Travel insurance is a vital part of arranging a holiday, but policies aren’t all created equally. They can be riddled with exclusions that you might not be aware of until it’s too late.

These are the key exclusions to look out for when buying your travel insurance:

Pre-existing medical conditions

Many people forget to tell their insurer about their pre-existing medical conditions, sometimes because the condition they have been diagnosed with no longer affects them or has little impact on daily living.

But failing to declare a condition could void the policy or result in a claim being rejected. If in doubt, tell your insurer about all of your medical history and prescribed medications when purchasing travel insurance for pre-existing conditions.

Medical conditions under investigation

Insurers are unable to assess the risk of undiagnosed medical conditions, so they usually don’t offer cover until a confirmed diagnosis is given. This doesn’t mean you can’t get medical travel insurance, but an undiagnosed condition may be excluded. This can also apply to diagnosed conditions under investigation or pending surgery.

Travel companions

If you and your travel companions purchase separate travel insurance policies, you’re unlikely to be covered if one person needs to cancel, cut short or extend the trip as a result of their medical conditions. If you’re travelling together, it pays to be insured together.

Non-travelling relatives

If you have to cancel your trip because a close family relative back home suddenly falls ill or passes away, the travel insurance coverage can vary depending on whether the person had a medical condition that existed at the time you purchased insurance.

Adventure and sports activities

Insurers have different rules when it comes to covering adventure and sports activities. If you’re taking part in adventurous activities – like hiking, scuba diving, horse riding, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, windsurfing, water skiing, hot air ballooning or skiing – you’ll need to check the policy’s terms before purchasing.

Alcohol consumption

If an incident happens while you’re under the influence of alcohol, your claim may be declined and you could find yourself out of pocket. Be cautious while drinking on holidays.

Cruises

Some travel insurance policies have a clause that states the policy will be invalid if you fail to declare that you’re going on a cruise. Select the ‘Cruise Cover’ option when using our comparison tool and a policy will be tailored accordingly.

Travel delays

If your policy includes cover for travel delays, there will be a limit on the amount of time you have to be delayed before you can make a claim. With some policies this is 12 hours while for others it’s 24. Make sure to check this limit before you make the decision to cancel.

Valuables

If you’re taking expensive items – like a laptop computer, tablet device, camera or expensive jewellery – on holiday with you, check that you can claim for the amount these are worth.