Am I allowed to have two travel insurance policies and can I claim on both?

I am jetting off on holiday to Egypt with my family in August. Having witnessed the airport chaos and flight cancellations this year, one of the first things I did after I booked was to take out a decent travel insurance policy. 

But since then, I’ve found out that the current account I recently opened offers me free worldwide travel insurance – so now I have two lots of cover for the same trip.

Hopefully I won’t need to make a claim, but I’m not sure what will happen if I do. 

Would being double insured invalidate my policies? If not, could I claim on both and potentially get double the pay out? T.M. via email. 

Doubled up: Our reader has found themselves with two insurance policies for the same trip

Emilia Shovelin of This is Money replies: Having the right travel insurance – and taking it out as soon as you book your holiday – is especially important at the moment. 

With international travel at its peak and airports at breaking point, taking out a comprehensive policy with disruption cover seemed like a sensible move. 

However, you have since learned that your current account offers both you and your family full worldwide coverage.

This is a fairly common feature of the big banks’ premier accounts, but you didn’t realise you were covered until after you had already paid for separate insurance for your Egypt trip. 

We explain the rules around having multiple travel insurance policies, as well as other types of cover such as car, home and health insurance. 

Is it ok to have two travel insurance policies? 

The biggest concern when it comes to having two travel insurance policies is which provider you turn to if you need to make a claim.

If you have double cover, one insurer could ask the other to make a contribution to your payout. 

This could significantly delay your claim, and you could also be left paying two excess charges.

Making two separate claims, rather than just one, could also mean a rise in your insurance premiums in the future.

Weight off your mind: Travel insurance can cover you for anything from lost luggage to cancelled flights and emergency medical cover

Weight off your mind: Travel insurance can cover you for anything from lost luggage to cancelled flights and emergency medical cover

‘It’s best to insure once and insure well,’ says Helen Phipps, director at Compare The Market. 

‘If you want to make a claim and have two insurance policies, you are required to register the claim with both insurers and inform them you have multiple active policies.

‘If you have two insurance policies and need to make a claim, both insurers may suggest that the other one should pay. 

‘Ultimately, if both insurers end-up paying out a share of costs, you may be subject to two excesses.’

While having two insurance policies isn’t illegal, having one good one is usually a better bet. 

Ceri McMillan, a GoCompare travel insurance expert, adds: ‘It’s not illegal to be dual insured, but it can make claiming more complicated. 

‘The more complicated a claim – and the more insurers involved – the trickier it can be to get sorted.’

So which one should you cancel? First, you should consider what your travel insurance with HSBC offers compared to the policy you bought when you booked your holiday.

You will generally want to stick with the policy that covers the most different eventualities, and pays out the biggest sums.  

> We explain what to look for in a good travel insurance policy here.  

Phipps said: ‘It’s a good idea to carefully compare policies and prices. The insurance provided by your bank may cover you, but it could be quite basic. 

‘Whereas a standalone policy is independent to any other service, and specifically suits your needs.

‘If you decide you no longer need a policy, cancel it.’ 

What about car or home insurance? 

With home insurance, it is common to take out buildings, and contents insurance with two different providers and this does not count as dual coverage. 

However, as with travel insurance, if two policies cover the same thing it could make it more difficult to make a claim. 

When it comes to car insurance, experts say that motorists often unknowingly find themselves paying double premiums when they don’t need to. 

Darryl Bowman, from the flexible car insurance provider, Cuvva, says: ‘With motor insurance it can arise innocently. 

‘For example, someone could take out temporary insurance on a friend’s car, and then it transpires that their friend’s policy covers additional drivers.

No claims: if you have two car insurance policies and you need to make a claim, you could be stuck waiting while your insurers decide who is responsible for paying for your claim

No claims: if you have two car insurance policies and you need to make a claim, you could be stuck waiting while your insurers decide who is responsible for paying for your claim

Bowman recommends you cancel any additional car insurance premiums if you find yourself with dual coverage.   

He said: ‘Unless one insurer is covering for something additional, there is no need to pay double for the same thing. 

‘You also run the risk of losing two no-claims discounts with both insurers.’

It’s not illegal to have two car insurance policies for the same car, but it is illegal to claim the full amount from two different insurance companies.

Bowman adds that it’s worth checking the terms and conditions, as in some cases holding two car insurance policies could render them invalid. 

He says: ‘Some insurers may include a clause in their policy stating that if you hold dual insurance for the same risk and don’t provide written notice to the insurer that you’re covered elsewhere, you may run the risk of your policy being voided.

Can I have two life insurance policies?

Unlike most other types of insurance, over-50s life insurance, commonly used to cover funeral and other costs after someone passes away, is one area where it is relatively normal to have more than one policy. 

A spokesperson from insurer SunLife said: ‘Over 50s life insurance is a good example of insurance that you can have more than one policy of. 

‘Many customers take out one at first and then, as funeral costs rise over the years for example, they could take out another plan to boost their cover.’ 

However, there is sometimes a monetary cover limit so if you have multiple policies you should check you are still within that.  

It is also worth checking your insurance policy to ensure there are no conflicts, or to see if you have an ‘excess clause’.

An ‘excess clause’ means you might be able to claim from a second insurance policy if the total amount of your claim exceeds the cover limit of your first policy.

How to compare travel insurance

The quickest and easiest way to save money on travel insurance and compare the best policies is to use a comparison site.

While results will broadly be the same across most comparison sites, they may slightly differ, so it is worth checking a couple. 

Also check insurers such as Direct Line and Aviva that do not appear on comparison sites and if you have previous serious medical issues consider a specialist insurer or broker.

This is Money has partnered with Compare the Market to help you find great travel insurance. You can compare prices, cover, features and special elements via the link below.

> Travel insurance: Check policies with Compare the Market