A while back, I explained how a bad experience taught me the value of never travelling without travel insurance. I lost my passport and getting a temporary one to get me home and a replacement proved to be very expensive. Basically, I spent what it would have cost for me to buy travel insurance for about 20 years on replacing that passport. Yet, if I had bought a policy before I travelled all of the costs I had to pay would have been covered.
So, I am now officially a big fan of travel insurance. But, the other day, I was reading about travel class actions and realized that there are still quite a few eventualities that are not very well covered by travel insurance policies.
An example of when you might not be fully covered
To help you to wrap your head around this slightly surprising state of affairs here is an example. You book a cruise. Everything is going well until on day 3 Norovirus breaks out onboard. It gets so bad that the ship has to return to port early.
So, you claim on your travel insurance. Only to learn that the coverage you bought just covers your medical expenses. Unfortunately, because you left booking your travel insurance until just a few days before your date of travel trip interruption coverage is not included. So, you cannot be compensated for the days of the cruise you did not get to enjoy, by your travel insurance company. If you look at the terms and conditions of many policies, to get trip interruption coverage you have to take out the travel insurance a few weeks before you are due to leave.
The only way you could hope to get compensated for those lost days and the day trips you had already paid for would be if the cruise company paid out. Often, they will do so, eventually, after a lot of letter writing and phone calls. But, not always as much as you feel you deserve. Plus, most companies are not prepared to pay compensation for the discomfort Norovirus sufferers’ experience, while ill.
In that situation, to get a fair settlement, you would have to argue with the cruise company and maybe end up taking them court. A long and potentially expensive procedure that could easily leave you feeling like you needed another holiday. Basically, you are up against a huge company, doing everything on your own without really knowing the right way to proceed. Unsurprisingly, when faced with this situation, most people just give up and cut their losses.
Consider a class action
But, there is another way. You could club together with other holidaymakers who have suffered in a similar way to you. If you hire a class-action lawyer it is possible for you to act as a group. He or she will be able to use what is likely to be a big body of evidence to put together a strong case that cannot be ignored. Usually, the travel firm changes its mind and pays fair compensation to everyone involved in the action. You can read about that type of class-action, here.
Hopefully, you will never experience a situation like that. But, if you should find yourself in a situation where your travel insurance does not fully cover a holiday disaster you know about a potential alternative solution.