FSPO highlights travel insurance complaints: 656 complaints received from 2019 - 2021
Consumers urged to take the time to consider their travel insurance needs well before they depart on holiday this summer
23 May 2022: In advance of the summer holiday season, the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) is highlighting the types of complaints it receives concerning travel insurance, details of which are contained in the FSPO’s Digest of Decisions on travel insurance complaints. The Digest features a selection of 20 decisions which were issued following complaints concerning travel insurance made to the FSPO. The decisions, and the circumstances leading to the complaints, highlight important factors for consumers to consider before they go on holiday, including whether their policy will suit their needs and how certain claims were dealt with by insurers.
The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (Acting), MaryRose McGovern, said:
“At this time of year, many of us are making holiday plans and looking forward to a much-needed break. Many people will take out a travel insurance policy to provide some protection if things don’t go as hoped. With all financial products, it is so important to understand what you are buying and to be aware that not all insurance policies are the same. Some of the complaints we have received in the FSPO highlight that the consumer believed they had cover under their travel insurance policy for certain events or circumstances, only to discover that they did not, and their claim was refused. If you are making holiday plans for this year and thinking about taking out a travel insurance policy, I would urge you to take some time to ensure that any policy you decide to purchase, will provide the cover you expect.
We have published a Digest of Decisions, which features 20 decisions issued following complaints made to the FSPO concerning a travel insurance policy. Many of the complaints featured in the Digest concern circumstances where policy holders cancelled their holiday arrangements due to medical issues. With travel insurance policies, it is very important to be aware that cancellations arising from medical conditions that existed before the policy was taken out, may not be covered. In addition, some people may not be aware of the potential impact of medical investigations, or even blood tests, that are not disclosed at the time the policy is purchased. These decisions highlight an important point, that if you have a medical condition, undiagnosed medical complaint or are undergoing medical investigations at the time you take out a travel insurance policy, you must inform your insurer so that it can determine whether it has any effect on your policy cover.
_The decisions in this Digest highlight the difficult circumstances leading to the complaints made to this Office. Matters concerning illness, cancellation of much-anticipated holiday plans and thefts while abroad are difficult events for the people concerned. Crucially, many of these decisions highlight circumstances where the complainant cancelled their holiday. In order to ensure that you have cover for cancellation in certain circumstances, you should take out your policy as soon as you book your holiday. Buying insurance just before you go may give you cover for events and circumstances while abroad, but may not provide you with any protection if you need to cancel your holiday plans_.”
The Digest highlights the wide range of issues giving rise to complaints concerning travel insurance and the difficult circumstances leading to those complaints. Some examples of complaint outcomes in the decisions published include:
In addition to publishing Digests of Decisions, the FSPO’s Database of Decisions on www.fspo.ie has the full text of over 1,600 decisions and includes decisions issued up to the end of January 2022. By publishing legally binding decisions and Digests of Decisions, the Ombudsman aims to enhance transparency and understanding of the powers and the services provided by the FSPO.
The full Database of Decisions can be accessed at https://www.fspo.ie/decisions/
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