Nutty

What is travel insurance excess?

Fact checked icon
Fact checked.
Updated
March 13, 2024

In a nutshell

Travel insurance excess is how much you’ll pay out yourself, if you ever make a successful claim on your travel insurance (e.g. if you’ve lost your luggage and get compensation). You can normally change the excess amount, which will either increase or decrease the price of the insurance.

Confused.com logo

Find the best insurance deal in no time.

Visit Confused.com¹

Jetting off on a nice relaxing holiday? Or maybe a bit of adventure! Whatever the reason for your trip, travel insurance is always a good idea – you’ll be financially protected if you have any accidents and injuries, and peace of mind if you lose your luggage or belongings. Plus, legal cover if you have any accidents involving other people (called personal liability cover).

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance can be complicated, and what’s this excess thing all about? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about travel insurance excess, and how it affects the cost of your travel insurance.

Travel insurance excess

Put simply, travel insurance excess is how much you’ll pay yourself if you ever want to make a claim (on the insurance), and are successful – so get compensation or bills paid on your behalf (e.g. medical treatment costs).

What is travel insurance excess?

So, if you have an accident and end up in hospital with a broken leg, or have your luggage stolen, in order for the insurance company to pay you compensation (or pay directly for medical costs), you’ll also have to pay a bit of cash too.

You won’t normally actually pay this out, it’s deducted from the amount of cash you’ll get in compensation (if your claim is successful). So, if you lose your luggage and make a claim worth £1,000, and your excess is £200, you’ll get back £800.

How excess is paid

With travel insurance, the excess is normally around £150-200, but can depend on the policy (the specifics of the insurance you’ve got) and travel insurance provider (the company giving you the insurance). We’ll cover how the costs can change in more detail below.

Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated, there’s two types of excess, compulsory excess and voluntary excess.

Compulsory and voluntary excess

Compulsory excess is the minimum amount of excess you’ll have to pay, and this is set by the insurer.

Voluntary excess is set by you (a figure you can change up or down), and together they’re the total excess you pay.

Compulsory and voluntary excess

However, the compulsory excess can change depending on what the travel insurance claim is. For instance, if your luggage is stolen, you might have a £25 compulsory excess amount, but for emergency medical expenses, it might be £100. It all depends on the travel insurance policy (you’ll find all these details when you buy the insurance).

Note: the excess could also apply to different parts of the same claim, for instance, if your bag is stolen, and has cash in it, you might want to claim for the bag (and items) and then the cash too, which could be paying two excesses.

Get a quick insurance quote

Head over to Confused.com to find the best deal for you. They search almost every deal out there.

Visit Confused.com¹Visit Confused.com¹

Why does an excess exist?

Although it’s fairly annoying, there is a reason travel insurance providers have an excess on their policies. Well, two reasons actually:

  1. To deter fraud – as it will cost money yourself to make a claim.
  2. To stop you claiming low amounts – there can be lots of admin with a claim, and so expensive for the insurance company to manage.

Adjusting the excess

As travel insurance policies are normally pretty customisable and tailored just for you and your trip, you can adjust the level of excess too (if you want to).

If you have a higher excess, the cost to buy your insurance (the premium) normally reduces, and if you have a lower excess, the cost of your premium normally increases – pretty simply right?

Excess amount

How this works in practice is different for everyone – if you’re prone to losing your things quite often, it might be a good idea to have a low excess, as there’s a higher chance you might be claiming. And if you never lose things, or have accidents, it might be a good idea to have a higher excess (making your insurance cost cheaper). But the choice is yours!

Do I have to have an excess?

An excess normally comes as standard on most travel insurance policies, but you can sometimes opt for insurance with no excess, called ‘no-excess travel insurance’. However this will normally be more expensive, so not always a great idea.

And, just because there’s technically no excess, travel insurers do sometimes put an excess in for certain things. For instance, if there’s any personal liability insurance claim (the legal costs for an accident, which can be very expensive), you’ll likely still have to pay an excess.

Some insurance providers will also offer travel insurance excess waivers, which can act effectively the same as no-excess insurance…

What is a travel insurance excess waiver?

