Travel insurance

How not to void your travel insurance

1 July 20144 min read

Female traveller at the airport looking at the arrival and departure boards

Illness, delayed flights, lost luggage… not the kinds of things you want to think about before jetting off on your sunshine getaway.

Organising travel insurance to protect against eventualities such as these could literally save you thousands of pounds in the long run.

Reading the small print is also vital as, in the event that you have to claim on your policy, there are a number of things that could actually render your claim invalid if you fail to recognise them before you go.

Here are our top 10 ways to ensure you don’t void your travel insurance…

1. Don’t jet off to a dangerous area

There are various countries where situations such as political unrest make them unsafe for visitors to travel to.

This information can be found on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website, so always double check before you travel if you are in any doubt and see if restrictions have been put in place.

Failing to comply with this advice and travelling anyway could mean that if you later had to make a claim on your insurance, it would be rejected.

2. Always declare pre-existing medical conditions

When booking your travel insurance, it’s essential you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer.

Medical costs are one of the biggest expenses that insurers have to pay out, with treatment and situations like repatriation running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Even if you consider yourself to have a mild condition, such as asthma, or have suffered from an illness in the past, it is still important you disclose this. If you don’t, your insurer could reject any claim you make.

If you find it difficult to get cover because of a pre-existing condition, specialist policies are available, and while it may cost you a few pounds extra now, in the long run it could save you a fortune.

3. Take care with alcohol

Insurance companies don’t look kindly on claims that are made by people while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an accident took place after one too many beers, you would need to prove that alcohol wasn’t to blame.

4. Check you’re covered for sport activities

If you’re off on a sports holiday, reading the small print of your policy is vital as many policies do not cover particular sports and activities, especially if they are considered to have an element of danger attached, such as sky diving. Any claim you therefore make that’s related to activities such as these would be turned down.

To ensure you are covered, you may have the option to buy additional cover as a ‘bolt on’ to your current policy, or you may need to purchase specific cover for the sports you will be taking part in.

5. Look after your property

Leaving your bag unattended in public or cash lying around in your apartment rather than in a locked safe isn’t only careless; it’s also likely to result in a rejection of your insurance claim.

6. Inform the police if an item is stolen

If you are unlucky enough to have something stolen, most insurance companies will require you to have reported the incident within 24 hours to the police and for you to produce a written police report as evidence.

7. Don’t get rid of receipts

If an expensive possession such as a camera gets lost while on holiday, you would need to provide proof of ownership to the insurer. So keep important receipts (or a digital copy) somewhere safe.

8. Avoid getting into a fight

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that getting into a fight won’t be looked upon kindly by insurance companies. But if you suffer injury as a result and make a claim on your travel insurance, the company won’t cough up (unless you can prove it was self-defence).

9. Get to the airport on time

You can get extra cover (missed departure cover) on your insurance policy to protect you if you miss your flight due to circumstances beyond your control, such as train cancellations. But you won’t be able to claim if you simply slept in or didn’t leave enough time to get to the airport. So make sure you plan ahead and allow sufficient time.

10. Cheap policies are not always best

The cheapest policies may not offer you enough cover, so it’s a sensible idea to compare all the options available before booking your travel insurance. However, it really does depend on the individual. Check what’s included and weigh up whether the policy will meet your needs.

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