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We're all going on a summer holiday

Travel insurance is something that we feel we must have, but may consider it a waste of money. However, if things should go wrong, then you will be very, very pleased you have taken out insurance. That is, if it actually pays out!

Back in 2009, a British tourist was stabbed by a stranger with a syringe at an all-night beach party on the island of Koh Phanang. The risk was that the syringe may have infected him with HIV, so he was taken to a hospital in Bangkok and given powerful drugs to combat the virus. The side effects of these drugs made him seriously ill and he was advised to fly back to the UK.

His insurer refused to pay his £2,000 medical bill or to cover him for cutting short his holiday, pointing to small print which said it didn't cover injuries received 'while under the influence of drugs not given by a doctor' - ignoring completely the fact that he was attacked with a syringe and had not willingly taken any drugs. The tourist took his case to the Ombudsman which ordered the insurance company to pay up. Whilst this case had a happy outcome, many more do not – and here we highlight a few reasons why insurance companies may not pay out on holiday insurance.

Drugs and alcohol – beware!

It maybe a sobering thought, but all travel insurance policies will contain a clause stating that you will not be covered if you are involved in an accident when you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs (unless prescribed by a doctor). What counts as 'under the influence' will differ from policy to policy, but most insurers expect you to stay under the drink drive limit for the country in question. Skiers enjoying some lunchtime après-ski often fall foul of this travel insurance exclusion and can find themselves picking up the bill for injuries sustained during an afternoon's tipsy skiing.

Take responsibility for yourself and your belongings!

Insurers also expect holiday makers to take reasonable care of themselves and their belongings whilst travelling. If you don't – and the insurer can consider you negligent – then you will not get a pay-out. For example, leaving your belongings on the beach whilst you nip in the sea for a swim will count as negligence – you left your belongings unattended!

If you have to make a claim to replace belongings or to cover the cost of medication, your insurers will expect to see evidence of the expenses you incurred. In some cases this will include items which you have lost or had stolen – such cameras or iPods. If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a crime, make sure you obtain a crime report number if available and ask for a police report.

Travel insurance has many loopholes. Most travel companies offer to sell you insurance as a matter of course. It is worth shopping around though – try the independent insurance brokers too. It is worthwhile calling Westhill Insurance Services, their friendly and professional team will take a full brief from you and then shop around for the cheapest and most suitable deal for you. For example, did you know that many family travel insurance policies do not cover children if they do not live full time with the policy holder? If you are separated and are taking children on holiday, make sure they are included in the policy. This is the type of detail which Westhill Insurance will check with you – not something you will get from an on-line site – or indeed from many travel agent shops either.

Don't let something horrible turn your dream holiday into a nightmare. Talk to Westhill Insurance and head for the sunshine and blue skies without a care in the world!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 22nd April, 2012