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Adam Jolley

13 ways to void your travel insurance


From getting drunk and starting a fight to turning up late to the airport, we look at 13 ways to ensure your travel policy is worth less than the paper it’s printed on.

A travel insurance policy with a globe

When heading abroad travel insurance is vital to protect you against unforeseen circumstances that might leave you out of pocket such as lost luggage, delayed flights or hospital bills.

This makes it especially important that, having paid out for cover, you don’t do anything that will make it void in the event of a claim.

1. Don’t declare medical conditions

Any condition that you’re taking medication for or have had to see a doctor about in the last two years needs to be declared.

High blood pressure is something that people often don’t think to declare – particularly if they’re on medication to keep it under control.

If you have a condition that develops after you’ve bought your travel insurance, you need to get back in touch with your insurer with an update.

2. Get drunk

Three men sat around a table drinking beer
"Most insurers are reasonable about this one," says Mhairi Edwards, head of travel insurance at

"They’re not saying you have to be teetotal during your holiday.

"But if it’s clear that you’ve got completely hammered and this had an influence on the incident you’re claiming for they may refuse to pay out."

3. Ignore FCO or WHO advice

If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or World Health Organisation has issued a warning advising against all but essential travel to the destination you’re going to and you decide to travel anyway then this could invalidate your cover.

4. Don’t take care of your belongings

If you have something stolen after leaving it unattended in a public place or in unlocked accommodation then you’re unlikely to get a pay-out.

5. Turn up late to the airport

Missed departure cover is there for events you couldn’t reasonably have prevented – your airport transfer breaking down or train delays, for example.

It won’t pay out if you simply haven’t left yourself enough time to get to the airport.

6. Not reporting incidents to the police

Most policies will require you to report a theft to the police within 24 hours of it occurring and produce a written police report as part of your claim.

7. Don’t speak to your provider before you get medical treatment

The back of an Italian ambulance at night
If you’re rushed to hospital as the result of a medical emergency your insurance company won’t expect you to take the time to call them first.

"However," says Edwards, "you, or someone you’re travelling with, should call as soon as possible to make them aware of the situation and find out what they expect you to do.

"If it’s a non-emergency trip to a GP or A&E then you should call your provider’s medical assistance helpline and they’ll guide you to the most appropriate source of treatment."

8. Throw away your receipts

This is especially important if you’re taking away expensive items such as a camera.

If you make a claim you’ll be required to produce proof that you owned any lost or damaged items.

9. Go skiing & fail to mention this to your insurer

If you intend to take part in winter sports on holiday you’ll need to take out winter sports insurance to cover this.

If you plan on enjoying any extreme sports while you’re away then make sure these are specifically mentioned in the "sports and activities" section of the policy you choose.

10. Start a fight

If you get injured as a result of you starting or getting involved in a fight for any other reason than self-defence your provider won’t pay out.

11. Fail to get the correct vaccinations before you go

If you don’t get the recommended vaccinations before you go on holiday then, if you get ill as a result, your insurer may argue it’s your own fault.

12. Get an annual policy to cover your three-month adventure

Most annual policies have a single trip limit of around one month.

"If you’re planning on being away for longer than this you might want to consider taking out backpacker insurance which can cover you for anywhere between one and 18 months," Edwards adds.

13. Don’t check in for your flight

Even if you know your flight has been delayed you’ll still need to check in to prove that you’d made the effort to get there on time.

Your insurer will most likely ask for written confirmation from the airline of what time you checked in.


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