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Travel insurance with no excess

It can be annoying to have to pay an excess when you make a claim on your travel insurance. We look at travel insurance with no excess, and whether it’s an option you might consider.

It can be annoying to have to pay an excess when you make a claim on your travel insurance. We look at travel insurance with no excess, and whether it’s an option you might consider.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
14 MARCH 2023
3 min read
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What is travel insurance excess?

‘Excess’, when we’re talking about any sort of insurance policy, is the amount of money you must contribute before your travel insurance provider will pay towards your claim. For example, if you have a £100 excess and claim £1,000 on your curtailment or cancellation cover, your insurance provider will reimburse you £900. 

Travel insurance may have different excess amounts for different types of claims. For example, the excess for personal possessions might be £75, while the excess for personal liability might be £100. And policies may include an additional excess for claims for emergency medical expenses.

Can I get travel insurance with no excess?

Yes, you can. There are fewer policies available, but they do exist both for holidays abroad and in the UK. Travel insurance without excess is sometimes called travel insurance with excess waiver. You might have to pay an extra fee upfront for the excess to be removed.

What are the different types of travel insurance excess?

Travel insurance excess comes in two types: compulsory and voluntary. The compulsory excess is set by your insurance provider. The voluntary excess is decided by you, which means you can control the total amount in the event of a claim.

For example, if the compulsory excess is set at £100, but you also have a voluntary excess of £100, you’d pay £200 in total.

The amount of excess may also depend on the type of claim you’re making. Claiming for repatriation may have a higher excess than claiming for medical treatment.

What are the advantages of travel insurance with no excess?

Without an excess, you’ll receive 100% of the money you’re claiming (up to the policy limit). It’ll be more worthwhile to claim for a small amount. And it’s an extra level of reassurance that you won’t have to pay for anything out of your own pocket if, for example, your handbag is stolen or you end up in hospital on your trip. But be aware that there might be a compulsory excess on some types of claim, even in a no-excess policy.

What are the disadvantages of travel insurance with no excess?

  • They are more expensive: the lower the excess, typically the more expensive the cover because the insurance provider will have to pay out more. Although the difference in price may be quite small depending on what insurance you’re buying. Always compare travel insurance quotes before you choose.
  • There are fewer policies available: it’s important to have travel insurance that suits your needs. For example, if you’re travelling light, it could be a waste of money to pay for a policy with large amounts of baggage cover. If you only consider policies with no excess, you might find it harder to get the balance you want for other features.
  • They might not be completely excess-free: some policies that describe themselves as ‘no excess’ still charge a compulsory excess on specific types of claims. Make sure you read the policy wording carefully for full details.

Only you can decide what makes the right cover for you. Don’t just base your choice on excess – look at your policy’s Defaqto rating, the optional extras and additional cover available.

What do you need to think about with a travel insurance excess?

When you buy travel insurance, the excess is one area where it’s worth reading the small print. Make sure you check the policy documents before you buy.

Most importantly, check how the excess will be charged. It might be:

  • Per person: no matter how many claims an individual makes, they only pay the excess once
  • Per incident: if you claimed for having your handbag stolen and for a flight delay, you’d pay the excess on each claim
  • Per policy section: if your handbag was stolen with your phone and £200 in it, you’d claim under the cash section and the personal belongings section of your policy – and pay the excess twice

As you can imagine, this makes a huge difference to the amount your policy will pay out. For example, if you were travelling with a partner and you both had your luggage stolen and missed your flight, you could end up paying four separate excess amounts between you.

Remember too that group travel insurance policies usually charge excess per person, not just once for the whole group. So if you had to cancel a group trip, for example, you might find the excesses make a big dent in your pay-out.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

When is the excess paid?

If you make a successful claim, most providers will deduct the excess from your pay-out, but some holiday insurance companies will ask you to pay the excess before they make the payment.

Is travel insurance with an excess worth it?

While the cost of the policy excess needs to be weighed against the cost of the claim, in the case of medical emergencies the benefits of travel insurance (even with an excess) are clear. Medical costs abroad can be huge, so even with a £200 excess, travel insurance is very worthwhile for that peace of mind..

Should I get an annual multi-trip or single trip travel insurance policy?

It depends on the amount of travelling you’re planning on doing, and where you’re going. A single-trip policy could be cheaper if you’re only planning on going away once, whereas an annual multi-trip policy provides the same level of cover across unlimited holidays throughout the year. If you’re planning on travelling a lot, an annual policy could work out cheaper overall.

However, remember that travel insurance is split by region, with UK, Europe and worldwide cover differing in price. Keep this in mind when considering annual multi-trip cover. If you travel mostly through Europe, but go to the USA once a year, it may be cheaper to get an annual policy for Europe and insure the single trip to the USA separately, rather than paying for a worldwide annual policy, which may be more expensive.

Search for travel insurance cover with no excess

It’s easy to find travel insurance with no excess. Just compare travel insurance and select “no excess”. Once you’ve seen your options, you can change the filters and see what difference adding an excess will make to your quote.

Helen Phipps - insurance expert

Having worked in both sides of the industry, Helen’s a real insurance expert. She’s worked directly with several insurance providers and now Compare the Market. She’s always searching for the cheapest prices for customers and is passionate about saving people money. Being married with two kids, Helen knows all about the cost of living and the benefits of having the right products and insurance for the whole family.

Learn more about Helen

Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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