The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

What can invalidate your travel insurance?

There’s nothing worse than having to make a claim on your travel insurance, except for when your claim is rejected. The good news is that there are generally only a handful of reasons why a claim might be unsuccessful. Here, we highlight what those reasons are so that you can avoid invalidating your travel insurance.

Not having the right cover

It sounds too obvious to be a valid reason but in the excitement of holiday planning, it can be surprisingly easy to end up with a policy that doesn’t cover your needs or even the country you’re visiting.

Broadly speaking, travel insurance is split into three regions:

  • Europe
  • Worldwide (excluding the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean)
  • The USA, Canada, and the Caribbean

However, don’t assume zones follow geography, for example, Egypt is often classed as Europe for the purpose of travel insurance. Depending on the insurer, regions could also be split into smaller groups so always double check which locations are covered.

Similarly, make sure the activities you intend to do are covered by your policy. Sports or activities considered risky, for instance, abseiling, bungee jumping, or paragliding aren’t automatically included and it’s likely you’ll need extreme sports insurance added to your travel policy. If you’re going skiing, most winter sports insurance will cover you but beware of exclusions (like off-piste skiing).

Not telling your insurer about a medical condition

If you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition (one you’ve had or are receiving treatment for) you must tell your insurer. This includes conditions that are generally under good control (like asthma or diabetes). If you don’t tell your insurer, it counts as ‘non-disclosure’ and can mean your claim is rejected.

Ignoring government travel advice

Travel insurance will rarely cover you if you choose to go somewhere that the government advised you not to.

For most of us going for our two weeks in the sun, this won’t be an issue, but you can keep up to date by looking up the country you’re visiting at GOV.UK, foreign travel advice.

It’s also worth thinking about travel vaccinations for serious diseases such as typhoid. In most cases you’ll need to pay to have these at your local surgery (costs will vary accordingly). If you don’t have the recommended jabs not only do you risk becoming very ill, you also risk invalidating your travel insurance. You can find out more about what you might need at NHS.UK, travel vaccinations.

Excess alcohol

Drinking too much(or taking recreational drugs) can invalidate your insurance. It’s not that your insurer wants to curb your fun, but excess alcohol can mean you end up behaving recklessly or injure yourself. For example, if you make a claim for a broken leg after a fall but it turns out you had several too many martinis beforehand, your insurer could argue alcohol was the root cause and reject your claim.


This essentially means your insurer can reject a claim if it appears you’ve not taken ‘reasonable’ care over your actions or of your belongings. This includes leaving your luggage or personal possessions unattended.

Some policies can be quite specific so always read the terms and conditions set out. For example, you might be expected to keep valuables in the hotel safe (rather than just in your room). Not following the conditions set out means there’s a good chance your claim will be rejected.

Not getting official reports and documents

If you have anything stolen, you should get a police report as soon as possible as this will be used as evidence by your insurer.

If your luggage has been lost by an airline, you should ask for a property irregularity report (PIR). This is an acknowledgment by the airline (or transport operator) that your baggage has been lost, delayed or damaged and will help your claim go ahead.

Throwing away receipts

If you intend to make a claim, always keep receipts for any necessities you buy. It doesn’t matter how big or small the claim is – whether it’s for food or if you’ve had to cover emergency accommodation costs. Unless you have a receipt, you won’t be able to claim your money back.

Leaving it too late to get to the airport

Most good travel insurance will cover delays that are beyond your control – for example, if your train to the airport was delayed or there was an accident on the motorway which meant you missed your flight. But you won’t be covered if you miss your flight because you overslept or left it too late to get to the airport on time.

As with any contract, read the terms and conditions carefully because what is and isn’t covered will always vary by insurer.

Compare travel insurance for a stress-free holiday

Travel insurance is a valuable safety net that can help you enjoy a stress-free and relaxing holiday. With that in mind, think carefully about the activities you’ll be doing and make sure you take any necessary precautions (like travel vaccines and leaving enough time to get to the airport).

Also remember that cheap policies aren’t always the bargains they first appear to be. Cheap cover might come with numerous exclusions and a whole host of conditions as well as high excesses. So, to make sure you get the best value for money, take a minute to compare what’s on offer.

Compare Cheap Travel Insurance

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

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