Travel insurance exclusions may impact consumers on holiday

Posted in Insurance on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 at 12:30 by Martyn Shaw.

Most people concerned about responsible debt management are aware of the importance of various forms of insurance, but news has now emerged that travel insurance companies may be less likely to pay some kinds of claim in future. According to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, nearly two-dozen of the country’s most popular policies for travel cover are now beginning to exclude accident claims when drugs or alcohol may be a contributing factor. An unpaid claim could have significant consequences for a policyholder unable to work due to injuries, causing the individual to miss a payment on a bad credit loan, for example.

Malcolm Tarling, speaking for the Association of British Insurers, provided more specifics:

“It is a standard exclusion on most travel insurance policies that claims may be invalidated if medical treatment is needed as a result of excess alcohol consumption or drug abuse.”

Unfortunately for travellers, the definition of ‘excess’ is far from settled. When it comes to driving, many countries have embedded blood alcohol limits into their law. A travel insurer could be considered justified if denying a claim involving drinking and driving when the policyholder’s blood alcohol level was above the applicable legal limit; however, there are no such limits encoded in law for other kinds of activities. How is a holiday-goer to know if he or she has had ‘too much to ski’?

Some policies provide travellers with guidance and mention specific blood alcohol limits in their fine print. Others, however, simply state that claims will not be paid if alcohol has caused a policyholder’s judgement to be “seriously affected.”


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