Recently I have travelled to Indonesia for work and as part of my preparation … and because I like to be prepared I wanted to organise Travel Insurance. This was my first overseas trip for work since my children had been diagnosed with Autism. They weren’t travelling with me … but I guess I had it in the back of my mind when I was organising my travel insurance.
I had thought getting the travel insurance should be pretty simple … I could not believe how wrong I was. What I discovered very quicly that while you might think that there are 1000s of different travel insurance policies out there .. well really that is not true. In fact there are really on a small number of business that offer travel insurance and underwrite for other businesses (that more often than not just copy and paste the PDS from the underwritter). And many of them aren’t really fans of people with Autism … well at least their polices aren’t
How does having a child with Autism that is not travelling impact your ability to get travel insurance?
I know this might seem to be a bit confusing and not make alot of sense … but this is how it works. According to all of the insurance companies I spoke to Autism would be counted as a “Pre-existing Medical Condition”. Pre-existing Medical Conditions of not just the travelling party, but travelling companions and non-travelling relatives need to be considered when getting travel insurance.
Why would that be important? Well if you need to cancel your trip and be repatriated quickly because of something that relates to a Pre-existing Medical Conditions that could be very expensive. That is why you get travel insurance. But how can Autism be seen as a potential cause a claim on travel insurance. Well when I was talking to the insurance companies I got different responses to how they would consider the following.
Scenario – Your child runs out onto the road and gets run over by a car. They are hurt badly and you need to return home.
Response – All insurance companies said that they would pay for repatriation.
Scenario Expanded – I then asked if this could this change if it was known that the child had autism and that one of the aspects of their condition was that they had a fascination with cars and had a general lack of awareness of road safety.
Response – Mixed. Some said that they would pay, some not sure … a few said definitely not.
IMHO travel insurance companies are unfairly (and I wonder if illegally) discriminating against people with non-travelling relatives with Autism. Many don’t or won’t provide coverage for autism and potentially will twist things to extend unreasonably the impact on autism to cover well pretty much anything. This is just wrong.
What do you think?
Wow, I would have never even considered that there would be a problem with coverage in these circumstances. That sounds like discrimination to me – how wrong and how worrying for families with kids on the spectrum.
To be honest I hadn’t thought about it until I had to go on the work trip and getting the insurance became a bit more complicated than what I thought.
I spoke to the Human Rights Commission because I agree that I think it is discriminatory and I am still considering whether I will take it further … I am leaning towards doing it as I just think it is wrong.