What Is a Look Back Period In Travel Insurance? Analysis

When acquiring travel insurance, grasp the concept of the look back period and its implications on your coverage.

This timeframe is crucial, as insurers utilize it to evaluate your medical history, deciding the inclusion of specific conditions in your policy.

Look back period in travel insurance
The look back period is a fixed amount of time the insurer will look back on to determine if a medical condition has been previously diagnosed. The typical number of days is between 60 and 180 prior to the purchase of the policy, depending on the policy that has been chosen: Photo source (NerdWallet)

How Does the Look Back Period Work?

The duration of the look back period varies among insurers and policies, usually spanning from 60 to 180 days before your departure.

Within this timeframe, insurers examine your medical history to identify pre-existing conditions that could impact your well-being during travel.

If you have a pre-existing condition and it becomes problematic during your trip, your policy may not cover it.

This implies that medical treatment for a condition existing before obtaining travel insurance might not be eligible for coverage.

Why is the Look Back Period Important?

The significance of the look back period lies in its role in enabling insurers to evaluate the risk involved in offering coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Without a look back period, insurers would be exposed to substantial financial risk if they were to extend coverage to all pre-existing conditions.

With the incorporation of a look back period, insurers can steer clear of covering expenses associated with conditions pre-existing at the time of policy acquisition, especially those that might worsen during travel.

This precautionary measure safeguards insurers against substantial financial setbacks, granting them the ability to provide more extensive coverage to individuals lacking pre-existing conditions.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Look Back Period?

When selecting a travel insurance plan, it’s crucial to take into account the duration of the look back period and its potential impact on your coverage.

If you possess a pre-existing condition, opting for a policy with a shorter look back period is advisable to guarantee coverage for your condition.

Conversely, for individuals without pre-existing conditions, a lengthier look back period might be advantageous, as it can offer more extensive coverage in the event of a medical issue arising during the trip.

Also read: Is Atlas Travel Insurance Any Good


Question Answer
What is a pre-existing condition? A pre-existing condition is any medical condition that existed prior to purchasing travel insurance.
How long is the typical look back period? The look back period can vary, but it typically ranges from 60 to 180 days prior to your departure date.
What happens if I have a pre-existing condition? If you have a pre-existing condition, it may not be covered under your policy if it becomes an issue during your trip.
Will my travel insurance cover me if I get sick while traveling? If the sickness is not related to a pre-existing condition, it should be covered under your policy. However, it’s important to review the policy details to ensure that you are covered.


Consideration of the look-back period is crucial when selecting a travel insurance policy.

This period plays a vital role in enabling insurers to evaluate the risk linked to covering individuals with pre-existing conditions.

It also guarantees that the policy offers extensive coverage for unexpected medical issues that may emerge while traveling.

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