With babymoons increasing in popularity, more parents are choosing to enjoy some quality time together on holiday, whether as a couple or with your existing family, ahead of their new baby’s arrival. If you already have annual travel insurance, it’s worth checking your policy wording to see what cover you have during pregnancy and whether it’s enough should your baby arrive prematurely or if you experience any complications.
Travelling while pregnant can a little daunting, as can travelling with children, especially if it’s your first time. But as long as you do your research and are aware of any possible risks, it can be an enjoyable experience, marking the start of a new journey.
Does travel insurance cover pregnancy?
Both multi-trip and single-trip travel policies can cover women who travel while expecting but it’s important to check you have suitable travel insurance place in case of an emergency.
A good insurance policy for pregnant travellers could also cover eventualities like:
• Cancellation or cutting your trip short due to pregnancy-related complications
• Early births
• Medical care during labour
• Additional expenses if you give birth abroad and need to delay your return.
You shouldn’t have to pay more for your policy as pregnancy isn’t considered a pre-existing condition, unless you have any complications.
But what could differ between policies is the amount of cover and the time frames and exclusions that are applied. If your annual policy doesn’t meet your needs, talk to your provider about upgrading cover or add-ons.
When travelling pregnant there are a few things you may not have considered when planning a trip abroad. Sarah Page, brand manager at Holidaysafe, has some tips to help expectant parents feel confident when it comes to travelling abroad while pregnant. Sarah explains things to consider when choosing a holiday destination, as well as some things to be aware of when choosing a suitable travel insurance policy.
1 - Research the medical facilities near your chosen holiday destination
One of the most important decisions to carefully consider when planning a babymoon is the destination. Not only because traveling long-haul while pregnant may not be the most comfortable experience, but it’s especially important from a risk perspective too. Checking logistics, such as how far the nearest hospital is from the hotel or accommodation, as well as the quality of the nearest medical facility, should be a key factor throughout the planning process.
Travellers should also be aware that medical facilities overseas may not be as advanced as they are in the UK and appropriate care may not be available at all destinations, especially if it is an island. It is sensible fortravellers to research the nearest available public hospital to their holiday destination, understanding how long it takes to get there and what the quality of healthcare is like, so they feel comfortable going there should they need too.
2 - Be aware of the general health of the country
Looking at the general health of a country and whether travellers are recommended to get vaccinations before they visit is also a major factor to be considered when picking a destination. For example, insurers have previously experienced holiday cancellation claims due to disease outbreaks or scares that pose a threat to unborn children, for example, the Zika virus.
It is important for travellers to discuss any required vaccinations with their doctor and to also understand whether their travel insurance policy would cover them to cancel the trip if a new disease or epidemic were to break out.
3 - Be aware of your pregnancy and general health
While babymoons can be an exciting experience, it is essential that travellers think carefully about their pregnancy and consider whether they have experienced any current or historic pregnancy-related complications.
While there’s no reason why expectant mothers, who have not had any complications in pregnancy, can’t travel safely, it is essential that all pregnant travellers take the necessary precautions and consult their doctor before booking a break. Travellers should also be aware that they may need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions (including any pregnancy-related complications) to their travel insurance provider. If they fail to do so and then need to make a claim they may not be covered.
4 - Check your baby would be covered under your insurance policy, should you go into labour prematurely abroad
Babies born prematurely abroad can be some of the most expensive cases insurers handle. In fact, one baby born prematurely cost Holidaysafe more than £100,000, requiring a specialist neonatal air ambulance to safely bring the baby home.
Most travel insurance policies would automatically cover a newborn until they are medically safe to travel home, if the mother was to go into labour prematurely while abroad. But checking suitable cover is in place in this type of scenario can offer expectant parents’ peace of mind. In the same way that every pregnancy is different, every travel insurance policy is different too. So, travellers must check to see exactly what they are covered for.
5 - Check the countries tolerance towards marital status
Certain countries have lower tolerances for children being born outside of wedlock. And while it’s important to remember that a travel insurance provider wouldn’t deny emergency assistance based on marital status, it is highly recommended to check the local customs and laws before travelling to a destination if pregnant and not married, as this can cause complications should the mother need medical treatment, or go into early labour, while abroad.
Holidaysafe has experience of a baby arriving prematurely abroad while the parents were not married. At the time, having a child out of wedlock was a criminal offence in the country, so the family had to apply for permission to leave through the country’s royal family and embassy. The family had a matter of hours from the emergency documents being issued to getting out of the country.
6 - Travel with the necessary medical documents
While a travel insurer wouldn’t necessarily require travellers to take their midwifery notes with them on holiday, there’s no harm in taking a copy should travellers need to visit the hospital for emergencies reasons while abroad. It is, however, essential that travellers can provide any documentation that their airline requires. The reason is, most travel insurance policies will not provide cover in the event the holidaymaker is denied boarding for not having the correct requirements for travel.
Airlines have restrictions on the maximum number of weeks pregnant travellers can fly and do not typically allow pregnant passengers to fly beyond 36 weeks. That being said, this restriction does vary by airline. Travel insurance policies also have limits on the number of weeks pregnant travellers can travel, which do not always align and are often less that the airlines own rules, so this is something to be aware of and to check carefully before travelling.
7 - If you’re going through IVF you may need cover too
It’s not just expectant couples that need to take a few things into consideration before booking a trip abroad, but those who are actively trying to conceive too. For example, couples undergoing IVF treatment may also have concerns over the health of the country as they may also need to cancel their trip if a new medical risk was to occur.
Some travel insurance providers offer cover for these circumstances, so it’s always something worth looking out for – or asking about – if applicable.