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Problems with your travel insurance claim

This advice applies to Scotland

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 rely on to help sort out your holiday problem.

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

Top tips

  • before complaining to your insurer, check your policy to make sure you have a right to complain
  • you must first complain to your insurer using their internal complaints process
  • keep copies of all correspondence in case you need to take your complaint further
  • keep all receipts and send copies unless you're asked to provide the originals.

Can you make a claim?

If you have a problem with your travel insurance claim, it's important to check the small print in your policy to make sure that you are covered. An insurer may refuse to pay out some or all of your claim because:

  • you have an excess on your policy. The excess is the amount of the claim that the insurer won't pay at all.  It is typically between £50 and £100
  • you have an exclusion on your policy. Exclusions are things for which you're not covered and usually found in the small print
  • you've been overcharged for what you're claiming for. An insurer will only refund reasonable costs. If these are too high, you may have to pay for part of them yourself
  • you didn't take reasonable care. For example, if you left bags unattended or gave them to someone you didn't know and they go missing, the insurer may refuse to pay out
  • your cover does not replace new for old. Insurers may pay out less than you're claiming for, to allow for wear and tear of your belongings
  • you left valuables in checked-in luggage
  • you didn't tell the insurers about a pre-existing medical condition when you bought the insurance.

How to complain about your travel insurer

If you think that you're covered and your insurer is simply acting unfairly,  you can make a complaint.

Put your complaint in writing and tell the insurer how you want it resolved. If you're not happy with their response, you can make a formal complaint using the company's internal complaints procedure.

All insurers are covered by the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and have to deal with complaints in a certain way.

You should give the insurer up to 8 weeks to reply to your complaint. If they don't come back to you or you don't agree with their response, you can ask for a letter of deadlock. A letter of deadlock confirms that you and your insurer have been unable to reach an agreement.  You can then take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The service is free to use.

The Financial Ombudsman Service will look into your complaint and make a decision. The insurer will have to follow their decision, but you don't have to. If you don't agree and want to take your complaint further, you can take your insurer to court.

If you bought your travel insurance through a travel agent or tour operator

You can go to the Financial Ombudsman if your complaint is about your insurance policy. If your complaint is about the way the way you were sold the policy, this may be against the law. You should get help from the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline.

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