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Michael Browne

A couple of drinks? We won't pay, say travel insurers

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Holidaymakers who have an accident or fall ill while on holiday risk having their travel insurance claim turned down if they have had just two alcoholic drinks.


The Financial Ombudsman Service, which adjudicates on consumer complaints, has warned that insurers are increasingly accusing customers of "alcohol abuse" in order to wriggle out of paying claims.


It has disclosed the details of cases to highlight the issue. In one, the insurer insisted that a customer suffered from "alcoholism" even when medical evidence showed that they had consumed no more than two alcoholic drinks.


Travel claims are most commonly rejected if a customer is accused of not declaring a medical condition. However, the ombudsman has reported a rise in complaints over insurers using alcohol consumption as an excuse to avoid paying.




travel insurance – alcohol exclusions


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I can remember reading a few cases of Brits in hospital abroad where UK Insurers were refusing to pay for the treatment because apparently alcohol may have caused the accident. In one case where the person needed air ambulance to come back to the UK, the friends/family had to raise many thousands of pounds to pay for them to come back to the UK, as the Insurers would not reconsider, even though it was only a couple of glasses of wine.


Most people on holiday enjoy a few drinks as a way of relaxing. Travel Insurers must realise that consumption of some alcohol is part of a holiday and as Travel Insurers they should have considered this risk when calculating their premiums. I can understand them declining a claim if someone gets so drunk that they jump from a hotel balcony, but some cases don't appear to be like that.

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