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Holiday insurance wish list
Apr 9th, 2014 by elisa

Don’t you wish your travel insurance would cover real holiday-spoilers such as inedible hotel food, rude hotel staff and bad weather? If so, then you’re not alone. 

According to a survey by comparison website Gocompare.com Travel Insurance, over a third of travellers wish they could buy insurance against inedible hotel food.

The website asked 1,300 travellers about the things they wish they could insure against, that aren’t covered by typical travel insurance policies. Top of the wish list is delayed departures, on flights, ferries or trains. Currently many policies do provide some cover for delayed departures, but only to cover additional costs of being stuck in the airport for hours, not to compensate for lost holiday time.

Caroline Lloyd from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance said: “For many people, their holiday is not only a chance to relax away from the everyday pressures of life, it’s a big financial commitment they have spent months, if not years, saving for. So it’s not surprising that they want the perfect getaway with no delays, top-notch food and accommodation – not an encounter with Basil Fawlty.

“While our survey takes a light-hearted look at the holiday-horrors people wish they could insure against, it gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of travel insurance in protecting holidaymakers against the unexpected – from freak weather, illness or injury, or theft or loss of baggage.”

Results of the survey:

Rank  Insurance wish list %
1 Delayed departure (flights, ferries, trains, etc.) 51
2 Disappointing accommodation 44
3 Misleading brochure description of hotel and/or holiday resort 44
4 Inedible hotel food 34
5 Bad weather 31
6 A noisy room 22
7 Being plagued by drunken teenagers in the evening 18
8 Rude hotel/accommodation staff 15
9 Annoying fellow guests 12
10 Terrible organised entertainment 7
Pre-ticked boxes for insurance add-ons could be banned
Mar 12th, 2014 by elisa

Pre-ticked boxes for insurance add-ons when purchasing services like a holiday could be banned by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The FCA claims the £1bn insurance add-on market is overcharging customers for products they may not need or use. An investigation in July 2013 by the FCA found poor competition at point of sale and low levels of claims. There was also a lack of information which prevented customers from making informed choices regarding the products.

25% of customers who bought insurance as an add-on were not aware that they could buy it separately elsewhere. 38% said they had not planned to buy the add-on before the purchase. 69% of those who bought it could not accurately remember how much they paid three to four months later, with 19% forgetting they had even bought it.

Christopher Woolard, director of policy, risk and research at the FCA, said: “There’s a clear case for us to intervene. Competition in this market is not working well and many consumers are simply not getting value for money.

“Firms must start putting consumers first and stop seeing them as pound signs.”

The FCA is proposing banning pre-ticked boxes to ensure consumers actively opt in to buy, and not have to choose to opt out. It will also require companies to publish claim ratios to highlight low-value products, which it hopes will encourage better quality products for consumers.

Ryanair and Easyjet fined over travel insurance
Feb 20th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair and Easyjet have been fined by Italy‘s antitrust watchdog for misleading customers over travel insurance.

The watchdog, AGCM, said the airlines had not given sufficient information for customers to make an informed choice when buying travel insurance. It said that the websites weren’t clear enough when it came to explaining what risks were covered, and that the cost of requesting a refund was higher than the insurance itself, with excess fees disproportionately high.

In Ryanair’s case, the watchdog said that the option to refuse the insurance was too difficult to find on the website, with the tick box located on a countries drop-down menu between the Netherlands and Norway.

Ryanair was fined €850,000, which it says it will appeal. However, it will amend its website. 

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “We note this ruling and while we disagree with its findings and have instructed our lawyers to appeal, we will be amending our website accordingly.”

Easyjet was fined €200,000 because it had already made amendments to its website.

An Easyjet spokeswoman said: “Easyjet is disappointed by AGCM’s decision to fine the airline for the way it sold its travel insurance product in Italy. All of the issues raised in the decision have already been remedied in consultation with the AGCM and our insurance partner Allianz. Easyjet will examine the decision and review its options.”

Travel insurance – check the small print
Feb 27th, 2013 by elisa

How often do you just take the first available travel insurance you find? Or just the cheapest? You might think that they’re all pretty similar, but you’d be wrong, and you could come unstuck if you don’t follow the small print.

A recent survey by consumer rights champion Which? found that out of all insurance products, travel insurance had the highest claim rejection rate and lowest satisfaction amongst consumers.

The most frequently rejected claims were for holidays cancelled because of a relative falling ill, failing to report a loss or theft to police within 24 hours, and lost or stolen belongings not being supervised to the satisfaction of the insurer.

The report said: “We thought asking for loss or thefts to be reported within 24 hours to police was not always possible. Look for policies that don’t put a time limit on when you have to report the incident to the police.

“We also found that insurers can interpret the definition of “unattended belongings” too strictly, we preferred policies which offered cover as long as luggage is “carried in line with a transport provider’s requirements”.

It also found that on examination of 10 large insurers’ policies, some travellers were expected to declare pre-existing medical conditions for relatives, including cousins.

“We think this is unreasonable and advise people to look for policies that restrict this exclusion to relatives’ conditions of which they are aware,” it said.

A spokesperson for Which? added: “Travel insurance policies can be complicated, so it’s no surprise that people can be confused by the small print.

“We advise people read through the policy document before signing anything. If you have a claim rejected, the financial ombudsman can take up your case if an appeal with the insurer fails.”

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