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Does travel insurance cover illness or death in the family?

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If a family member is ill or sadly dies, you may want to cancel your travel plans or cut your trip short.

Claiming back costs for cancellations, or needing to return home at short notice may be the last thing on your mind. But if the worst were to happen. It's useful to know that most travel insurance policies include cancellation cover.

Funeral flowers

If a close relative dies unexpectedly, you may be able to reclaim all or some of the costs if you need to cancel your travel plans. It's worth double-checking the details of what’s covered in your travel insurance policy. Most policies include cancellation cover as standard and will usually reimburse you up to a certain amount.

What if I cancel my trip because of a family illness?

Cancellation cover can also be useful if you cancel plans due to an unexpected illness. If your policy doesn't cover cancellations, the insurer does not have to refund any lost money. So always double check your policy documents to see what's covered.

Cancellation cover is for unforeseen illnesses. If you cancel due to a non-serious illness or pre-existing medical condition, then you may not be covered.

Most insurers cover unexpected illnesses and the death of close family members. What's covered varies among insurers. So, double-check your policy and who they count as close family.

Who is considered a close family member?

Who insurers define as close or immediate family members may vary. Some policies may only include your partner or children. You'll need to check, but generally close family members may include:

  • Wife or husband
  • Mum, dad, sister, or brother
  • Your children, including fostered, adopted, and stepchildren
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • Parents-in-law
  • Sons or daughters-in-law
  • Brothers or sisters-in-law

What if a death was caused by a known pre-existing medical condition?

Some insurers won't provide cover for people who have serious pre-existing medical conditions.

It's essential that you declare any pre-existing medical conditions. You'll be asked about any medical conditions when you buy travel insurance. If you're healthy enough for your trip, you may be able to purchase travel insurance. The insurer might accept you but charge more because of your higher claim risk.

If a death was caused by a known medical condition, it's likely you wouldn't receive a payout.

If you or a family member sadly dies while you're on holiday, your policy is likely cover it. It's important to read and understand what the policy includes. If you've bought the travel insurance, share the documents with your family. They might need them to make a claim.

In insurance terms, repatriation means returning someone to their home country. Repatriation is usually included as part of standard travel insurance policies. If someone dies while on holiday, repatriation protects you from the high cost of bringing them home while abroad. This can be helpful during such difficult times.

If the worst happens and you or a family member die on holiday, you should contact the British Embassy or Consulate for advice.

Yes, most travel insurance policies include something called curtailment cover. Curtailment usually covers the money you may lose if you’re forced to cut your holiday short. If you go on holiday and need to return home unexpectedly, you may lose money. For example, you might lose it on things like your accommodation and pre-booked trips. Or you may have to pay more for a last minute flight home.

Cancellation cover kicks in when you can't go on holiday before the departure date. Curtailment covers you when you've already traveled. But, you need to cut your trip short.

What's covered may vary from policy to policy, so you need to check exactly what’s included.

In most cases, you'd only be covered to cancel or cut a trip short for a funeral if the death of a close family member was unexpected. But, if a close relative died because of a known illness or condition, then it's likely you won't be covered.

It depends on the insurer and the circumstances.

If a family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness linked to a pre-existing condition, it's likely you won't be covered. What a policy covers may vary among insurers, so it's worth checking the policy documents.

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