Exclusions and conditions vary between travel insurance policies but common ones include claims made as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, fighting (except in self-defence) and taking part in activities insurers deem ‘hazardous’ such as jet skiing, quad biking or diving.
Here are ten reasons to pay attention to the travel insurance small print, compiled by Gocompare. These exclusions mean that your insurance claim could fail.
Pre-existing medical conditions
Failure to disclose an existing medical condition (including mental, nervous or emotional disorders).
Preventable or avoidable medical treatment/conditions
Failure to take prescribed medication or travelling against medical advice. Claims resulting from a tropical disease where the recommended inoculations and/or recommended medication for the country visited have not been taken; self-inflicted injuries; treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
Claims arising as a result of ‘excessive alcohol consumption’
A common ‘catch-all’ - incidents occurring after you've consumed ‘an excessive amount’ of alcohol; claims arising from alcohol or drug abuse or solvent abuse.
Sports, adventurous activities
Standard policies typically exclude winter sports, jet skiing, bungee jumping, quad biking, rugby, paragliding, martial arts, cycling touring, diving (solo or beyond a certain depth), riding mopeds or motorcycles. Competitive and professional activities are excluded.
Where an activity is covered, you’ll be required to follow any safety precautions and conditions. If you’re planning an adventurous trip you may need a specialist policy.
Taking reasonable precautions
Another ‘catch-all’ - insurers expect you to take ‘all reasonable precautions to avoid injury, illness, disease, loss, theft or damage and take all reasonable steps to safeguard your property from loss or damage and to recover property lost or stolen’.
Reckless or illegal behaviour, including fighting and the unauthorised use of swimming pools
Claims arising from reckless behaviour or from taking unnecessary risks, e.g. ‘you sitting on any balcony railing; jumping from or climbing on or over any balcony railing, ledge or wall, regardless of its height, other than Artificial Wall Climbing listed in the Leisure Activities section’. Some insurers preclude ‘any claim arising from the unauthorised use of a swimming pool outside the specified times of opening.’
Visiting volatile destinations
Cover for travel to destinations against Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or World Health Organisation advice. Cover for war, civil commotion and terrorism.
Travel paid for using loyalty schemes or points
Some policies exclude ‘any claim for unused travel or accommodation arranged by using air miles, loyalty or points based ownership schemes, timeshares or similar promotions; management fees, maintenance costs or exchange fees associated with loyalty or points based ownership schemes, timeshares or similar promotions’
Visas and other documents
Failing to get the visa or other documentation you require to visit your chosen destination.
Work: paid, unpaid and voluntary
Undertaking paid or unpaid manual work or physical labour of any kind. If you’re planning to work abroad, including voluntary charity work or you are undertaking a business trip, then you will need to choose a policy which specifically covers these activities.
Caroline Lloyd from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance said, “When you buy travel insurance, take the time to read the small print, rather than waiting until you need to make a claim and finding out, too late, that you’re not covered.
“The policy wording will also contain details of the procedures and paperwork, such as police or medical reports, and helpline numbers which may be required to make a valid claim, so don’t forget to take a copy with you.”