If you've purchased travel insurance, the last thing you would want is for your claim to be denied because you didn't understand your policy. In this article, you'll learn some of the most common reasons for denied claims (and how to avoid them).

Routine and Preventative Healthcare

Most travel health insurance plans are designed to cover emergencies like broken bones or sudden illnesses. Unlike traditional insurance plans, routine healthcare—like a standard checkup—is excluded. If you're considering visiting a doctor for a regular visit, schedule your appointment before or after your vacation.

Expert tip: If you have a pre-existing medical condition, prior doctor visits, or procedures, make sure you list these when you apply for travel insurance so that coverage is not denied if you need to file a claim.

Cancelling Your Trip Other than for a Covered Reason

Travel insurance policies typically have a list of reimbursable reasons for cancelling your trip, such as death or severe illness. If you end up cancelling for another reason, such as a sudden job interview, your travel insurance may not cover your cancellation costs. If you want maximum flexibility, consider purchasing "cancel for any reason" insurance.

Claims Outside Listed Dates and Locations

When buying your travel insurance policy, you will need to fill in the dates and countries you're planning to visit. If you're injured before or after the dates listed on your policy, your travel insurance company will likely deny your claim. The same is true if you are travelling within a country you failed to mention in your application. When signing up for travel insurance, be sure to carefully and accurately provide all requested travel information.

Injuries Occurring While Intoxicated

Having a few drinks can be a fun way to kick off your vacation, but make sure to behave yourself. Many travel insurance policies have an "alcohol exception," where they can deny claims for injuries that took place while the insured was intoxicated. So, if you have a few drinks and then slip while running around the pool, you might have to pay the hospital bill yourself.

Late or Improper Filings

Travel insurance plans typically have specific claims requirements. You'll need to provide all the necessary paperwork within the time period listed on your policy. If you wait too long to file or don't have documents to back up your claim, the travel insurance company may decide to deny coverage. If you have lost baggage, significantly delayed flights, or an unexpected trip to the emergency room, be sure to collect documents as evidence. You don't want the insurance company to deny your claim just because you forgot the paperwork.

High Risk Activities

If you're planning to go mountain climbing, bungee jumping, or deep-sea diving, any resulting injuries might be excluded from your travel insurance policy. Most travel plans specifically carve out high risk activities from their coverage. If you're planning on taking part in extreme sports, try to be as safe as possible. Or, consider buying additional high-risk coverage. You'll have to pay a bit more, but you'll have peace of mind.

Travel insurance plans have a wide range of different options for coverage, exclusions, and rates. Before you take off, be sure you understand what is covered or not under your policy so that you can have a worry-free vacation.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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