Does travel insurance cover a death in the family?

Find out what’s typically covered by travel insurance if you need to cancel or cut short a trip because of a bereavement.

Find out what’s typically covered by travel insurance if you need to cancel or cut short a trip because of a bereavement.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
3
minute read
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Posted 29 JANUARY 2020

Travel insurance and bereavement

Most travel insurance policies include cancellation cover as standard. This is designed to reimburse the cost of your holiday if you have to cancel because of circumstances beyond your control, such as illness or injury, being called to jury service, or bereavement.

If you need to cancel your trip after the death of someone close to you, look for what’s covered by your travel policy (details of cancellation cover will be in a section called ‘Key Features’). The death, or serious illness, of a ‘close relative’ might count as a valid reason for cancellation. If it does, make a claim for the money you’ve spent.

It’s important to take out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip so that you’re covered immediately against unexpected events. Always make sure your cancellation cover is high enough to meet the full cost of your trip (including any flights, accommodation and tours you’ve pre-booked).

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Following the UK’s most recent national restrictions, you can only travel internationally or within the UK if you're legally permitted to do so while the UK is under full lockdown restrictions.

Non-essential travel is not currently permitted within the UK before 12 April 2021 at the earliest and international travel is not currently permitted before 17 May 2021 at the earliest. Any insurance for travel before these dates is likely to be invalid. This means that, unfortunately, we’re unable to provide any new single trip price comparisons for UK policies with a start date prior to 12 April 2021 and any single trip comparisons for international policies with a start date prior to 17 May 2021
 
You’re still able to purchase annual multi-trip policies, however, if you choose to travel against FCDO advice and current restrictions, you won’t be covered for your trip.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. See latest FCDO advice for further information.

Any insurance policy purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the local authority, or the FCDO, has instructed citizens not to travel, will not be valid.

For more information, please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.

Until then, stay safe.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

On its Money Advice Service website, The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

When might a death in the family not be covered by insurance?

The cover provided for bereavement wouldn’t pay out if your relative died from a condition which they were already suffering from at the time you bought the policy – unless you had paid a higher premium to include it.

When you buy travel insurance, you’ll be asked whether you or anyone else who is travelling has pre-existing medical conditions. But you won’t be asked about your wider family’s health – instead, the policy will automatically exclude deaths that arise from pre-existing medical conditions for non-travellers.

By being charged a higher overall premium, you remove the pre-existing medical condition clause that comes with a regular travel policy. Some of the most common types of pre-existing conditions include heart problems, diabetes, asthma and chronic illnesses such as cancer.

The cover provided by travel insurance varies from policy to policy, including the definition of what constitutes a ‘close’ relation. Some policies will include brothers- or sisters-in-law, while others won’t. Friends or pets won’t be covered. Also, the bereavement usually must not have been the result of suicide.

What if a bereavement happens while I’m on my holiday?

If a member of your family, who is with you on your trip, dies then repatriation cover may be able to support you. Read our guide or more information on repatriation. If a relative back home dies while you’re away, and you need to cut short your trip, whether you can claim on your policy depends on whether the exclusions listed above apply.

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