International Student

Pre-existing medical conditions

There’s nothing more important than your health, especially while you’re travelling. Unexpected illnesses and injuries can be upsetting and expensive while studying overseas, which is why it’s important that you’re protected with quality travel insurance during your stay in New Zealand.

It’s also important to understand exactly what you’re covered for under your travel insurance, and how to get additional medical cover if you need it.

Pre-existing medical conditions (PECs) aren’t automatically covered under the International Student travel insurance policy. However, students visiting New Zealand can complete a medical assessment if they wish to apply to cover their pre-existing medical conditions.


How to get cover for pre-existing medical conditions

If you would like your International Student travel insurance to include cover for PECs, it’s worth remembering the following:

1) You first need to call us to complete a medical assessment over the phone, within 31 days of purchasing your International Student travel insurance policy.

2) Our friendly team will advise you over the phone whether we can offer cover for your PECs.

3) If we can offer cover for your PECs there is no additional fee required to add this cover to your policy.

4) If we cannot offer cover for your PECs, it will not be added to your policy as a covered condition and will be listed as an excluded condition.

5) If you choose not to seek cover for your PECs, or neglect to tell us about them, we can’t offer cover for them.

Common questions

We know that PECs can be confusing, but it’s important you understand them, so we can protect you with the right cover for your needs while you study in New Zealand. Here are three common questions we get asked about PECs.


1. What is a pre-existing medical condition?

Different travel insurance companies may have different definitions for the term ‘pre-existing medical condition’. At Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI), we define a PEC as:

Any illness, injury, or health symptom to which all the following apply.

  • You know about it, or a reasonable person should have known about it before the date your insurance starts
  • In the three years before the date your insurance starts, any of the following applied.
    • You sought or received medical help
    • Someone recommended you seek or receive medical help
    • A reasonable person would have sought or received medical help
    • You were waiting for medical help. In this definition, ‘medical help’ means any of the following.
      • Advice from a health professional
      • Tests, investigations, or specialist consultations
      • Care, treatment, or medical attention, including surgery
      • Medication or a script for medication

An illness, injury, or health symptom doesn’t need a medical diagnosis to count as a pre-existing condition.

Below are some common illnesses and injuries that we consider to be a PEC:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart, vascular and lung illnesses
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Hernias
  • Asthma
  • Gallstones
  • Back pain
  • Allergies
  • Hay fever
  • Eczema
  • Sprain

2. If I’m taking medication for a condition but the condition is stable, is this still considered to be a PEC?

Yes, any condition which you are currently on medication for, or have taken medication for, is considered to be a PEC.


3. My conditions are controlled, are they automatically covered?

No, your conditions are not automatically covered. If you wish to seek cover for these conditions on your International Student travel insurance policy, you’ll need to tell us about them during your medical assessment over the phone.


4. If I only want cover for some of my PECs but not others, do I need to tell you about ALL of my PECs when I apply for my policy?

Yes, you must disclose all PECs that you have. You cannot choose which PEC(s) you want to be covered and which PEC(s) you want to exclude.


Need some help?

If you would like to get in touch, we’re here to help. If you have any questions regarding our International Student travel insurance, you can:

Call us from New Zealand: 0800 784 691
Call us from overseas: +64 9 979 6597
Email us:

Take the next step towards your journey in New Zealand and get an online travel insurance quote today.


What you need to know

This page includes some information about our products but, as with all insurance policies, terms and conditions apply. For our terms and conditions (including information about exclusions, excesses and sub limits) we recommend you read the relevant policy documents to ensure our travel insurance products are right for you.

You can find the relevant documents for all our policies here: International Comprehensive, Annual Multi-trip, International Medical OnlyDomestic, Working Overseas, Visiting New Zealand, International Student