I returned home from holidays early after my Mam died. Now my travel insurer refuses to pay out - what can I do?
Director of Communications and Market Insight with the CCPC Aine Carroll answers your questions.
Question: My mother passed away due to an ongoing heart condition when I was on holidays. She had been in hospital a few weeks before we went away but had been doing well. When I tried to make a claim with my travel insurer for the costs we paid to return home early, it refused the claim - saying I was not covered as I knew about her illness before I went. Can I appeal?
Sarah, Carlingford, Co Louth
Answer: Your claim can be refused for a number of reasons, including if you're claiming in relation to a pre-existing health condition suffered by an immediate relative - unless you told your insurer in advance and it accepted that risk. If your claim is refused, your insurance company or broker must write to you to explain the reasons your claim was refused. It should also give you details of how to appeal the decision.
If you feel your claim should not have been refused, check the details of your policy to see what the terms and conditions say in relation to the reason for the claim being refused. Check that you gave all the correct details when you took out your policy. Note down or highlight the exact wording in your policy which you think covers your situation. Keep a note if the wording is poorly explained or unclear as your insurance company must give you clear information.
If you think you have grounds for appeal, contact your travel insurer and make a written complaint explaining how you would like the issue resolved. If you cannot resolve your complaint with the company, make sure to get the final response letter from them, especially if you intend to escalate the complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO). Finally, if you bought your travel insurance from a travel agent as part of a package, you can contact the Irish Travel Agents Association (as opposed to the FSO) with your complaint.