Travel insurance when pregnant
Travel insurance when pregnant
If you’re looking to have one last relaxing holiday before your baby arrives, finding the right travel insurance, to ensure you’re properly covered during pregnancy, is important to consider. With certain medical recommendations surrounding travelling while pregnant, you need to make sure when and what you’ll be covered for.
Do I need specialist travel insurance during pregnancy?
Some insurance providers can provide travel insurance for pregnancy as standard in their annual travel insurance, as it’s often not considered to be a medical condition, so it’s worth checking to see if you’re already covered.
If not, special pregnancy travel insurance can cover you for any pregnancy-related medical attention abroad, including hefty hospital bills for early birth or pregnancy complications.
If you’re covered by an annual policy tell your insurance provider in advance of your trip. If you opt for pregnancy travel insurance, make sure you read your policy carefully before travelling so you know exactly what you’ll be covered for while you’re away.
On 30 July 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated the list of countries that are exempt from its ongoing advice against all non-essential international travel.
If you choose to travel overseas to a destination where the FCO is advising against non-essential travel at the time of your departure, then your insurance policy will be invalid, and any claim likely to be rejected.
For domestic travel, please check the local public health rules for the destination you wish to travel to within the United Kingdom.
For more information, please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.
What does pregnancy travel insurance cover?
The main difference for travel insurance policies which cover pregnancy, is that the medical cover it provides is better suited for pregnant women. A good pregnancy travel insurance policy can also cover you for things like:
- pregnancy-related complications
- early births
- medical care during labour
- emergency caesarean section
- additional expenses if you give birth abroad and need to delay your return
Not all insurance providers will cover these though, so when comparing policies, make sure you choose one that covers every possible eventuality for extra peace of mind.
On top of these, you’ll also receive the same things as standard travel insurance, such as:
- lost luggage
- flight delays
Do I still need pregnancy travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?
Although neither are compulsory, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office strongly recommends you have both a valid EHIC card and comprehensive travel insurance in place if you’re visiting Europe.
The EHIC card is not an alternative to travel insurance.
Although it will cover any pregnancy-related medical treatment in a public hospital in another EEA country or Switzerland, it won’t cover private treatment, loss of luggage, cancellations, delays or repatriation.
UK residents can use their EHIC during the post-Brexit transition phase, until 31 December 2020. The UK Government has proposed a scheme similar to the EHIC, in the event that the EHIC is no longer valid. However, the implementation of that scheme is subject to EU countries agreeing to that proposal. Find out more about the EHIC card.
What pregnancy documents do I need to take with me?
If you do need medical attention while away, it’s important to have the right documentation to hand. Ensure you take the following with you:
- your travel insurance policy and relevant emergency helpline number
- your maternity notes
- a valid EHIC card if you’re visiting Europe
Keep any receipts or paperwork you receive safe, so they can be used as evidence should you need to make a claim.
What happens if I become pregnant after I’ve booked a holiday?
If you discover you’re pregnant after booking your holiday and you want to cancel your trip, you may still have to pay cancellation costs. However, if you need to cancel because your doctor has advised against travelling, your insurance provider may pay any claim you make. This varies between providers, so it’s best to speak to your policy provider just to make sure.
If you still want to go ahead with your trip after finding out you’re pregnant, and you already have travel insurance in place, speak to your insurance provider to see if they can alter your existing policy to cover you.
What else do I need to think about before travelling while pregnant?
Here are a few other important things worth bearing in mind when travelling during pregnancy:
- medical advice – make sure you get the all clear from your doctor or midwife before you go. If you travel against medical advice, your insurance policy will be invalid and you won’t be able to claim if things go wrong
- vaccinations – depending on your destination, your doctor can also advise whether you’ll need travel vaccinations and anti-malaria medication. Although the NHS strongly advises pregnant women to avoid travel to countries where there’s a high risk of malaria or Zika virus.
