There are some heightened global tensions now, these mean it is crucial to have good insurance, so recheck your small print if your travel insurance will pay for disaster or not?
Almost people believe it is reasonable to take out travel insurance before jetting off on holiday, but it should be rechecked because some will find that their insurer ultimately rejects their claim when things go wrong.
The problem is particularly important in this summer, and experts warn that many insurance policies will not have adequate cover to deal with major issues.
For example, Bob Atkinson, at TravelSupermarket, says that travelers with cheaper policies may not be covered for strikes in Greece or terrorist threat in Tunisia. He warns that “Cheaper policies don’t cover everything. Instead, get good, well-priced middle-of-the-road or above cover, and ensure you read it before you travel so you can cancel and re-buy if it’s not suitable.”
He adds anyone who is travelling to Greece, he or she should look for a insurance policy that offers supplier failure and provides cover for civil unrest, and curtailment and abandonment of a trip. These elements are often only written in as standard on more expensive policies but these also can be added to cheaper policies with an extra cost.
Usually, you can cancel any insurance policy for free within a 14-day period after taking out, so it is particularly important to read carefully the details in it.
According to Caroline Lloyd, a travel insurance spokesman for comparison site GoCompare, she says that many travellers with cheaper policies, they have arranged their holidays independently, they usually don’t know that they aren’t covered for suppliers such as hotels going bust due to issues in Greece. So she says “It’s not too late to upgrade and add additional cover to ensure that you buy cover as soon as you buy a holiday, and keep abreast of advice given by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about whether it is safe to travel to your chosen destination.”
The FCO was advising that it is safe to travel to Greece and Tunisia, but it warns travellers to Greece to carry extra cash and be aware of the risk of short-notice strikes. The FCO also advised that it is safe to travel to most tourist areas of Tunisia, including coastal areas, but some places in lists that are unsafe.
Some insurers such as Aviva and Saga, are exercising a degree of flexibility when it comes to planned travel to Tunisia, they say they will cover cancellation to the Sousse area .
The Financial Ombudsman Service warns about unsuitable policies because there are reports of rising number of complaints from travellers who have not been able to claim successfully to insurance firms. More than 2,000 people increased a travel insurance issue with the FOS in the year to March 2015 after reaching dilemma with their insurer. Nearly half were resolved in favour of the customer, suggesting insurers often wrongly reject legitimate claims and that small print is becoming ever more complex.
Caroline Wayman, the chief ombudsman says “Many of the people didn’t know about the exclusion that had been used to reject their claim, and that the consequences of the claim not being paid had been very stressful and upsetting while consumers have a responsibility to take out the right level of cover, insurers have a responsibility to make important information clear.”
According to Lloyd, the most popular reasons for insurers to refuse a claim include the failure to disclose a pre-existing medical condition. Some people become ill with conditions that could have been prevented by routine inoculations, they may also receive the rejected claims.
He says “Travel insurance is designed to protect you against the unforeseen, not known events, or careless, reckless behaviour. As a result, insurers expect you to take reasonable care of yourself to guard against injury and illness, and to safeguard your belongings from loss or damage.”
For example, customers take part in hazardous sports or who drink alcohol on holiday, they have also fallen foul of the small print in their policies. The ombudsman says it has seen a “steady increase” in complaints about the way that drinking is tackled by various insurance companies.
A spokesman for FOS says that if a customer’s claim was refused because of alcohol consumption the organisation would want to see evidence that it had caused the issue. A spokesman says “While it is not uncommon for policies to include an exclusion for alcohol -related accidents and incidents, the ombudsman would take a dim view of insurers who, through restrictive use of exclusions, implied that people were expected to refrain from drinking on holiday if they wished to remain insured,”.
And in the case of hazardous sports, TravelSupermarket’s Bob Atkinson says customers should recheck their policies because the definition of “hazardous” varies between insurers.
Travellers should know when they are planning to greece
Lisa Bachelor writes that for anyone planning on travelling to Greece the message from the government is clear: carry enough cash to cover all your expenses including any potential emergencies.
But if some of this money is lost or stolen, what happens to them?
Most travel insurance policies will cover you up to a limit, this is typically only £300. However, a number of insurers have increased the amount both for those who are in Greece now and those planning to head there. For example, Aviva has temporarily doubled its limit for cash which is lost or stolen while on holiday up to £600 per adult.
Virgin has even trebled its limits on its travel policies for travelers to Greece, and the amount is dependent on the type of policy. Other insurers as Axa, Halifax, M&S and Lloyds are among others that have made similar increases.
However, there are still some insurers that don’t cover any lost or stolen money at all, so anyone travelling to Greece should recheck carefully their policy before they go.
For a claim to be successful you’ll have to have proof you took the money out – so keep any ATM receipts – and you’ll have to be able to show that you kept the money safe rather than, say, stuffing it all in your back pocket.