“Spot the get-out clauses”: Which? investigates travel insurance

The latest Which? survey reveals that travel insurance had the highest claims rejection rate and lowest satisfaction rate out of all the insurance products we surveyed which makes it even more important for consumers to know what they’re signing up to.

> We asked members why their claims were being rejected and found the most frequent reasons they were given for being turned down were not being covered if they cancelled a holiday because a relative was ill, they hadn’t reported a loss or theft to police within 24 hours and lost or stolen belongings were not supervised to the insurers’ satisfaction.

> We looked at the details of the small print of ten big insurers’ policies to highlight the clauses people should look out for – this included insurers asking travellers to declare pre-existing conditions for relatives, including those as distant as a cousin. We think this is unreasonable and advise people to look for policies that restrict this exclusion to relatives’ conditions of which they are aware.

> We thought asking for loss or thefts to be reported within 24 hours to police was not always possible. Look for policies that don’t put a time limit on when you have to report the incident to the police.

> We also found that insurers can interpret the definition of “unattended belongings” too strictly, we preferred policies which offered cover as long as luggage is “carried in line with a transport provider’s requirements”.

A Which? spokesperson said:

“Travel insurance policies can be complicated, so it’s no surprise that people can be confused by the small print. We advise people read through the policy document before signing anything. If you have a claim rejected, the financial ombudsman can take up your case if an appeal with the insurer fails.”

Notes to editors

> We surveyed 9,144 Which? members about making insurance claims in November 2012

> We asked members about the following insurance products: travel, car, home, pet, and phone or gadget insurance

> We looked at the small print of 10 travel insurance companies in the UK:

Aviva, Axa, Barclays, Columbus, Direct Line, Insure & Go, LV, Mondial (Allianz), Post Office (Ageas) and Saga

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