Why Travel Insurance Claims Get Denied

Travel insurance claims denied

You’ve planned it all out. Your cousin, Ruby, is looking after your cat. The guy next-door is collecting your mail and watering your plants. And, your travel insurance will help out with any unforeseen circumstances you might experience during your vacation in sunny paradise. Right? Wrong. Your travel insurance policy may not cover as much as you believe.

Yes, a huge number of claims are denied each year and here are some of the most common reasons.

The Pre-existing ConditionTravel insurance claims denied

If you’ve changed your medication lately or your spouse has undergone tests for possible heart trouble, you may find yourself without coverage for related health problems. For most companies, a pre-existing condition is an injury, illness, or other medical condition that you have sought medical treatment for in the previous 60 to 180 days.

Some companies now offer a “pre-existing condition waiver” that provides coverage in some cases for a significantly higher premium. And bear in mind that pregnancy is usually considered a “pre-existing condition.”

Paperwork Errors and Omissions

Obviously, if someone has intentionally lied on their insurance application or medical questionnaire, the provider is perfectly within their rights to deny a claim. The fact is, however, that they can also reject your claim if you have made an honest mistake or omission. While they may not call this an actual “rejection,” you may find your policy voided. If you misinterpret a health question and respond incorrectly, fail to mention a past condition, or even forget to write down your birth date, you could find yourself out of luck.

Also, ensure that you provide timely and complete documentation–no matter how ludicrous the company’s demands may sound–when filing a claim.


Travel insurance does not cover every eventuality that can cause you to cancel your trip, cut it short, or seek medical care. Every insurance company has a list of exclusions that typically include things like changing your mind, bad weather, injuries due to extreme sporting activities, intentional self-harming, war, impairment due to alcohol or drugs, or participating in illegal activities.

No Pre-approval

When you purchase your travel insurance, you are provided with an emergency number for a very good reason. If you need to undergo an emergency medical treatment, you must call your provider or have someone else call on your behalf. This way, your provider can refer you to one of their pre-approved medical facilities. If you fail to do so, you may find that your claim will be denied.

Insurance Purchased After Departure

The vast majority of travel insurance providers require you to purchase your coverage before you depart for your destination. Trying to buy coverage while you’re already on vacation will likely be a futile effort.

You Made an Assumption

It is important to note that many insurers are tightening up their policies. Many people have found themselves in a pickle after assuming that the coverage they purchased last year will be the same this year. Be sure to read your new policy carefully because things may have changed.

While it is good that you have taken steps to ensure that your pet and your home are in good hands while you are away, it is important that you place yourself in trustworthy hands as well. Be extra vigilant when choosing a travel insurance provider and read that policy from start to finish. And when in doubt, ask a pro.

Have you ever had to file a claim with a travel insurance provider? What was the outcome?

Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She has written a number of articles on topics such as luxury barging, five-star ski destinations, fly-fishing resorts,
and gap insurance.


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