What to know about travel insurance when pregnant

Baby on board

Getting travel insurance when pregnant is usually quite an easy task, though it’s more important than ever that you’re comfortable with the level of medical and cancellation cover your policy gives you. Generally, standard travel insurance policies will cover you for most of pregnancy, but you may have to disclose information like your due date and any complications, as these factors can represent a bigger risk to insurers. 

Here, we look at the ups and downs of pregnancy travel insurance, showing you what to look for and the steps you can take to ensure you’re travelling with peace of mind. 

Can you get travel insurance to cover pregnancy?

Yes, you can get travel insurance for pregnancy. In fact, pregnant travellers can often continue to use their existing multi-trip cover, or apply for a new policy just as they did before they were pregnant. This is because many insurers don’t treat pregnancy in the same way as pre-existing medical conditions — at least not until around 26 to 28 weeks, when you head towards your final trimester. 

Generally speaking, a low-risk pregnancy shouldn’t exclude you from insurance policies or push up your premium in the same way as a chronic health condition that needs medication and monitoring. However, when you’re a pregnant traveller, it’s really important to make sure you’re comfortable with the level of cover your insurance gives you — especially in terms of medical expenses and cancellations (more on this later).

It’s also important to be aware that some travel insurers don’t offer any pregnancy cover at all. In these cases, their policies will cover issues like lost luggage, theft, illness, or cancellation, and they may pay your hospital expenses if, for example, you break your arm. But if you have a pregnancy-related complication, they might not cover the cost of a doctor’s visit, a hospital stay, or an extended or cancelled trip. 

What affects travel insurance when pregnant?

There are a few factors that can influence how easy it is to get insurance when you’re pregnant. 

Your due date

Many insurers will give you a standard level of cover throughout the first two trimesters of your pregnancy. This can include medical expenses for unexpected pregnancy complications like pelvic girdle pain, sciatica, or premature labour, as well as premature birth. 

But once you’re in the later stages, it becomes more difficult to find travel insurance because the risk of your baby putting in an early appearance (or of you developing a late-term complication such as preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome) is much higher. 

Does travel insurance cover you at 34 weeks pregnant?

Up until six weeks before your due date, you should be able to find an insurance policy that works for you. But this is approaching the upper limit, beyond which most insurers won’t cover you (not least because most airlines won’t let you board the plane at this late stage). 

For example, British Airways’ policy closely matches the advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians, and permits travel up to the end of the 36th week for single pregnancies or 32 weeks for multiples. So if you’re looking for travel insurance for pregnancy after 32 weeks, you can start to expect your options for new policies to become more limited. And if you need travel insurance for pregnancy up to 36 weeks, your options may be limited to a small number of comprehensive policies. 

If you need travel insurance during the final month of pregnancy, it’s best to contact insurers directly to find out what their policies specify for “complications of pregnancy and childbirth”.

Can you get travel insurance up to 40 weeks pregnant? 

It’s very unlikely you’ll find insurance to cover pregnancy-related medical expenses if you travel when you’re full-term. The risk of going into labour and needing medical treatment is simply too high. 

Remember, if you’re travelling after 28 weeks (or even after you look more than 28 weeks pregnant), it’s strongly advised to travel with a note from your doctor confirming your due date and stating it’s safe for you to travel. You can keep this with other important documents like your passport and insurance details in case you’re asked to show it at the airport. 

Existing pregnancy complications or high-risk pregnancies

If you’re expecting multiple babies, if you conceived through IVF, or if you’ve been diagnosed with a pregnancy-related condition like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, you represent more of a risk to insurers. This may make it harder to find a policy that gives you the level of travel insurance pregnancy coverage you want, and insurers may stop covering you earlier in your pregnancy. 

It’s important to know that if you don’t disclose these conditions to your travel insurer, they may not pay out if you have to make a pregnancy-related claim. 

How does pregnancy affect single-trip travel insurance? 

When you take out a new short-term travel insurance policy for a single trip (including a peaceful babymoon holiday), you could be asked if you’re pregnant while you fill in the paperwork. If the answer is yes, you may be asked for your due date so the insurer can calculate how far along in your pregnancy you’ll be when you travel. 

