The vast majority of consumers purchase travel insurance and probably never give their policy a second thought, until the moment we all dread, arrives and you put in an insurance claim.
You only really find out if an Insurer is any good, or the policy is worth the paper it’s written on (or in today’s modern world, the electronically stored pdf) when it comes making a claim and if you have chosen the wrong policy, by then it’s too late.
Fortunately only about 4% (4 in every 100 policies ) of customers in 2017 made a claim, but those 4% claimed just over £385 million pounds, that’s just over £1 million per day, paid out by travel insurers. When I read consumers commenting that “Insurance is a rip off and Insurers try to avoid claims”, I like to quote these figures, to prove that is just not the case.
Insurers are rightly protective of their data, but we have carried out some research to reveal the top five most common travel insurance claims.
The Top Five Most Common Travel Insurance Claims
1. Trip Cancellation or cutting short a trip. 34% of claims were for cancelling or abandoning a holiday. The total amount paid out in 2017 was £145 Million pounds (38% in money terms).
Holidays are cancelled or cut short for a variety of reasons. Anything from medical emergency, accident or illness to yourself or a close relative, redundancy or jury service to flooding of your home or burglary. These are all genuine reasons to prevent you from travelling abroad and losing out financially on air fares, hotel or villa costs, as well as pre-paid excursions, all or which you can claim on your travel insurance.
What to watch out for…. Make sure you have declared to your Insurer, any known medical conditions from anyone that may prevent you from taking your trip. Make sure you notify your travel provider, or airline as soon as you know that you will be unable to travel. Changing your mind and not having a current passport or visa documents are not valid reasons to make a claim.
2. Medical Expenses. Whilst Medical Expenses claims are the second most popular in terms of numbers 31%. They make up 52% of claims in monetary terms. In 2017 over £200 million was claimed for emergency medical expenses.
The vast majority of countries charge for medical care. In places like the United States of America, medical bills can run into the hundreds of thousands, so it makes clear financial sense to take out travel insurance, if for no other reason.
Even a simple trip to the doctor, can cost hundreds of pounds. If you only travel to Europe, don’t rely on the European Health Insurance Card. It is not a travel insurance policy. It does allow you to receive the same sort of treatment you would get under the NHS, but more often than not, its still not completely free and you may still end up severely out of pocket.
Medical Expenses, covers anything from anti sickness and diarrhea pills, to full heart bypass surgery (if necessary). Its not just the cost of the initial treatment, but the price of rehabilitation (think about how much a one month stay in a hospital would cost), that ramps up the total charges.
What to watch out for…. When obtaining cover remember to declare any known medical conditions that you or your relatives suffer from. Check your policy, to make sure you understand the terms and conditions of making a claim. For example, some Insurers insist you contact them immediately if a claim is likely to be for more than £500.
3. Loss or Damage to Baggage and personal money. 10% of claims are for loss, damage or theft of personal possessions and money. This makes up about 2% in money terms. Around £8 Million was paid out in 2017. Popular claims are for luggage, lost or damaged during travel, theft of personal possessions, from hotels and stolen money by pickpockets, mugging etc.
When you are on holiday, you are relaxed and may let your guard down. It is important that you keep valuable items, such as phones, money, passports etc in a hotel or villa safe, if one is provided. Also remember when you are on the beach or by the pool, to keep an eye on valuables.
To reduce the odds of a theft, only take the minimum amount of valuables and cash that you need for the day.
What to watch out for…. Many Insurers have a clause that exclude claims for valuables which are not on your person, left in an unattended vehicle, or courtesy storage facility.
4. Travel Delay. Delays in Travel account for about 7% of claims totaling about £10 Million. The vast majority of flights and transport leave on time, you only really ever hear about the long delays. Whilst this can be extremely frustrating and eat into your precious holiday time, most quality travel insurance policies provide compensation to cover the cost of delays.
What to watch out for…. Most Travel Insurance Policies pay compensation where travel has been delayed for over 12 hours.
5. Missed Departure. Missed departure account for about 2% of reported claims. This section of a travel insurance policy covers you when you miss your departure due to public transports running late or being cancelled, or the car you are travelling in breaks down or is involved in an accident. The payment covers the cost of additional accommodation and alternative transport to get you to your destination.
What to watch out for…. Most travel policies will only cover missed departure, where you have allowed at least three hours between your scheduled arrival time and the departure time of your connecting transport.