Monitoring travel insurance

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Yesterday it was announced that the financial ombudsman had decided that an insurance company had acted correctly when it refused payment to a claimant because the claimant had been drinking excessively and therefore contributed to his accident by not being in control at the time.

In another case, it decided that although a person had been drinking it was not to excess and therefore the man could claim under his policy.

The two instances show that the small print of a travel insurance policy are open to interpretation and aren’t “cut and dried.” What I think most holidaymakers and travellers want are not policies that one person might interpret differently from another but straight-forward, easily understood black and white statements giving what is acceptable and is not.

We are supposed to wade through acres of small print even though insurers give us a key list of what we are covered for. But the small print amounts – with my annual policy as an example – to 42 pages and doesn’t tell me the limits of each clause. It is the insurers who are knowledgeable about their products, not us. So why can’t they also issue a guide to what is not claimable in their eyes?  I’d be prepared to bet that most, if not all policies, don’t tell you that being drunk and incapable means you cannot claim!

It is the insurers who are knowledgeable about their products, not us. They give us a list of excesses and tell us how much we can claim against each clause so why can’t they also issue a guide to what is not claimable in their eyes?

Is a one day trip around a harbour or out to an island to watch wildlife a cruise. If it is then do I need additional cover? (Incidentally, what is there about taking a cruise that means you have to buy additional cover on top of your policy? You can understand extra payments for someone who is involved with extreme sports or even skiing but what is so dangerous about cruising?)

In the last nine months of 2017, the financial ombudsman had received 4,019 new cases concerning travel insurance. Only 37% of the claims were upheld meaning that insurers did not have to pay out in 73% of cases. Why the low number?

Some will obviously be bogus cases because people see the opportunity to make money from their policies. I suggest many are because the small print wasn’t read and the others are where people thought they were covered and found when claiming that they weren’t. A bit more clarity on behalf of travel insurers would help and reduce the number of claims being made.

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