Thursday, 16 July 2015
Travel insurance - daft exclusions
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has come in for some flak over its decision to recommend that Britons should not travel to Tunisia unless their trips are essential. The waters have been muddied by a misunderstanding of the nature of this advice. One culprit was Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who spoke of British tourists not being "allowed" go travel to the country. Today a much esteemed travel writing colleague refers to the FCO's "diktat". Let's be clear: Britons are at liberty to travel to Tunisia independently - but it's unlikely they will be covered by standard travel insurance policies. Package tour operators won't take you because neither you nor they will be covered in the event of another attack. The issue came to mind after I took part in a debate last night between UK representatives and travel writers on the broad topic of how we should write about countries hit by terrorism, political and economic unrest, disease or natural disasters. I checked my policy. It says simply that no claims will be met if they result from travel in defiance of such advice. That means if I suffer some problem which has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism - such as sprained ankle or a lost camera - they won't cough up. I'm not recommending you should travel to Tunisia but, given some people may feel that the Tunisians deserve their support i these trying times, it's patently wrong that if they do want to go, they should be deterred by such a ridiculous, blanket exclusion. Why not simply offer cover that excludes claims resulting from terrorist activity? That would be far too easy for an insurance industry which - in my direct experience alone - has set so many daft conditions on its policies that I've almost lost count of them.