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Five reasons your travel insurance claim may be denied

Travel insurance is more important now than it’s ever been. Discover five reasons why your travel insurance claim could be denied and how you can avoid this happening to you.

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Had any trips cancelled lately? I’m guessing if you love travel as much I do then you probably have. We’ve had a week’s skiing in France cancelled. A few days in China (!) followed by a month in Australia, to celebrate Mr Jones’ retirement, cancelled. A week’s sailing in Croatia this summer – blown out of the water.

To be honest I’m not that upset. We’d rather be safe and healthy and at home near to our loved ones right now. As we’re covered by insurance we got all our money back on our travel insurance claim. We can re-book when we feel comfortable with travelling again.

Menorca sailing

We have an annual travel insurance policy so we’re covered before we even step out of the front door. With COVID-19 this year and mishaps from past trips we’ll be sure never to let our travel insurance lapse.

As well as protecting your trip from the time of taking out cover, travel insurance is essential if you’re injured or fall ill when you’re away. The wasp sting in Turkey where Mr Jones spent a day on a drip while his leg returned to its normal size – covered by the insurance. Global pandemic – covered by insurance. Or, that time British Airways delivered our luggage to Mauritius five days after we’d arrived and the day before we were due to fly home. The cost of new clothing and the essentials we bought were all covered.

Why your travel insurance claim could be rejected

Making a claim on your travel insurance policy may seem like a straightforward procedure, but you’ll find a whole heap of disclaimers in the small print. These can invalidate your insurance and prevent you from getting a full refund. Or worse, your claim being denied completely.

None of us wants to be in a position where we have to claim but when we do it should be stress-free and straightforward. Read on for five reasons your travel insurance claims might be rejected. Some might surprise you…

Undeclared pre-existing conditions

One of the most important reasons for purchasing travel insurance is to protect you and your family against unexpected medical emergencies while travelling. Your travel insurance provider has set rules regarding medical coverage. Make sure that you have checked and complied with them.

One important thing that you should do when purchasing travel insurance is not to withhold any details of a pre-existing condition. If you do, you run the risk of invalidating your medical cover. Most providers will cover you for a certain illness if you pay a supplement. It may not be as much as you think so it’s worth always worth asking the question. If your doctor has advised against travel this will invalidate your insurance.

Extreme adventure sports and hazardous activities

Travel insurance policies usually don’t cover extreme adventure sports and hazardous activities as a matter of course. Things like skiing, BMX activities, kickboxing, paragliding, heli-skiing, canyoning, high-diving, parachuting need additional cover. Check with your insurance company and they’ll advise how much the additional premium will cost. If you get injured or seriously hurt while participating in an activity that isn’t covered, your insurance claim will probably be rejected.

It’s highly recommended that you check what activities are covered before you sign up for an activity. We were surprised to learn that tennis is considered hazardous on our old policy. We generally play tennis if the hotel we’re staying at has a court.

Man kite surfing in Vietnam

Excessive amounts of alcohol or illegal drug use

If you sustain injuries or have an accident due to excessive alcohol or use of illicit drugs, your expenses will not be covered by your travel insurance. This is generally true in the UK and the US but if you’re travelling you’re more likely to be having a drink or two. Or more. You’re not expected to be teetotal, after all you’re on holiday, but do drink responsibly. Before travelling to another country, make sure that you know its laws and customs around alcohol consumption and drug use.

I visited Sharjah in the UAE last year and the emirate is completely dry meaning you can’t consume alcohol anywhere – even in hotels and restaurants.

Luggage and personal items left unattended

If your luggage gets lost or stolen you will not be covered by the travel insurance if they find that you left it unattended. The same applies to personal valuables that get lost during a trip. You can support your claim through a Police Report or a written statement by the security staff of the building.

I know someone whose case was stolen while they checked in at hotel reception and left their bag unattended for two minutes. Exactly the scenario an opportunist thief is waiting for at hotels and airports. Here are some tips on what to do if your luggage goes missing at the airport.

suitcases at the airport

Travelling against the government  or WHO’s advice

The foreign travel advice (WHO) and your own government will often give travel advice. If you’re a UK citizen check the government website for foreign travel advice. They’ll warn travellers of the danger of going to a particular place due to civil unrest, security problems, or medical issues, such as the presence of contagious diseases. That’s one we’re all fully aware of nowadays.  If you become sick or are injured as a result of traveling to these places, your claim will not be reimbursed.

These are five of the most common reasons why your travel insurance claim may be rejected.  You should be aware of these before you travel to help avoid the hassle of your claim being rejected or not getting the full amount that you are expecting. Remember too that you’ll need to provide sufficient evidence to support your travel insurance claim.

I hope you don’t find yourself in a situation where you need to claim but hopefully the above information will help ensure you and your trip are fully covered before you travel.

Kaylini Naidoo

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

This was extremely useful! I'm so surprised about the adventure activities and the stolen luggage.

You'd think those wouldn't need additional insurance. I need to make sure I read more carefully next time, thanks so much for sharing!

Suzanne Jones

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

We were surprised too - things that maybe wouldn't have occured to us before

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