Excessive alcohol consumption, failure to take recommended inoculations, reckless or illegal behavior and travel paid for using loyalty schemes could all cost you dear
You must read the conditions and exclusions in travel insurance small print to ensure that you buy the right cover at the right price and do not unwittingly invalidate your cover.
Exclusions and conditions vary between policies but common ones include claims made as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, fighting (except in self-defence) and taking part in activities insurers deem ‘hazardous’ such as jet skiing, quad biking or diving.
Common conditions and exclusions can include failure to disclose an existing medical condition (including mental, nervous or emotional disorders).
Failure to take prescribed medication or travelling against medical advice. Claims resulting from a tropical disease where the recommended inoculations and/or recommended medication for the country visited have not been taken; self-inflicted injuries; treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
A common ‘catch-all’ would be incidents occurring after you have consumed ‘an excessive amount’ of alcohol; claims arising from alcohol or drug abuse or solvent abuse.
Standard policies typically exclude winter sports, jet skiing, bungee jumping, quad biking, rugby, paragliding, martial arts, cycling touring, diving (solo or beyond a certain depth), riding mopeds or motorcycles. Competitive and professional activities are excluded.
Where an activity is covered, you’ll be required to follow any safety precautions and conditions. If you’re planning an adventurous you may need a specialist policy.
Another ‘catch-all’ would be that insurers expect you to take ‘all reasonable precautions to avoid injury, illness, disease, loss, theft or damage and take all reasonable steps to safeguard your property from loss or damage and to recover property lost or stolen’.
Claims arising from reckless behaviour or from taking unnecessary risks, e.g. ‘you sitting on any balcony railing; jumping from or climbing on or over any balcony railing, ledge or wall, regardless of its height, other than Artificial Wall Climbing listed in the Leisure Activities section’.
Some insurers preclude ‘any claim arising from the unauthorised use of a swimming pool outside the specified times of opening.’
Cover for travel to destinations against Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or World Health Organisation advice. Cover for war, civil commotion and terrorism. Last year the FCO warned LGBT visitors that visiting Russia could be potentially problematic given the Country’s anti-gay law.
Some policies exclude ‘any claim for unused travel or accommodation arranged by using air miles, loyalty or points based ownership schemes, timeshares or similar promotions; management fees, maintenance costs or exchange fees associated with loyalty or points based ownership schemes, timeshares or similar promotions’.
Failing to get the visa or other documentation, you require to visit your chosen destination.
Undertaking paid or unpaid manual work or physical labour of any kind. If you’re planning to work abroad, including voluntary charity work or you are undertaking a business trip, then you will need to choose a policy which specifically covers these activities.
Travel insurance is designed to protect you against the unforeseen, not careless or reckless behaviour. Insurers generally require you to take reasonable care of yourself to guard against injury and illness and to safeguard your belongings from loss or damage. So, for example, you won’t be able to claim for a stolen wallet or iPhone left under your towel while you went for a swim in the hotel pool or claim back the cost of medical treatment you needed as a result of injuries sustained from a fall while drunk.
Likewise, insurers are unlikely to pick up the bill for medical treatment for a tropical disease where you’ve not had the recommended vaccinations or completed any recommended course of medication a course of anti-malarial tablets for the country you are visiting.
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