Useful information on taking out a travel insurance policy during pregnancy plus advice on features to look for and precautions to take.
Many see pregnancy as the perfect time to indulge in a spot of relaxation before baby arrives. While there is no doubt that the 'r and r' you have the opportunity to indulge in on holiday will be good for you and your baby, you must also be aware that there are extra precautions you should take when travelling during pregnancy.
Travel insurance should be an integral part of any holiday you take whether or not you are expecting. However, while up until now you may have been able to buy travel insurance 'off the peg' without much consideration of the terms and conditions, being pregnant means that it is essential you read the small print.
Travel insurance companies see pregnant travellers as 'high risk', as there is an increased possibility that complications which require medical treatment, repatriation or cancellation of the holiday will arise.
Statistically, the 'safest' time to travel is in the second trimester and while medically the first trimester may be seen as carrying the highest risk of complications, for insurance purposes it is the third trimester that takes the focus. This is because after the 30th week of pregnancy the incidence of pre-term birth related complications increases significantly.
Many air companies allow you to travel up until your 36th week of pregnancy if you can provide a letter from your doctor confirming that you are fit to do so. This limit drops to roughly 28 weeks if you have experienced problems either with this, or with a previous pregnancy or if you are carrying multiples. The same risk level applies with standard travel insurance.
Many companies will not cover travellers beyond the 28th week of pregnancy regardless of their health and many list birth and other pregnancy related complications in their list of exclusions - for this reason it is vital that you check the small print.
A common restriction placed on travel insurance policies is that a pregnant women will not be covered unless she returns from the insured trip at least 8 weeks before her due date. This works out at roughly 32 weeks gestation so it is important that you work out your dates before you book your holiday.
You'll also need to think about the type of holiday you plan to take as you may struggle to find affordable cover for more adventurous excursions like trips to ski resorts
While you may not be covered for pregnancy related conditions by your travel insurance policy (especially if you are travelling towards the very end of your pregnancy), travel insurance is still important as it is likely to provide you with financial protection against cancellation, repatriation and loss of luggage, passports or money.
However, you should always check the small print prior to purchasing a policy to ensure that you are both aware and happy with the terms and conditions relating to the level of travel cover provided.
- Before you book your holiday, work out how far your pregnancy will have progressed by your return date so that you can be sure that both flights and travel insurance will not be a problem.
- Visit your doctor to find out which holiday destinations are likely to require vaccinations or malaria medications so that you can take this into account when booking.
- Keep an eye on the pregnancy flight restrictions enforced by your chosen airline as these may change after you booked your flight.
- Prior to departure book in for a check up with your doctor; while this will be necessary in the later stages of pregnancy so that you can obtain a letter of good health (or pre-travel health statement) to enable you to fly, this will also help to reassure you and enable any problems to be identified and treated before you travel.
- Try and avoid foreign travel in the latter half of the third trimester as the risk of complications increases and not only are you unlikely to be covered by your insurance, but the standard of medical care available at your destination may not be adequate to your needs.
- If it is necessary to travel in the latter stages of pregnancy and you are unable to find an insurance company to provide you with sufficient cover, contact an insurance company or an insurance broker directly as they may be able to arrange a specially tailored policy for you. This is likely to be more expensive that an off the shelf travel insurance policy but it is likely to be worth it.
- When travelling pregnant you should be prepared - carry a copy of your EHIC, travel insurance documents, medical records and an emergency contact number on you at all times.
- If you have an existing annual insurance policy you must contact your insurer and inform them of your pregnancy as this may effect the cover they are able to offer to you.
- Always check the small print of your insurance policy so that you know what you're covered for - contact your insurance provider if you have any queries.
For more information on a range of travel insurance policies visit www.aboutyourmoney.co.uk