Lifestyle Guides

10 ways to invalidate your travel insurance

Make sure you’re aware of the common things people do – often accidentally – that invalidate their travel insurance. Read on to learn more, then avoid doing these things yourself!


When you buy travel insurance, you want to be covered for the trip you’re taking. That might sound obvious – after all, it’s what you bought it for.

But there are some common things people do that invalidate their insurance policy, leaving them unable to claim when they really need to. 

We’ve listed some of the most common ones below. Remember this list isn’t complete, though, so check your policy booklet for all the terms and conditions of your insurance.

1. Not starting the policy at the right time

If you’re booking single trip insurance, make sure you do it as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. If you don’t, and need to cancel your holiday, you won’t be covered.

The same goes for buying your travel insurance after your trip has started. There’s a list of assumptions you agree to when buying travel insurance, and one of these is that you haven’t already started your trip.  

2. Not declaring all medical conditions

To be covered, you need to tell your insurer if you or anyone on your policy has a pre-existing medical condition. This includes medical conditions you’ve had within the last two years.

Make sure we know if you’re:

  • Having advice, treatment or prescriptions from a doctor
  • Waiting for a diagnosis or your health is being investigated
  • On a waiting list for inpatient treatment or know you need inpatient treatment

You must also let us know if you’re diagnosed with any other condition or your health changes in any other way after buying your insurance.

3. Leaving your property unattended

Not looking after your belongings properly is one of the most common ways of invalidating your travel insurance.

If you leave anything valuable in your hotel, it must be locked away out of sight in a safe or deposit box. If your luggage is left in a storage room or similar in the hotel, for example after you’ve checked out or before you’ve checked in, you won’t be able to claim for anything that’s stolen.  

Make sure you keep all valuables on you when you’re at the airport or on a plane. Don’t leave anything valuable in your checked luggage or in a car or other vehicle, even if you think it’s out of sight.

4. Not filing a police report after a theft

It’s important you file a police report or make a report to your transport operator within 24 hours of discovering any of your belongings have been stolen.

If your things were lost or stolen when in the care of your transport operator, you’ll need to get a Property Irregularity Report from them.   

5. Not keeping receipts for emergency purchases

Keep receipts for anything you buy in an emergency that you’re hoping to claim back on insurance. The same goes when you buy or hire essentials to replace items that were lost or stolen.

For example, if you need emergency medical treatment, you must provide receipts for all travel and accommodation for you and anyone staying with you during your illness.

6. Taking part in sports or activities you’re not covered for

Never assume an adventurous activity or sport is covered as standard. Some activities can be included as an upgrade (such as winter sports), but others just aren’t covered at all.

Activities you might be tempted to try on holiday but aren’t covered include:

  • Bungee jumping
  • Camel riding/trekking
  • Elephant riding/trekking
  • Go-karting
  • Jet skiing

Check your policy book or contact us for the full list of activities you are and aren’t covered for.

7. Not having the correct travel documents

It’s important you have all the correct documents when you travel, including a visa where appropriate. If you’re unsure if you need a visa or not, look at the advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

You also need to make sure your passport is valid before you travel. Most countries require you to have at least six months left on your passport when you travel, so if your passport expires within six months you should renew it.

8. Not having the necessary vaccinations

Your travel insurance will only cover you if you’ve done all you can to protect your health before you go away. This means you should get all the recommended vaccinations before your trip.

To check which inoculations you need and when you should have them before you travel, take a look at the advice from the NHS

9. Dangerous or illegal behaviour

For many people, a holiday is a chance to relax and have some fun – but it’s important not to get carried away with this. Putting yourself in unnecessary danger (by trying to climb from one hotel balcony to another, for example), drinking too much alcohol and taking illegal drugs are all ways to invalidate your travel insurance.

If you’ve injured or made yourself ill while drunk and end up in hospital, you may be left out of pocket if you can’t claim on your travel insurance. 

10. Working without correct cover

If you’re planning to do any manual work during your trip, your Admiral Travel Insurance won’t cover you. This includes any activity, including sport, with any kind of financial reward.

The same applies to manual work, both paid and unpaid. Manual work covers anything physical, but if you’re unsure whether your plans will be covered, please get in touch.

Bear these points in mind when you next buy travel insurance to make sure you don’t accidentally invalidate your policy, and remember to check your policy booklet for the full list of travel insurance terms and conditions.