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ombudsman news

issue 143

January 2018

got it covered?

As the winter months roll on, it’s not surprising that it’s a busy time of year for planning and booking our next holidays. As I speak, there will be many people trawling through websites and going through hotel listings with a fine-tooth comb.

For many people, choosing the right hotel and imagining themselves relaxing by the pool may all be part of the fun. But the same level of attention may not be paid to travel insurance. When planning things to look forward to, we understandably might not want to worry about what might go wrong.

In general, holidays go to plan – and for most people, the types of problems insurance is there to cover won’t be brought to life. However, each year people contact us when they’ve had trouble on holiday – and haven’t had the help from their travel insurer that they expected. And most of the time, these disputes centre on what’s covered and what’s not. With this in mind, in this ombudsman news, we look at issues ranging from winter sports injuries and medical emergencies, to age limits and official advice not to travel.

We’ve also included examples of complaints involving alcohol – specifically, whether someone’s claim relates to how much they’ve drunk. Insurers may choose not to pay out if they believe someone’s been drinking excessively – although, as we’ve highlighted, this doesn’t necessarily mean holidays should be totally alcohol-free. In each case, we’ll need to carefully weigh up all the evidence to decide, on balance, whether the insurer has made the right call.

Encouragingly, compared with recent years, we’re generally upholding fewer travel insurance complaints. This suggests – while there’s still clearly work to do – that many insurers are increasingly treating their customers in a fair and reasonable way.

Let’s hope that continues into the new year – as the holidays being booked right now become a reality. If holidaymakers put the right protection in place – and insurers continue to focus on getting things right – then, even if a trip doesn’t go to plan, making a claim won’t be any more stressful than it needs to be.

Caroline Wayman

Image: Caroline Wayman
chief ombudsman
Caroline Wayman
chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.