A new piece of research has found that travel insurance companies are turning down more and more claims for accidents that happen after you’ve been drinking or taking any kind of drugs.
The findings from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) showed that many of the UK’s 20 leading travel insurers are clamping down on holiday drinking by including more stringent alcohol and drugs exclusions. The stark fact is that the amount of alcohol you’ve had could invalidate your claim.
When is a ‘few’ too many?
My initial thought was – where do insurers draw the line? Having a few drinks when you’re on holiday is par for the course for most of us. You can easily have a few early-evening cocktails, some wine with dinner and a couple of nightcaps without overdoing it. But will this be deemed acceptable by insurers if you do have a mishap?
The second question that popped into my head was – how can they prove how much you’ve had to drink? If you’ve fallen over a sun lounger or slipped on some sun cream, the last thing on your mind will be exactly how many drinks you’ve had. Of course, if you had an accident and needed to give a blood sample in the course of medical treatment, it would be possible to gauge your blood alcohol level.
Different definitions don’t help
The problem seems to be that insurers set their levels with alcohol exclusions very differently. Some companies talk about excluding claims arising from ‘excessive intake’, while others are more specific.
One insurance company excludes ‘claims arising directly or indirectly from a blood alcohol level that exceeds 0.19%’. That’s about four pints or four 175ml glasses of wine to you and me.
Another insurer talks about drinking so much alcohol ‘that your judgement is seriously affected’. There’s the worry that the vagueness of some definitions will open the way for companies to dispute valid claims.
What’s your tipple?
These sort of exclusions tend to give travel insurance companies a bad name, but aren’t they sensible to include? Why should the insurer foot the bill if you’ve got smashed abroad and ended up hurting yourself?
Or is this the reason you buy insurance in the first place, with these terms being just another way for companies to make sure they can avoid paying claims if something untoward occurs while you’re away?