Get travel cover you really need
Published 03/06/2010 | 05:00
Did your travel insurance cover your cancelled flight during the snow in January? You didn't get your passport in time to travel in March? Chances are your insurance won't have covered you.
Then came the ash cloud and many people discovered that even if their policy covered cancelled flights, they couldn't claim anything at all.
Most bog standard travel insurance policies don't cover cancellation -- you'll have to buy a premium policy.
But as Diarmuid Kelly, CEO of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association, says: "Unfortunately, many will find that their policies don't cover claims arising from adverse weather conditions, a typical exclusion would be an act of God.
"Claims are generally not covered for the withdrawal from service of aircraft by order or recommendation of the regulatory authority in any country."
Kelly would like to see an external body, such as the Financial Regulator, review the use of 'act of God' exclusions to see if they're justifiable.
Ciaran Phelan, CEO of the Irish Brokers Association, believes that "while insurers may well review the terms and conditions in their travel insurance policies, consumers should not rely on them to do so".
If you're buying travel insurance, read the small print.
If you cancel due to an illness, your policy might not cover a pre-existing illness not disclosed in advance.
If your policy starts on the date of your holiday but you cancel a month earlier, you may not be covered as your policy hasn't started.
Some policies will cover you if you lose your job but only if you didn't know your job was under threat when you bought the policy.
Not all policies cover for missed connections for flights or cruises. If they do, they may need a certain length of time between connections (ie, three hours).
While a standard policy should cover you for basic activities such as horse riding or banana boating, you will need extra cover for winter or extreme sports.
Policies require you to prove the theft, so report theft to local police, hotel and tour representatives. Insurers will not provide cover if you are negligent.
Receipts or credit card statements might be sought for lost contents of luggage.
Some policies cap the amount for each item, and may exclude items such as ipods and cameras.
Injury / illness
Injury while drunk is generally not covered. If you have cover under your private health insurance, don't buy it again.
Check excess charges or buy an 'excess waiver' for around €10.