Making a claim on your travel insurance

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

Travel insurance can give you extra protection if your holiday doesn't go as planned. This is very important if you are travelling independently because you may find yourself stranded with no way to get home and no rep to help sort out your holiday problem.

Read this page to find out more about what you need to do if you have to make a claim on your travel insurance policy.

Top tips

  • Remember to take your travel insurance policy number and emergency contact telephone number with you when you travel

  • if a problem happens while you're away, keep receipts for everything you need to buy to support your claim

  • if possible, get your insurer to agree to medical treatment before it's carried out

  • always tell your insurer about an existing health problem before you take out insurance, or you may not be covered

  • report lost or stolen belongings to the local police within 24 hours of them going missing. If this isn't possible tell the person in charge where they went missing.

Making a claim while you're travelling

Make sure you take your insurance policy number and the emergency contact details away with you. This is so you know exactly who to speak to first if you have a problem and it can be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you're travelling abroad, check you've got the right phone number.

Making a claim when you get home

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy when you get home, check the following things before you send off your claim:

  • you're within the time limits for making a claim

  • you're covered for what you're claiming for

  • how much the excess is. The excess is the amount of money that your insurer will take off the claim. It may not be worth making a claim if the amount you're claiming for is less than this

  • the small print. Make sure there's nothing in the terms and conditions that prevents you from claiming

  • whether it's a new for old policy. If it isn't, the amount you get for items you're claiming for will be less than the cost of replacing them. This is because the insurer takes off money for wear and tear.

Contact your insurer as soon as possible and ask them to send you a claim form. They may be able to email this to you to speed things up. Complete the claim form carefully and keep a copy for yourself.

You'll need to include copies of all paperwork that will help your claim, including receipts or medical certificates. You should also keep copies of the originals in case your claim is queried or refused.

Your insurer may ask if you have other insurance that may cover the claim. You'll need to let them know if you have other insurance that may also offer cover, for example, home contents insurance.

Making a claim for lost, stolen or damaged items or luggage

You're expected to take reasonable care of your belongings while you're travelling. The insurer will want to see evidence that you did this.

If your belongings are lost or stolen, you should tell the local police within 24 hours of the items going missing. If this isn't possible, tell someone else such as your tour rep, hotel manager or transport provider and get a written report.

If you have to replace essential items, such as toiletries or emergency clothing, ask for receipts to send as evidence with your claim.

Making a claim for medical emergencies and personal injury

If you need medical treatment while you're away, try to contact your insurer straightaway and get them to agree to the treatment. You should do this before it's carried out, although this may not be possible in an emergency.

You may have to pay up-front for medical treatment and claim it back when you get home. Always make sure you get receipts for any treatment or medication you're given.

If you did not tell your travel insurer about an existing health problem before you took out the insurance, you may not be covered if you need treatment  for this while you're away.

You may not be able to claim for the cost of any medication that you usually need and may have to take while you're travelling.

If you're a UK resident and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can still use it to get healthcare in EU countries until it expires.

If you don't have an EHIC or it has expired, you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) on the NHS website. You can use a GHIC to get healthcare in EU countries at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

If you’re visiting Norway you can use your UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare there. Some countries have agreements with the UK to give free emergency treatment.

Travel insurance should cover you for pregnancy if you are in normal health. However, some airlines won't let you fly if your baby is due within a few weeks.

Making a claim if you have to cancel or shorten your trip

If you need to make a claim because you've cancelled or shortened your trip, your insurer will only accept your claim if you have a good reason for doing this. Reasons may include:

  • unexpected death, illness or injury of you, your partner or people travelling with you

  • a fire, burglary or unexpected damage happens to your home

  • you're made redundant

  • you're pregnant and are advised not travel after you took out the insurance

  • you're called for jury service or as a witness in court.

If you have to come home early, your insurer will usually only refund any extra travelling costs and the cost of any unused time in your holiday accommodation.

Next steps

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020