When you go to take out travel insurance, you might find some travel insurance providers offer a travel insurance excess waiver. This is where you can pay a small fee now, in exchange to ‘waive’ the excess on the travel insurance policy (meaning you won’t pay any excess if you do have a successful claim).

They can be a great idea to save money if the policy excess is pretty high. Or simply, if you prefer peace of mind that you won’t have to pay out anything if you do have an accident or incident.

However, you will of course pay out more cash in the first place, so it’s not always the best idea. It’s really up to you and if you’d prefer that peace of mind.

Note: if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, your insurance policy might have a separate medical excess, which is not normally covered by a waiver.

How to find the best travel insurance deal

The great thing about travel insurance is that it’s super easy to get a great deal, and one personalised just for you – so you can set the level of excess you’re comfortable with.

The best way to do this is first to get a rough idea of what level of insurance you need, is it just the basics for a beach holiday? Or are you jetting off the mountains for a ski trip?

Then, simply head over to a travel insurance comparison site – it can only take 10 minutes and they’ll search lots of the best insurance companies to find a great deal for you, all based on your own information (about you and your trip). We recommend using Confused.com¹, and have listed all the best ones below too.

Once you’ve got a short list of all the best deals for you, pick the one you prefer (often the cheapest), and then you’ll be taken to the insurance company’s website – check all your details (they should be pre-filled), and then buy the insurance. As simple as that. You’ll typically be covered instantly – perfect to cover you for any cancellations before the trip.

How to get travel insurance

Finally, you should get your travel insurance policy documents sent to you via email, and sometimes an online account is set up for you with all your documents saved to come back to whenever you like.

Nuts About Money tip: we recommend printing of the documents if you can, and saving to your phone – you might need them when you’re on holiday.

If you want to learn more, here’s our guide on how to get travel insurance.

Best travel insurance comparison sites

Offer icon
Trophy icon
Best overall

Confused.com

This normally has the cheapest travel insurance quote for most people.

Confused.com will compare up to 40 travel insurance companies (and all the largest companies).

They'll cover all the main types of insurance (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions, winter sports etc).

You can get a quote in just a few minutes too.

Learn more

Dropdown arrow icon
Offer icon
Trophy icon
Meerkat Meals

Compare The Market

comparethemarket.com will search 42 travel insurance companies to find you the right deal.

They'll cover all the main types of insurance (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions, winter sports etc.)

Learn more

Dropdown arrow icon
Offer icon
Trophy icon
Quick quote

MoneySuperMarket

MoneySuperMarket compares 35 travel insurance companies to find a great deal for you.

They'll cover all the main types of insurance (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions, winter sports etc.)

Learn more

Dropdown arrow icon

Get a quick insurance quote

Head over to Confused.com to find the best deal for you. They search almost every deal out there.

Visit Confused.com¹Visit Confused.com¹

Let’s recap

There we have it. Travel insurance excess explained. Hopefully we've made something pretty complicated, pretty easy to understand.

Travel insurance

It’s simply the cost you’ll have to pay yourself, if you want to make a claim with the travel insurance company. And it’s typically around £150-200 but this can change a lot depending on the level of cover you want, and your personal circumstances, such as if you have existing medical conditions.

You can adjust the excess up and down to increase or decrease the insurance premium (what you pay for the insurance), and you can even get insurance without an excess at all, or look for an excess waiver, which is a small fee, meaning you don't have to pay any excess if you make a claim.

To find the best travel insurance deal for you, one with the right amount of excess for you, simply head over to Confused.com¹ – you’ll easily be able to get a personalised quote, just for your trip.

And that’s it. Enjoy your trip!

No items found.

Get a quick insurance quote

Head over to Confused.com to find the best deal for you. They search almost every deal out there.

Visit Confused.com¹Visit Confused.com¹
No items found.

Get a quick insurance quote

Head over to Confused.com to find the best deal for you. They search almost every deal out there.

Visit Confused.com¹Visit Confused.com¹
Fact checked icon
This article has been fact checked.

This article was written by the team at Nuts About Money, and fact-checked by 2 independent reviewers. You’re in safe hands.

Get a quick insurance quote

Head over to Confused.com to find the best deal for you. They search almost every deal out there.

Visit Confused.com¹Visit Confused.com¹

Get news, tips and deals straight to your inbox

Sign up

Related articles