Five absurd holiday clauses

If you think your travel insurance leaves you fully covered, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you come to make a claim. We reveal how travel insurance firms get out of paying up.

We all know that travel insurance is a must-have - if you have an accident on holiday it's costly. But what happens when your insurer won't cough up because of a ridiculous clause?

Here are five shockers to watch out for.

Insurers will expect you to have a receipt for anything lost or stolen – even if you bought it years ago. If you don't have receipts, take a photograph of your belongings before you travel.

Figures show we tend to drink more abroad than we would at home. But having a tipple could make any insurance claim void. There's no exact limit on how much drink is allowed, as long as you are still in control of your actions.

Getting extra cover for extreme sports and skiing is a given these days. But some insurers take a wide-ranging view of what extreme is. Take the kids rowing, for example, and your policy is pointless.

Unfortunately planning ahead is the only way to protect yourself. Check your health insurance policy and pay the extra to cover sports you might play.

If you have something stolen you'll need a police report to make a claim. Fair enough, but did you know you need it within 24 hours? Report any crimes as soon as you become aware of them. If the police station is closed when you report the theft your insurer should understand the delay, as long as you show you've tried.

If you cancel your holiday because someone in your family dies, you policy might not pay out.

If a parent, sibling or child dies that would be accepted but a grandparent, aunt or uncle probably wouldn't. Make sure you check with your insurer.

Insurers rely on you not knowing the details. So the key is to always read the long policy documents. It's boring but if you don't you'll miss exactly what you're covered for.