How do I make a travel insurance claim?

Find out how to claim on your travel insurance and what to look out for to avoid your claim being rejected.

amy smith
Amy Smith
Updated 27 April 2021  | 3 min read

Key points

  • You’ll usually be able to claim on travel insurance for medical treatment abroad, as well as lost or stolen baggage and compensation for cancelling or cutting short your trip
  • Make sure you have your policy number, incident details and any relevant documents and evidence to hand when you claim
  • Travel insurance usually has maximum cover limits and there’s usually an excess that you’ll have to pay towards any claim

How do I make a travel insurance claim?

How you start your travel insurance claim will depend on what you’re claiming for.

Medical claims

If you need to make a claim for medical treatment, contact your travel insurer before you actually receive any treatment if you can – but in an emergency an insurer will understand that isn’t possible.

If you can’t contact the insurer yourself, someone that’s travelling with you might be able to contact your insurer on your behalf.

If your trip is within the UK, you’ll be treated for free by the NHS, so you won’t need to claim on your travel insurance for medical treatment.

Loss or theft of belongings claim

If your belongings have been lost or stolen, you’ll need to report it to the police within 24 hours and get a written police report.

If that’s not possible, tell someone in authority in the place where the loss or theft happened – for example your tour rep, transport provider or hotel manager – and get a written report from them instead.

Cancellation and curtailment claims

If you need to cancel or cut short your trip, get in touch with your insurer as soon as you can. You’ll only be able to make a claim for cancelling in certain circumstances that are listed on your policy, like a bereavement, jury service or a fire at your home.

If your travel provider or tour operator is the one that cancelled, you’ll need to get in touch with them for a refund instead.

What documents do I need to make a travel insurance claim?

If you need to give your travel insurer:

  1. Your policy number

  2. Details of the incident, such as the time, date and location

  3. Evidence to support your claim, like receipts for medical treatment or a police report for stolen items

Do I need to do anything before I leave for my holiday?

You need to declare any pre-existing health problems when you take out travel insurance, but if your health changes you should update your insurer as soon as possible before your trip.

Make copies of your travel insurance documents, passport, visa and holiday details (like the flight times and hotel name). It’s also handy to have an emergency contact – make sure you know their contact details and that they have your travel insurance policy number and holiday information.

If you’re taking any valuables with you, take photos of them and make sure you have a copy just in case you need to show proof of ownership or the state of wear.

Is there a limit on how much I can claim for?

Yes, there’s usually a maximum limit for each type of claim.

Out of 952 annual travel insurance policies on Defaqto, 98% cover baggage as standard, but the cover levels varied.

The majority (60%) of policies have a baggage cover limit over £2,000, but almost 17% of policies have a cover limit of less than £1,500. "[1]

Medical expenses cover can seem very generous on paper – 98% of policies would cover £3m or more in medical expenses. But this figure has to include repatriation costs, which can be extremely high if you need to be flown home under medical supervision.

What events can I claim for?

Most travel insurance policies let you to claim for:

  • Medical emergencies and personal injury (unless you’re holidaying in the UK)
  • Lost or stolen baggage

You'll also be able to make a claim if you need to cancel or shorten your trip because of:

  • An unexpected death, illness or injury
  • A fire, burglary or damage to your home
  • Your destination becoming unsafe
  • Redundancy
  • Becoming pregnant and being advised not to travel after buying insurance
  • Being called for jury service or as a witness in court

Why has my travel insurance claim been rejected?

Your insurer might reject your claim if you:

  • Don’t report a theft or accident before the deadline set out in your policy
  • Travelled to a destination that isn't covered by your insurer
  • Don’t have the right cover – for example, your claim involves winter sports but your policy doesn’t cover this
  • Were under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Don’t have enough evidence or the right documents
  • Lied on your policy – for example, by not disclosing a pre-existing medical condition
  • Don’t pay the excess

If you think your claim was rejected unfairly, you can make a complaint in writing to the insurer and state how you would like it resolved.

If you aren’t happy with your insurer’s response or you haven’t received one after eight weeks, you can ask for a ‘letter of deadlock’, which states that you and your insurer haven’t been able to reach an agreement. You can then take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Can I claim on my travel insurance for Covid related issues?

This depends as Covid cover varies between providers.

Most insurers will cover your medical treatment if you catch Covid abroad, but it’s far less likely you’ll be covered for additional accommodation and repatriation costs if you’re not ill but have to quarantine abroad.

How do I make a claim if I have more than one insurance policy?

Doubling up on cover can complicate the claims process.

It’s not a good idea to double-insure, but it’s easy to do it by mistake. For example, you might have travel insurance cover through your bank, and a more extensive policy that you bought yourself.

You won’t be compensated twice, so it’s best to only contact one provider to make the claim but you must make that insurer aware that you have another policy. Your first insurer will get in touch with the second provider on your behalf to decide how to resolve the claim.

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[1]Last checked 18 August 2022