Are you sitting comfortably?

By Jeremy Clayton

So here you are sitting on a Fly 540 aircraft, either waiting for take-off or mid journey. You may be travelling to a business meeting, seeing family or friends, but let’s hope you are on vacation. Whatever you are doing we wish you an enjoyable flight.

So, what is this article about and why should you read it? Well, if we told you it was about hotels that served free food and drink all day and night or a place that allows you to drive Ferrari’s at 200 mph, you would probably read on. If we mentioned it was about Travel Insurance – you’d probably turn the page immediately, Nevertheless, please read on as it might just save you from a lot of heartache in the future.

Now whether this is a business or pleasure trip, the general advice to people is to buy Travel Insurance. Hopefully you will not need it, but things do happen, delayed departures, missed connections, illness, accidents, lost luggage, curtailment owing to family bereavements, loss of passports and other documents, etc. A lot of you may well have bought a simple inexpensive short period Travel policy, whether in Africa or from your home country. If you have, all well and good, but have you actually read it and does it provide you with the cover you need?

Sadly, the number of disputes relating to Travel Insurance claims continues to rise and the fundamental reason for this is the lack of information for the consumer. Perhaps when purchasing any Travel Insurance policy, we should adopt the UK system of providing ‘Key Facts’ – those ‘stand out’ points that could really make the difference between being insured or not.

For example, one of the most misunderstood conditions of any Travel policy relates to ‘pre-existing medical conditions’ and many a claim will be repudiated on this basis. You may feel perfectly healthy and able to travel, but have you told your Insurer that you are on blood pressure or cholesterol tablets? Perhaps you are asthmatic and use an inhaler, or perhaps you have had some cancer treatment, even something as a simple removal of a mole that was looking a little worrying, Some policies may even refer to any’ visits to your GP in a set period of time and this could be deemed to be ‘pre-existing’, so that day you saw the Doctor for that sore throat or flu like symptoms could catch you out.

What’s more, one of the biggest misunderstandings on Travel Insurance is the loss of your luggage and or cash. Firstly, there are usually some relatively low inner limits and if you are carrying your Louis Vuitton case, your Gucci dress or your Rolex watch(!), you should not be relying on your Travel policy. And if you like a nice big roll of cash with you, you might just be disappointed when you can only recover $250 or so from your policy. Finally, if you think you can leave your personal possessions on the beach when you go for that dip in the beautiful Indian Ocean, don’t! All policies have an unattended exclusion, so either you or your other half will have to stay put.

What we believe.

Please, please do not think we are in any way trying to put you off travelling, neither are we criticising standard Travel Insurance policies. At JW Seagon we believe in robust insurance policies that deliver when you need them most – so once you have that piece of paper in your possession (or the e-mail equivalent) – all your worries will be taken care of. The sad reality is this is not always the case with Travel Insurance – so it’s well worth paying attention to the small print, to avoid any bad surprises.