It’s the travel season and most of us are careful and buy travel insurance to cover any mishaps that may happen whilst on holiday However, though we read the insurance cover, few of us realise that in some instances the cover paid for is extremely limited or worse because of hidden limitations.
In our website we had already highlighted two instances where the interpretation of the insurance companies was restrictive and seriously changes the nature of the cover provided. In yet another more recent complaint about travel insurance it resulted that there was nothing in the information provided to indicate to the consumer that the travel insurance covered only the first leg of the journey. Thus if one was travelling to a place where the journey is not one direct flight, only the first leg is covered. The same applies if someone travels to a place to take a cruise, the insurance covers only the first leg, namely if anything happens and as a result you miss your cruise, you are not covered.
Absurd, unbelievable but regrettably true. This is the section of a policy issued by Citadel Insurance which covers Cancellation and Curtailment. If one goes through it, there is no indication of this limitation.
A consumer went for a holiday in the States. Part of the trip included a cruise. While in the States, days before taking the flight to catch the cruise, she got sick. The doctor who examined her recommended that she should not take the cruise. When she returned back home, she made a claim to the insurance. The claim was turned down on the basis that
‘Cancellation means cancellation of a journey by the insured person(s) before leaving their Country of Residence, due to illness etc. Before the journey actually commences.’
We examined the policy to try to find this definition. Yet we could not find any such definition in the information that was given to the consumer. We asked Citadel to indicate where one can find this definition in the policy. They could not indicate where as it is not part of the policy. We thus maintained that the insurance should pay the consumer compensation. Yet Citadel refused as they are claiming that their interpretation is correct.
Our position is clear: This interpretation severely limits the policy. Since the consumer was not informed beforehand of this interpretation, this limit should not apply.
Our question is this: Why are consumers not given the definition of cancellation? Is it possible that if consumers are aware of this limitation they would not have taken the policy? BEWARE.