MPs demand tougher travel insurance rules

Tougher rules are needed to govern the sale of travel insurance as millions of holidaymakers would not be covered by their policies in some circumstances, say MPs.

The Treasury Select Committee claim that around 10 million travellers in 2006 would not have been covered for medical costs in the event of a terrorism incident.

It also says that many people are unaware of exclusions relating to pre-existing medical conditions such as pregnancy. It criticises insurance policies sold by travel agents or tour operators.

Treasury committee chair John McFall MP highlighted a problem: "All too often, exclusions are buried in the small print of insurance policies. Holidaymakers are risking damage to their health or considerable financial loss if they require treatment while abroad or repatriation to the UK."

When commenting on this, even insurer association ABI has had to admit: “Terrorism cover is available for everyone who wants to buy it. Over a half of all travel insurance policies already cover the cost of medical treatment following a terrorist attack."

The ABI misses the point that many travellers will assume terrorism cover is automatically included.

It is rarely easy for a customer to judge whether a travel policy includes terrorism. Exactly what is covered for those with even minor health problems varies greatly by policy.

If you are worried whether or not your travel policy covers areas such as terrorism, pre- existing conditions, full cover for older people, ask the provider. If unhappy with the answer or they fob you off with a vague “It will be sorted out if you have to claim” go elsewhere, there are hundreds of alternatives.


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