Travel insurance – check the small print
February 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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