Travel insurance with no excess

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 8 APRIL 2022

What is travel insurance excess?

‘Excess’, when we’re talking about any sort of insurance policy, means the amount of money you must contribute before your insurance provider will pay towards your claim. For example, if you have a £100 excess and claim £500 for your lost baggage, your insurance provider will reimburse you £400.

Compulsory excess amounts are set by the insurance provider. Depending on the travel insurance policy, you may also have the option to set a voluntary excess on top of this. The advantage of doing this is that it can make your premium cheaper.  

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 medical claims.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.

MoneyHelper 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 MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

So, 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 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 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 do you need to think about if you do go for an 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’s less choice of policies: 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.

Only you can weigh up the pros and cons and decide what excess is right for your particular situation. Don’t just base your choice on excess – look at your policy’s Defaqto rating and its other features.

What do you need to think about if you do go for an excess?

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

When is the excess paid?

If you make a successful claim, most providers will deduct the excess from your pay-out, but some 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 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 can be huge – breaking a leg in Spain, including treatment and flight home could set you back £15,000, while you could find yourself tens or hundreds of thousands out of pocket in extreme situations. So even with a £200 excess, travel insurance is very worthwhile.

Search for travel insurance 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.

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