- airlines – most airlines won’t allow you to fly after 37 weeks. Be sure to check your airline’s policy before booking your flight. The NHS also offers valuable advice on flying safely while pregnant
- food and drink – food and water-borne conditions, such as stomach upsets and diarrhoea, can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. The NHS offers helpful advice on what foods and drink to avoid both at home and abroad, while pregnant
- activities – high risk sports such as horse riding, water-skiing and surfing are not recommended during pregnancy. It’s also wise to avoid these other popular holiday activities:
- scuba diving as you may be at risk of decompression sickness, which could lead to miscarriage
- hot-air balloon trips, because of the change in oxygen levels
- saunas and whirlpools as they could put you at risk of dehydration and fainting
The Babycentre UK gives a more comprehensive list of what activities to avoid during pregnancy.
Will pregnancy travel insurance allow me to travel up to full term?
It’s important that you check any policies carefully, but some insurance providers will cover you for up to 40 weeks, which is the usual pregnancy term. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered if you’re late and exceed 40 weeks.
If you’re more than 40 weeks pregnant, and your policy becomes invalid, you’re suddenly in a more complicated situation, so it’s vital that you check carefully and understand your cover.
What happens if I go into labour abroad?
Going into labour unexpectedly while abroad can be a stressful experience. This is why having the proper travel insurance, which meets your specific needs, is so important. You’ll need to cover the medical costs, but a prolonged stay in your holiday destination, to account for a hospital period, can disrupt your travel plans significantly. This is especially true if the baby is born prematurely, and requires additional care.
Travel insurance can help relieve you of these problems, with the right policy covering your medical expenses, as well as providing you with a place to stay and alternative travel home.
If you’re planning on giving birth abroad in another EU country, or Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, you’ll need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and an S2 guarantee form.
The S2 form covers you for specific maternity care, but an EHIC can insure you for any state-provided medical care that you or your baby may need.
Please check the most up-to-date information regarding EHICs, as the UK leaving the EU will likely see changes to this document in future.
Myths of travelling while pregnant
There’s a lot of information out there, and you may have heard stories from friends and family who have been pregnant. Here are some examples of those stories not being strictly true though:
“Flying while pregnant is dangerous.”
There isn’t actually anything inherently risky about flying while pregnant. The reason you’re advised to avoid travelling at certain times is because it’s best to have access to a doctor/midwife at these times, and going into premature labour while on a flight presents obvious complications. However, the act of flying doesn’t put you at a higher risk of going into labour.
“Travelling in the first three months of pregnancy is the safest time to travel.”
While not directly linked to travel, the first 12 weeks are the time when you are at the highest risk of miscarriage. So, it’s always best to be closer to home if possible. Also, if you’re feeling the effects of morning sickness, these can sometimes make flying more uncomfortable.
“You can’t fly during your third trimester.”
This also isn’t true. While it’s recommended that you avoid travelling in the final stages of pregnancy, you can usually fly until the 37th week. While some airlines may require written notice from a doctor after 28 weeks, you should still be able to travel, unless under medical caution.
When is the safest time to fly when pregnant?
The safest time to fly while pregnant is generally between 12-28 weeks, however, this can extend until 36 weeks. After this point, you’re at risk of going into labour. Some airlines may request a doctor or midwife’s letter, before letting you fly after 28 weeks. In the early stages of pregnancy, the first three months, you are at a higher risk of miscarrying, which can put some women off flying.
Generally though, if you’ve had a trouble-free pregnancy, flying is relatively safe. However, it’s always best to have a chat with your doctor about it.
Is it easy to get a travel insurance quote if I’m pregnant?
Getting a travel insurance quote that covers your pregnancy shouldn’t be any more difficult than getting standard travel insurance.
Just let insurance providers know your travel dates, holiday destination and any optional extras you’d like added to your policy.
You don’t necessarily need to declare your pregnancy as it’s not considered a pre-existing medical condition. But you should let insurance providers know to ensure you get the right level of cover for any pregnancy-related problems.
When you compare travel insurance with us, we’ll send you a list of insurance providers, so you can compare policies and choose one that ticks all the right boxes – and enjoy a holiday with the peace of mind that you and your baby bump are covered.