Having to cancel your holiday or return home early due to a close relative, who is not travelling with you, falling ill or passing away will be covered by most travel insurers. Although, terms and conditions will vary across the travel insurance industry, particularly when it comes to existing medical conditions.

Generally speaking, if your close relative suddenly falls ill or passes away you may be covered for cancellation if you no longer wish to travel or curtailment (cutting your trip short) if you wish to return home. It becomes tricky when a close relative becomes ill or passes away due to an existing, known, illness as many travel insurance policies will exclude this from cover.

Having said that, there are a few travel insurance policies out there that will cover you for non-travelling close relatives with an existing medical condition if you are able to provide confirmation from your close relative’s treating doctor that their condition is stable and not likely to deteriorate.

If you are your close-relative’s carer, it may be worth looking for a travel insurance policy that either covers carers or offers a carers extension which can be added to the policy for an additional premium. This policy or extension will usually include cancellation and curtailment cover if the close relative you care for deteriorates or passes away due to their existing illness. You may also be covered for cancellation costs if the person who is ‘standing-in’ for you to care for your relative cancels at the last minute and you have no one else to care for your relative. With this specialist cover, it is important to check the policy wording carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered and if you’re unsure, it’s best to speak to the travel insurer directly and ask them to clarify.

So, who is classed as a close relative? Again, this will depend on the travel insurer and you should be able to find the definition in the policy wording or on the travel insurers website. Generally, a close relative will be a spouse, partner, child, foster child, sibling, parent, grandparent, step-family, family in-law and a legal guardian.

If you have any travel insurance questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at hello@travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk and a member of the team will gladly help.

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