Cover-More and QBE remove mental health exclusion from travel insurance cover

Claims arising from mental health issues have long come under blanket exclusions on travel insurance policies, leaving some travellers footing hefty and unexpected bills. But some key players in the industry are now re-examining that rule.

Many travel insurance policies include a general exclusion that means any claim arising from a mental health condition can be denied. 

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said these “blanket exclusions which prevent travellers from being covered for mental health conditions are archaic and treat people with mental health conditions unfairly.” 

But this particular exclusion could be about to become a thing of the past.

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Travel insurer Cover-More was the first to make changes to its policies, releasing a revised product disclosure document last month, effective from 1 June. Under the new PDS, people who are diagnosed with a mental health condition by a psychiatrist after they have taken out a travel insurance policy will be eligible for cancellation cover. They will also be able to claim medical expenses arising from the condition, provided it manifests after they begin their journey.

The new PDS reads:

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre welcomed the changes, saying they were a big step forward in ending discrimination against people with mental health issues from within the insurance community.

“We are very pleased that the message is finally getting through that discrimination on the basis of mental health conditions is not on,” said Jonathon Hunyor, CEO of PIAC.

“We hope that Cover-More’s new approach encourages other insurance companies to take an evidence-based and common-sense approach to the risks involved in insuring people who may develop mental health issues.”

Australia Post also updated its PDS, effective as of 1 June, with the same changes around mental health claims as Cover-More.

Travel insurer QBE updated its PDS as well, effective as of 1 July, so that policyholders who are unable to start or finish a trip due to a mental health condition are covered under the cancellation benefit, as long as they have been diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner and have been assigned a mental health treatment plan by their doctor.

Travel insurance is the one thing every international jetsetter needs to pack, so make sure you’ve got a policy that works for you, by heading over to our travel insurance comparison tool.