Claiming on your travel insurance

what can you claim on your travel insurance

What can you claim for on your travel insurance?

Think about the main things that can happen when you're planning your next getaway or on your holiday already. That's what travel insurance covers you for. Most policies will include cover for:

  • Your luggage - whether this get stolen or are lost
  • Your trip - being cancelled or cut short (a lot of policies call this curtailment)
  • Medical emergencies- including hospital costs and repatriation
  • Cost due to delays - perhaps because of a technical issue with your flight
  • Lost or stolen cash -  and personal items like your passport

It might sounds astonishing but in 2017 us Brits made the equivalent of one travel insurance claim a minute!

On a lot of travel insurance policies, you can also customise your cover and add extra options including:

  • Winter sports insurance - covers you for piste closures, your ski or snowboarding equipment (to a limit) and extra medical emergency cover if you need assistance on the slopes
  • Pet cover
  • Gadget cover
  • Special activities and sports - check exactly what's covered as each policy might have different rules
  • Legal protection
  • Business cover

Frequently asked question: Does a family annual multi-trip policy cover each member for individual trips? For the adults normally yes. Not everyone knows this, but if you buy a family annual multi-trip travel insurance policy, each and every adult who's on the policy is usually covered for their own individual trips - and that includes to different places at the same time. Handy!

What are the most frequent things people claim for on their travel insurance?

It might sounds astonishing but in 2017 us Brits made the equivalent of one travel insurance claim a minute!

Medical expenses are by far the highest cost of claims when it comes to travel insurance, accounting for £385 million worth of paid claims. Illness issues are not something you can foresee, hence why arranging insurance cover is important - especially if you have booked an expensive holiday like a cruise

Holiday cancellation come second, worth £145 million in claims in 2017 too.

It can be difficult, however, to get an idea of the cost of the average claim as some claims are very high and can easily sway the figures. For example, the ABI reports that out of a sample of only 159,000 travellers one travel insurance claim in 2017 was £90,000 just on its own. And medical claims in the region of £500,000 are more common than you might think.

Travel insurance claim reviews 

Of course you can't predict whether or not you'll need to use your travel insurance to make a claim. 

Ideally you hope not, and if you've never had to use it you might be tempted to do a quick shop around, and decide on which travel insurer to use only based on your quote price. 

But price is not everything. 

Spend a little time comparing the cover levels and especially exclusions (for example, some travel insurance might not cover a cruise, or extra activities that are considered higher risk as standard - things like bungee jumping, go-karting and so on.)

Once you've narrowed it down to a few options, compare them or check them individually on claim reputation. Reading other customers' reviews and ratings of their own claim experience could make your decision making easier. 

Travel insurance claim process

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, try not to delay it (unless of course your medical condition prevents you from getting in touch with your travel insurer immediately). 

Most insurers are able to help you open a new claim over the phone, and sometimes even from your smart phone or laptop, through a simple online form.

You might need to provide additional details, proof of payment if you've had to advance some of the expenses, or notes like medical reports. 

Keep a copy of all related paperwork. If you can, take photos of them and save them on your phone. Apps like Evernote are really handy to organise all your receipts. 

Beware if you delay opening your claim as there is normally a time limit to do so. 

When should you buy travel insurance - buying last minute travel insurance

You should buy travel insurance immediately after booking your holiday so you are covered for cancellation. If buying an annual multi-trip policy make sure it starts on the day you buy it and not when your holiday starts because the cancellation cover begins on the start date on multi-trip policies. If you have booked a last minute holiday you MUST have travel insurance in place BEFORE you travel otherwise, if you do have to claim, it will look like you only bought travel insurance with the intent of claiming on it. This will not bode well with your insurance company. It may be that you can purchase a cheaper policy because you will not need cancellation cover (as the trip is already upon you and you have no health or flight issues). But always remember to check the insurers claim reputation first. You may still find you need to claim for other reasons and you want to make sure you are in the best hands in that eventuality.

What to do if your travel insurance claim is denied

There might be several reasons why your claim was turned down. It could be a temporary issue like  a lack of documentation - meaning your insurer doesn't have enough data to process your claim. Go back to your insurer, find out what they need from you and send it to them as quickly as you can. 

If you claim has been declined, it's generally because of:

- No cover - the incident you are claiming for might not be covered by your policy

- Exceeding time limit - you haven't reported your claim within the necessary time period

- Lack of due care - for example, if the insurer felt from your claim details that you left valuables unattended and in plain sight

- Not declaring essential information - like pre existing medical conditions

- Wrong details - If your insurer cross references your claim with the details given by a witness or third party and finds discrepancies. 

First thing to do is to get back to your insurer (directly or via your broker if they arranged the insurance policy for you) to clarify what the issue is. 

If you get no further joy doing this, you can:

  •  Write an official letter of complaint to your insurer
  • Organise an independent assessment 
  • Go to the Financial Ombudsman to try and get the decision overruled

EXTRA TIP: You can also find a lot of advice on the Money Advice Service website. 

Is it worth claiming on your travel insurance?

It depends on the severity of your claim and the level of excess you have opted for. Claiming for the loss of a pair of sunglasses might not be worth your time (unless they were expensive designer ones - but these are often excluded anyway) whereas submitting a claim for a lost suitcase full of clothes might. 

Ultimately, we hope that now you've read this, you won't have to use it. Happy holiday!

claiming on your travel insurance - quick reference guide- Claimscore

NEXT: Should you get winter sport insurance cover?

1 Comment

anonymous said 4 years ago - (Business contributor)


This was a phenomenal Travel. The tips were so useful, and I’ll be following them for sure.

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