Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Originally posted: 21st Mar 2023

Getting to know your travel insurance policy before your trip is essential, and this means understanding what you’re covered for and not covered for in case of an emergency. In this guide, we get to the bottom of curtailment, including its meaning and what it does and doesn’t include. Read on to discover everything you need to know about curtailment.

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What does ‘curtailment’ mean?

Simply put, curtailment means cutting something short. When it comes to travel and travel insurance, it refers to ending your trip early.

Although it’s not something we want to imagine, sometimes a situation will arise where you’ll need to head home prematurely from your holiday. Curtailment happens for reasons beyond your control, and as well as meaning you get less time than you imagined on your vacation, it’s also likely to cost you money.

Most insurance policies will cover you for curtailment; however, it’s something you should always check before taking out your cover. If you do have to cut short your trip due to an unfortunate reason, losing money because of this can add to your upset and frustration.

LEARN MORE: Travel Insurance Glossary and Jargon Buster

Why would someone have to cut their holiday short?

There are a wealth of reasons why someone would have to cut their holiday short unexpectedly, which can happen to you or to a travelling companion. They can include:

  • A member of your party falling ill or getting injured
  • A family member at home falling ill, getting injured or passing away
  • A business partner or associate at home falling ill, getting injured or passing away
  • A member of your party having their passport stolen or losing it
  • A member of your party being summoned to court or jury duty
  • A member of your party being called to duty as a part of their role in the armed services, emergency services or governmental services
  • A member of your party’s home becoming uninhabitable through burglary, flooding, fire etc

The above are all valid reasons to cut a holiday short, and for those with curtailment travel insurance, you’ll likely be protected for them all. You should always make a point of checking your policy wording before travelling, and should you need to cut your trip short, you can speak to your provider to discuss your specific circumstances.

Broken Leg

What isn’t covered by curtailment travel insurance?

Just as there is a range of reasons you may cut your holiday short that are covered by insurance, there are also some reasons that you might not be able to claim on your insurance. These include:

  • The reason you cut your trip short being apparent whilst booking, for example, a pre-planned court appearance
  • The illness or injury you’re experiencing is caused by being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The illness or injury you’re experiencing being apparent whilst booking and not declared on your policy
  • You’re choosing to cut the trip short simply because you no longer want to continue it

These are all reasons you might cut your trip short. However, they’re much less likely to be covered by your travel insurance policy, so you’re unlikely to be able to claim your extra travel expenses back.

For those who are travelling and have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get specialised cover that will take your illness into account. We compare quotes from the best insurance providers so that you can enjoy the best medical travel insurance in the UK for your needs. This protection will help not only with curtailment if your illness should mean you need to go home but medical expenses abroad and more.

Is curtailment different to cancellation?

Yes, although they may seem similar, there is one distinct difference between cancellation and curtailment:

Cancellation means you are unable to embark on your journey at all; curtailment means you started your holiday but have to cut it short.

Although you might have to cancel a holiday for the same reasons you might need to curtail a holiday, a cancellation will happen before you start your trip. Therefore, the cover you need for both is slightly different. Some policies might allow you to opt out of one type of cover but opt into another. This is why it’s always important to be diligent when booking your insurance to know what you are protected against.

 LEARN MORE: Do You Need Holiday Cancellation Cover?

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What can you claim if you need to curtail your holiday?

If you do find yourself needing to cut your trip short and you have taken our travel insurance with curtailment cover, you should be able to claim for the following:

  • The value of unused accommodation, travel and excursions/experiences
  • The value of additional accommodation and travel needed to return home early

Different policies will have different limits on how much you are able to claim, and some may apply an excess. You might also need to provide evidence of your reason for curtailing, for example, a medical certificate confirming your need to return home due to illness or a police report to confirm the theft of a passport.

Claiming for curtailment

If you do have to cut your holiday short, then you’ll have to claim on your policy to get reimbursed for the additional costs you might have incurred. Doing so is easy. Contact the claims handler of your insurance policy (this information will be available online and in your insurance policy). They’ll be able to talk you through the process of claiming for curtailment, including how to submit your claim and what evidence you’ll need.

If you are looking for more information on travel insurance, we have a series of helpful guides. Alternatively, head to our blog for some useful travel articles, including travel tips and destination guides.

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A pre-existing is any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received before applying for a travel insurance policy. Some conditions we'll need to know if they have ever been present, whilst some within a certain time period.

A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!

Cancellation amounts will be per person. So, if you were going on a trip for 2 people which cost £1,000 in total you would ideally need cancellation cover for at least £500.
If you're taken ill or have an accident abroad your travel insurance policy will repatriate you once you are well enough to travel. It is included within your medical cover. The insurance provider's Emergency Assistance team will help organise this along with the medical team who are treating you. If you are travelling in the UK, check repatriation with your insurance provider to see what is included.
Full details of what you need to do to make a claim will be detailed in the Policy Wording provided to you by your insurance provider.
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