The most common type of travel insurance claim is medical, be it related to a pre-registered health condition or an illness or accident that occurs while on holiday.
After that, the top five reasons to claim are made up of: cancellation, baggage damage or loss, travel delays and missed departure appears (it’s not clear whether this related to a last minute issue that causes people to forgo their holiday or they simply get lost on the way to airport).
For those that do end up making a claim the disappointment of a ruined holiday can be further compounded by refusal by their travel insurer to pay up.
You may think you’re covered, but many holidaymakers get caught out. Here are 10 of the most common ways to void your travel insurance.
1. Don’t declare medical conditions
Got a dodgy ticker? Broken leg? Keep it to yourself. For some reason, insurance companies think you’re a liability if you’ve got pre-existing medical conditions, especially if your holiday involves air travel, or rollercoasters.
2. Buy the cheapest insurance possible
Make your purchasing decision entirely based on price. Buy a policy that doesn’t cover you for anything – you’ll save up to £80 per person per trip. Passport replacement, cancellation, baggage loss, missed flights cover – all these cost extra and you never need them.
3. Don’t report a theft to the police
Hopefully it won’t ever happen, but if you get mugged, make sure you don’t tell the coppers. Keep it to yourself. No-one likes a grass.
4. Don’t get evidence of ownership
Don’t bother proving that the £3000 camera that got nicked is yours. It was your fault for taking it on holiday anyway, but we’ll let that pass. Just as it’s a waste of money paying for an extended warranty – you’ll never drop it, will you – making sure you’ve got evidence of ownership is just a waste of time and effort.
5. Go sky diving
It is possible to take out insurance policies that cover sporting activities of the most extreme nature, but you will need to state beforehand to get it added to your insurance, or maybe get a separate policy for the activity. So don’t. Try out activities that you’re not covered for, such as sky diving, base jumping and shark fighting.
6. Get drunk
The abuse of alcohol and drugs is generally frowned upon by insurance companies. Unsurprisingly, they won’t pay out for anything that happens while under the influence of 11 pints of lager or anything else, even if it’s legal. So if you fall into a canal in Amsterdam and lose your Rolex, you’ll have to prove that you were sober as a judge at the time.
7. Start a fight
Of course, circumstances beyond your control may dictate that you become embroiled in a 50-person brawl in a saloon bar in Tijuana but, just as in a court of law, you’ll have to claim self-defence. So drink 11 pints of lager, get lairy at innocent bystanders, and throw the first punch.
8. Head into the danger zone
If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel, standard holiday insurance policies won’t cover you. So check the latest advice and get on the first plane where there are, for example, ‘violent clashes’ / ‘incidents involving grenades’ / ‘repairs to the runway surface’.
9. Play golf in the USA
Public liability insurance is essential for visiting the US – if you injure a fellow golfer with a stray tee shot, you could have no win, no fee lawyer on your case. So slice it for miles, or just whack someone round the head with a 3-wood.