up with a specialist deems the traveller “unstable.”)
Once you’re confident you’ve got it all straight, you then need to go back through your calendar to see if there were any incidents (reactions, appointments, etc.), within the time frame you understand to be the stability period. Discuss any red flags with your insurer to make sure you aren’t ineligible for coverage. Then cross your fingers they give you the green light.
Only then can you breathe a sigh of relief and hope that nothing goes haywire between the time you purchase your travel insurance and the time of your trip.
All those questions and all that stress? That was totally us last year, before our little guy’s first trip to Florida.
So I was completely taken aback when a fellow allergy mom told me about a travel insurance company whose stability period was only 7 days long.
Whaaat?! (And I quote my initial response to her.) Even better, she assured me it didn’t cost much more than its competitors. When I called today to do a little sleuthing, I learned that for a little over $3 a day, we could get our 2-year-old the coverage he needs with zero deductible. (That means, if we need to take advantage of emergency services while travelling, we don’t need to pay a few hundred dollars out of pocket before our insurance kicks in.) The only thing that made this coverage a little more expensive was a $16 service fee (which, I honestly didn’t mind paying, considering all of the other perks). All in all, we’d owe about $41 for a 7-day trip to Florida (as opposed to the $25 we paid last year).
But, but… there must be a catch, I thought. Perhaps its maximum coverage was significantly lower than other travel insurers? Nope, in fact, I learned it was double what we will be getting with our current insurer: $10 million in coverage, instead of $5.
Well, now I know that unicorns exist. Why, you ask?
- The ridiculously long 90-day stability period (which is typical of most travel insurers) is only 7 DAYS LONG. (Yes, I’m still in shock.)
- And, get this, you can actually visit your allergist for a regular check-up or follow-up appointment within those 7 days prior to your trip. (I might be in love.) Note, however, that any new symptoms, diagnoses or medication in that 7-day period would nullify your coverage.
This is huge. HUGE.
Previously, my family and I had to plan my son’s allergist appointments (and now oral challenges) around any possible future trips. It was really tricky to make an appointment, while trying to anticipate what our (travel) future would hold. Or, conversely, when planning a trip, we’d need to check our calendar and count backwards from the potential departure date to make sure our son’s last appointment was at least 90 days prior.
It was all so frustrating. And time-consuming. And draining.
But, at the risk of sounding like a paid advertisement, now that we’ve found Travel Guardian Insurance, life feels SO much easier. I don’t like feeling like I can’t make an appointment to discuss my son’s allergies for an entire 90 days. The 7-day stability period erases this problem completely.
Keep in mind that the 7-day stability period is eligible for those who are:
- 59 years old and younger
- travelling for less than 30 (or was it 35?) days
If you’re the type of person who experiences a lot of stress when looking for the right travel insurance for your food-allergic little one (or yourself), Travel Guardian Insurance might be for you. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to contact them first. And ask a million questions, of course. It’s still (tricky) travel insurance, after all.
Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.
Want to join a community of like-minded food allergy folk? Join the AllergyBites Community on Facebook.