What Travel Insurance Will (And Won't) Cover During Pregnancy

When you're pregnant and have travel plans within the U.S., your health plan will typically provide medical coverage. However, if you're scheduled to go abroad, you should look into what kind of coverage your health plan provides, if any, and consider getting travel insurance. Having travel insurance can help take care of your anxieties about unplanned scenarios, especially medical issues.

How much your travel insurance will shoulder depends on your provider. According to Forbes, travel insurance coverage for medical expenses can range from $100,000 (and sometimes less) up to as much as $500,000 per person. Some travel insurance even offer $1 million in medical evacuation.

Note, however, that while travel insurance can cover pregnancy complications, it will not pay for any issues related to normal pregnancy or any pre-existing conditions. Another caveat is that an insurance company might define the term "complications of pregnancy" differently from another. To know what your travel insurance actually covers and how much it will reimburse you, your best bet is to read the fine print.

Travel insurance coverage before your travel date

There's a reason we advise against buying your travel insurance at the last minute. In this case, if you were to purchase travel insurance and then find out you're pregnant and no longer want to go, you can cancel your trip with ease of mind, thanks to your insurance policy's coverage. Providers usually accept pregnancy complications, such as nephrosis or a non-elective cesarean section, and other pregnancy-related medical emergencies as valid reasons for the cancellation. The complication or emergency must be existing and not one that could be a potential issue. To file a claim, just provide proof that your pregnancy came after you bought the insurance policy, as well as documentation about your pregnancy complication or other pregnancy-related medical emergency, and they will likely reimburse your trip costs.

On the other hand, when you buy your travel insurance after getting pregnant, you forfeit this benefit, as normal pregnancies and their related issues, such as morning sickness, are not typically covered. Again, check your policy for the specific complications covered.

Travel insurance coverage during your travel

Your travel insurance will typically pay for any expenses related to illness or injury during your trip. This includes emergency services, including ambulance service and hospitalization costs. It will also cover related lab tests, X-rays, prescription medicines, and surgeries. Check your insurance policy for the amount of coverage or limits.

In addition, when you experience pregnancy-related complications during your trip and this is covered by your policy, you might also be able to file for a trip interruption insurance claim. This will allow you to cut your travels short and hop on a flight home. The claim will cover your flight and prepaid nonrefundable trip costs.

Moreover, if you gave birth abroad and experienced complications during delivery, your travel insurance can also reimburse you for the associated costs. Again, check your policy on how it defines "complications of pregnancy." Compensation will also vary depending on your particular policy. And, if you have emergency medical evacuation insurance, you can request to be transported to the nearest facility with adequate medical care or back to the U.S, if necessary.

What travel insurance will not cover during pregnancy

As already mentioned, cancellation due to issues related to a normal pregnancy like morning sickness will not be covered by your travel insurance. Neither will cancellation due to pregnancy-related complications be honored if you bought the policy after you got pregnant. In addition, if the airline crew barred you from taking your flight, that won't be covered by your travel insurance as well. Make sure you're familiar with your airline's policies regarding pregnant passengers to avoid this scenario.

Moreover, some travel insurance policies may exclude other pregnancy-related issues, such as childbirth costs, physical exam expenses, fertility treatment costs, and more from reimbursement. Check your policy about this. If you have any pre-existing conditions like asthma or high blood pressure, your travel insurance will most likely not cover these either. This may include any pregnancy-related complications that are due to your pre-existing conditions. Most travel insurance also does not compensate expenses related to normal pregnancy care or normal delivery costs. So, if you gave birth abroad without complications, expect to pay out of pocket for that, as well as for the cost of staying there until your baby is allowed to fly.

Add-ons that widen travel insurance coverage

Other than what the typical travel insurance will cover, there are a couple add-ons that will compensate you for things a typical policy might not. These are the pre-existing medical condition waiver and "cancel for any reason" coverage.

An exclusion waiver is a clause in your travel insurance policy that allows you to apply for claims for your pre-existing conditions. Symptoms of an injury, illness, or other medical condition, including taking medication or seeking treatment because of these symptoms, which you experienced within 60 to 180 days before buying your travel insurance typically constitutes a pre-existing condition. This might include some pregnancy complications, but check with your travel insurance provider to be sure. Normal pregnancy and childbirth costs, however, are not covered by this exclusion waiver. You must file this exclusion waiver within two to three weeks from your first deposit, and if you qualify, you don't have to make additional payments.

Unlike the exclusion waiver, the "cancel for any reason" (CFAR) coverage comes at a price – about half the cost of your policy. However, it can pay for up to three-fourths of nonrefundable trip costs if you canceled your travels — for any reason — within 48 hours of your departure time. And, similar to the exclusion waiver, you should also request for this add-on to your travel insurance within two weeks from your first deposit.