Main reasons travel insurance claims get denied

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Travel insurance is a vital tool that protects you from a wide range of unfortunate incidents that can occur during your travels. Although the vast majority of travel insurance claims will be accepted, there is a small percentage which will be denied.

Thankfully travel insurance claim denials can easily be avoided by making yourself fully aware of the terms of your policy. Many reasons that can deny a travel insurance claim can simply be avoided by being a responsible traveller, while others may involve you doing a bit of research and speaking with your insurer to choose the right policy for your travels.

Let’s explore the most common reasons your travel insurance claim may get denied.

Alcohol or drug consumption

friends sharing a drink on holiday
Alcohol may make your claim unsuccessful

If it’s found that you were under the influence of alcohol or a drug during a travel event you are trying to make a claim for, your travel insurance claim will most often be denied. Being intoxicated or impaired by a drug may mean your claim could have been avoided if you hadn’t been under the influence.

Although you may decide to have a drink during your travels, be sure to drink responsibly, make wise decisions, and realise that it could impact any claims that arise if you were deemed to be impaired.

Only drugs prescribed by your doctor should be taken during your travels as these will generally not impact any insurance claims so long as your insurer was aware of the condition you were taking medication for.

Pre-existing medical conditions

Failure to disclose to your insurance company any pre-existing medical conditions which you have received treatment for could result in any claim arising from such condition to be denied. Examples of pre-existing conditions include things like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and allergies.

It is wise to disclose everything even if you believe it may be insignificant. Your insurer will be more than happy to at least consider any pre-existing condition and you may only need to pay a slightly higher premium or it may be covered free of charge.

Be sure to disclose any recent surgeries, planned operations, or medications you are taking that could impact your policy. You may be required to undergo a medical examination to discover any conditions you may not be aware of.

Adventurous sports or activities

Engaging is sports or extreme activities during your travels could impact your policy. Many policies may include conventional sports and activities like snorkelling, mountain biking, and jet skiing. You will find that high-risk activities such as skydiving, shark diving, and hang-gliding will generally not be covered by your policy.

Winter sports such as skiing can many times be included but may involve purchasing an additional supplement to your policy. Professional sports and competitions are also usually not covered during your travels.

Reckless behaviour

Making a travel insurance claim for an event where you were deemed to be reckless could result in a denial. This can include things like failure to have a valid license or not wearing a helmet when riding a motorbike. It can also include trespassing or entering areas known to be dangerous.

Any activity which you don’t guard against injury and illness or take unnecessary risks can result in an unsuccessful claim. This means no swimming after hours or balancing on balconies.

Illegal activity

Engaging in any illegal activity, whether the intent was malicious or not, could impact your claim. Common illegal behaviour includes fighting, association with drugs, or vandalism. Countries, of course, have different laws to be aware of which may be vastly different to your home country, so it pays to research what may be deemed illegal wherever you are travelling.

Failure to obtain the correct visas for the countries you are travelling to can also fit into this category as an illegal employment. Generally, if you are planning to work overseas, you should discuss this with your insurer as you may need to select a policy which covers this type of travel.

Unattended belongings

Your luggage and personal property will generally be covered under your policy so long as you are responsible for it. This means retaining or securing your belongings at all times. You should also disclose any high-value items to your insurers such as cameras and laptops to make sure they are included.

It is wise to have receipts or documentation that proves you possessed the items. This will make handling your claim for lost or damaged belongings much quicker and easier.

Failure to report incidents or meet deadlines 

For an event to be claimed such as lost bags or theft, you must report the incident to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner, most times within 24 hours. Be sure to keep any written statements or reports to show as proof of the incident.

Reporting incidents in a timely manner and keeping documentation are just some of the easy ways to make sure you are eligible for a travel insurance claim.

You must also make any claims to your insurer within a set amount of time. This window could be as short as 30 days. Have documentation ready and lodge your claim as soon as possible in case more documentation or information is needed.

Lack of documentation

a stamp for your visa
Make sure your paperwork is in order

Failure to have enough supporting evidence that an event occurred could mean your claim gets denied. Keep all police reports or written airline statements as well as any receipts showing costs incurred from travel delays or lost baggage.

Document everything you are taking on your travels and keep all receipts for lodging and activities.

Government warnings or actions

Travelling to any volatile destinations or countries where travel is not advised, may not be covered under your policy. It is wise to keep yourself up to date with the latest travel warnings with websites like Smartraveller.

Travelling to a destination where an act of war, rebellion, or military coup takes place will generally void any claims arising from such events. You will also not be covered for any property of yours which is seized, withheld, or destroyed by a government authority.

Failure to get the recommended vaccinations for the regions you are travelling to could also result in a claim being denied.

 This article is provided by InsureandGo Australia

6 thoughts on “Main reasons travel insurance claims get denied”

  1. I like my travel insurance very much. As I travel longterm I prefer 1 year insurance so that I don’t need to renew it every time. But I agee with you tips very much. I had some problems at some point and your advice would have been great. Thanks for sharing. From now I will now.

  2. This was helpful information. I’ve gotten travel insurance but I’ve never needed to file a claim. I was never planning on committing a crime abroad (or at home!) but it’s good to know some places/activities aren’t covered. And I might be naive, but I didn’t know sharkdiving was a thing!

  3. Thank you for these tips. I didn’t know about the alcohol consumption. I usually travel without travel insurance because I am a budget traveler. You just hope nothing bad happens, eh? But, I think it’s really good to consider.

  4. Such a great article. I’ve never had to file a claim, but it’s good to keep in mind all of these points. Reading the fine lines is a big one especially for those pre-existing conditions.

  5. I just pinned this post as I’ve found it really useful. Some of these tips seem quite practical to me, but I know that a lot of small details can go over your head during the excitement of planning a trip. I’ve learned myself from traveling that proper documentation of everything is important – insurance claim or not!

  6. Great article. I injured my knee on the flight home from Paris last year. As I didn’t get a MRI etc while on the flight I was denied my claim. I even went to the Ombudsman but the rules are if you get treatment here in Australia they don’t cover you.


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