It’s important to give accurate information here. Failure to disclose information relating to your pregnancy could cause problems if you have to make a claim later. 

If you’ve booked a single-trip policy before you find out you’re pregnant, you won’t automatically have to find new insurance because pregnancy isn’t treated in the same way as pre-existing medical conditions. But you should go back and check the fine print of your policy wording, then speak to your insurer if you want to take out additional medical or cancellation insurance. This is especially important if you’re planning to travel after 26 to 28 weeks.

How does pregnancy affect multi-trip cover? 

If you have multi-trip cover in place before you find out you’re pregnant, it’s also a good idea to go back to your policy to find out whether it gives you the level of pregnancy coverage you want. You may also have to inform your insurer if you have any complications or if you’ll be close to the cut-off point beyond which they won’t cover you for travel.

Every policy is different, so it’s always a good idea to contact your insurance provider directly if you have questions. 

What should pregnancy travel insurance cover? 

If you’re planning a trip with a baby on board, you may want additional assurance that your travel insurance policy gives you — and potentially your baby — a level of cover you’re comfortable with.

Ideally, you’ll want a comprehensive policy that covers: 

  • Cancellation, rescheduling, or returning early because of pregnancy complications. Some standard policies won’t count pregnancy-related cancellation (for example, because of hyperemesis gravidarum) as grounds to accept your claim. 
  • Medical care for you, including medical emergencies, hospital stays, care during labour and delivery, and the possibility of an emergency C-section. 
  • Antenatal care for you and medical care for your baby if they’re born prematurely. Bear in mind, you might be looking at a long hospital stay before your little one is well enough to travel back home. 
  • Additional expenses if you need to delay your return home. For example, airlines are highly unlikely to allow a newborn to travel before they’re at least seven to 14 days old, and it can take time to organise the emergency travel documents they’ll need to be allowed to fly. 

Am I covered if I go into labour while travelling? 

If you have comprehensive travel insurance, you may well be covered if you go into labour unexpectedly while travelling. As long as you don’t travel after the pregnancy cut-off date, many policies will cover your medical expenses, and those of your baby if they arrive early. They’ll probably also cover the “medical repatriation” charges of bringing you both back home when you’re well enough to travel. 

On the other hand, travel insurance will not cover a planned delivery abroad. So if you want to travel to another country to give birth, you’ll have to research the medical costs and cover them in a different way.

Pregnancy travel checklist

When you want to take a trip during pregnancy, your insurance isn’t the only paperwork you’ll need. There are a few more things to gather — and questions to ask your doctor — before you start packing your suitcase. 

Don’t forget:

  • Proof of your travel insurance cover for the duration of your trip, including the medical cover this gives you. 
  • Medical notes concerning your pregnancy, in case you need to show them to a medical practitioner at your destination. 
  • A letter from your doctor saying that you’re fit to fly, if you plan to travel in your final trimester. 
  • A GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), which entitles you to public medical care (including routine maternity care as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth) on the same terms as residents in many countries.
  • Any medication or pregnancy vitamins you’ve been taking.
  • Items to make travelling more comfortable, including plenty of options to keep you hydrated and compression socks to help prevent pregnancy blood clots during longer flights.

Depending on your destination, you should also ask your doctor about travel advisories during pregnancy. For example, the UK government still issues medical advice for pregnant women against travel to many countries because of the risk of Zika virus. As well as this, some travel vaccines are not recommended during pregnancy. This can further limit your choice of destination. 

Do you need special travel insurance when pregnant? Quick summary

Can you get travel insurance when pregnant? Absolutely!

The options may be slightly more limited, and you may have to buy some additional cover, but most women can get travel insurance to cover them for unexpected pregnancy medical expenses during their trip. 

Before you set off, it’s important to make sure your insurance policy covers you at your stage of pregnancy, and (if you’re flying) your airline will let you board the plane. But if your dates line up and your pregnancy is progressing smoothly according to your doctor, there’s no reason to change your travel plans for that final trip before your little one arrives. 

At Howden, it’s our job to help our clients find the right cover for their travel plans. Speak to our team to get expert advice for your travel insurance.

Also read: