Insurance has a reputation of being dull and boring. Insurers are doing their best to be killjoys. If you drink while on holiday, even if not drunk, insurers may refuse to cover you for any accidents.
For thousands of Britons who go on skiing holidays every year, the après ski is as important as what happens on the slopes. Enthusiasts have been warned that their travel insurance policies could be invalidated if they suffer an accident after drinking alcohol.
A new report from price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com has found that no travel insurer will honour a claim if an injury is suffered as a result of being under the influence of alcohol.
Every year, Britons drink £4.5 billion worth of alcohol on overseas holidays and the report warns that many could be left to pay their own medical bills if they ski after drinking.
British men are in danger of making fewer successful claims than women, as they spend over £100 on alcohol on overseas jaunts, compared to women at under £70 each. The average Scot shells out only £72 on holiday booze.
The maximum you can drink and be safe in the knowledge your claim won't be turned down is under the UK legal driving limit - regardless of which country you are in.
Travel insurance clause
Peter Gerrard, head of insurance research at moneysupermarket.com, says: "In most cases, there is no way the insurer will know if your claim is as a result of you having too much to drink. However, if your insurer does find out - if, for example, it is included in a medical report when an injury is treated - they could void your claim. It’s a little-known fact that travel insurance policies have a clause stating if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an incident, your policy may be rendered invalid. Enjoying a drink on holiday is not a crime, but it is important that people try to be sensible about alcohol consumption."
All insurers are very strict about underwriting alcohol in their policy exclusions. Most insurers do not cover you for any claim directly or indirectly resulting from the misuse of alcohol or you being under the influence of alcohol or drugs except those prescribed by your medical practitioner, but not when prescribed for treatment of drug addiction.
Drinking and skiing do not mix
And you may have to abstain completely if you are planning a ski holiday to the US. The nation that brought us mineral water business lunches goes even further. In the US you often get breathalysed before you go on the slopes. It's frowned upon to drink. Although drinking and skiing do not mix, many people like a wine or beer at lunch before skiing. In the US this can invalidate insurance, and "jobsworths" can stop you skiing.
As well as alcohol-related injuries on skiing holidays, insurers will refuse to pay out for medical bills incurred on drink-fuelled stag or hen weekends or boozy beach barbecues. Travellers who require medical attention but are over the UK drink-drive limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood will not be covered.
Peter Gerrard, of the website Moneysupermarket. com says: "There was a well-publicised incident of a girl who fell off a balcony in Turkey. She had been drinking - but was not drunk - and the insurer refused to pay out."
Travel Health insurance: News update: 10 Oct 2007