personal finance

Travel insurance UK: Is your policy invalid? Reason why your claim could be declined

Whether it’s due to a medical problem or stolen belongings, there are a whole host of reasons why a person may need to make a claim on their travel insurance policy. And, should things not go as planned, the last thing a person may want to hear is that their policy has been rendered invalid. This could mean that the insurance provider does not have to payout for the claim. Aiming to ensure consumers are aware of some common mistakes, the insurance company Aviva have pointed out some frequent issues.

It came as the insurance provider revealed figures from its recent study which showed that only 47 per cent of 2,000 UK participants said they would tell their insurer if they had an existing medical condition when buying travel cover.

The results also revealed that 29 per cent of those asked said that they wouldn’t make their insurer aware of any health or medical situations.

Adam Beckett, Product Director for Aviva General Insurance said: “A person’s medical history is incredibly important when taking out travel insurance, as are any health changes that occur between them purchasing cover and travelling.

“This allows the insurer to appropriately assess the medical risks each customer poses, along with any other risks, in order to provide cover at a fair price.

“For those who have travel insurance through their bank or as an annual policy which renews automatically, it’s vital that they check their cover at renewal and inform their insurance provider if anything has changed or before they book a holiday.”

Mr Beckett went on to explain that failing to provide full disclosure when it comes to pre-existing conditions or a a condition which was being investigated ahead of the getaway, could lead to problems for them if a person falls ill during the trip due to this reason.

He said: “If a customer doesn’t disclose their medical history, this could mean that their policy is invalid. So if they are taken ill on holiday, due to a pre-existing condition or a condition which was being investigated before they travelled, unfortunately a claim may be declined.”

There are a number of reasons why a person may make a travel insurance claim.

The policyholder should check their travel insurance documents in order to see what is covered by their policy.

Mr Beckett said: “Travel insurance is designed to help customers in the case of an unforeseen emergency.

“This could either mean something that occurs on holiday or an incident that happens beforehand which disrupts travel plans.

“Our research reveals that less than a third of people read their travel insurance documents in full, so it’s no surprise that there’s some confusion over cover. But this can lead to disappointment if people expect to make a claim, only to find they can’t.

“It’s crucial that people check their travel cover when they buy it or when they receive an annual reminder, so they know what the restrictions are.This should help to avoid any unpleasant surprises.”

Aviva travel insurance top tips

  • Always check what you need to tell your insurer about your health – or the health of anyone else on your policy – such as any existing medical conditions or investigations. If your health changes between taking out insurance and travelling, or at renewal, it’s important to update your insurer, in case this affects your cover
  • Be sure to know the specific cancellation and missed departure reasons that are covered by your policy, for example if your travel plans are affected by severe weather, drones or an airport strike. Missing a flight because you overslept is sadly not covered
  • If you’re taking valuable items on your travels, it’s worth checking your baggage insurance is sufficient, whether you need additional cover, or if there are conditions such as ensuring your valuables are kept in your hand luggage
  • And check whether baggage cover is part of your insurance package. For many policies it’s an optional add on, so don’t assume it’s in place automatically
  • Be vigilant when booking. Unfortunately booking scams are not covered under travel policies, so take care when making your travel plans. You can find a list of ways to spot a scam through this useful Which? guide here
  • Don’t leave insurance to the last minute. We recommend that customers arrange travel insurance to start from the day their trip is booked, not from the day the holiday starts, to ensure there’s cover for any listed cancellation reason
  • Travel insurance often allows you to buy optional extras to meet your specific needs. So check what is covered as standard (for example with Aviva, most watersports are covered) and whether you need to purchase additional cover (e.g. for scuba diving or winter sports)
  • Are you travelling on business? Even if this just forms part of your travel plans, you may need to purchase additional cover, so make sure the policy is suitable for your needs
  • Check whether your policy allows you to claim for delayed departure after check-in, or flight cancellations
  • Understand the criteria for a UK trip to be covered. With Aviva’s travel insurance you need to have pre-booked accommodation for two nights or more


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