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Travellers facing insurance suprises

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04/10/2006

Holidaymakers’ travel insurance may not cover them for the ‘security threat’ currently facing the UK. Andrew Partridge reports  

Air travellers have been warned that their insurance may not cover them for the threat of a terrorist action, as their policy will only cover losses, damage or injury caused by a terrorist act.

Defaqto, the financial research company, said that while disruption to travel plans would be caused after the Government raised the security threat level facing the UK to critical, many holiday makers whose flights were delayed or cancelled would not be able to claim on their insurance.

It said that claiming for delays was a difficult process for consumers even if they had sufficient cover, as the terms could be onerous. Usually the traveller has to be able to prove that they checked in, and then wait the necessary eight or 12 hours before a claim can be made. The airline also normally needs to provide a letter stating the cause of the delay or cancellation.

Defaqto also warned travellers that the new rules preventing people taking hand baggage into the cabin meant people should think more carefully about the items they took with them.

Travellers will now have to place any valuable items in the aircraft’s hold, and any loss of these items in transit may not be covered as many travel policies require valuables to be ‘attended’ by the owner. However, some home insurance policies will allow the traveller to claim for loss as ‘goods away from the home’.

Brian Brown, associate director at Defaqto, said: “Travellers should avoid taking expensive equipment with them if possible, or make sure they place their valuables in a secure suitcase. Emergencies of this type do expose the strict terms of travel insurance policies and will encourage travellers to examine their own policies to see how well they address these circumstances”.

AA Insurance is also advising travellers to contact their insurer if they are uncertain about the level of cover their holiday travel insurance offers.

It also warned travellers who did not want to travel because of the terrorist threat that their insurance would not pay out if they cancelled.
 

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