Many business owners and personal travellers rely on the insurance protection offered to them automatically by their credit cards when using their cards to pay for their travel, or just purchasing a policy through a travel agent.
A friend was travelling for pleasure recently, had just landed in Dublin and was advised of the unexpected and untimely passing of her father.
To start the claim process, as a favour, I reviewed the travel policy wording she had been issued and found an interesting condition/exclusion in the Cancellation/Curtailment cover section dealing with close relatives and pre-existing illnesses.
This particular policy required disclosure of the the pre-existing illness via a form that had to be underwritten by the insurer, and the insured may need to pay an additional premium if required by the insurer otherwise this type of event is not covered.
Out of curiosity (yes I need to get a life or a hobby), I have since spent some time reviewing other policies issued through banking organisations as “benefits”and some travel firms and I have found similar conditions.
With these types of policy conditions, if you, anyone in your travelling party or a close relative has a pre-existing medical condition, it would need to be disclosed to ensure that you were adequately protected in the scenario outlined above.
It is possible for a medical event to occur before you left on your travels, that this form of condition/exclusion would still apply to.
As a qualified insurance broker, it concerns me that potentially untrained/unqualified people are selling these products to customers or in the case of banks, just providing them as extra benefits that customers rely on so heavily and it is very likely that the customers do not know how to read the policy wordings properly to understand the limitations.
Notwithstanding the possible remedies available under the Insurance Contracts Act, this has to be a major concern. Litigating to have claims paid is a costly exercise.
If you are a business owner, I recommend obtaining a Corporate Travel Policy that is unlikely to have these onerous conditions and if you are an individual, I recommend reviewing the policy conditions a lot more closely than you may have done in the past.