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 

From 17 May 2021, a travel traffic light system has been introduced and trips to green listed countries will be legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority, which can be found here.

If a country is on the green list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you're aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to most amber and red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more here

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.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that 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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