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Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

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Loch Lomond
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Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

We were supposed to arrive in Bangkok on 21 November. With the flooding situation there and the UK FCO advising people to travel only if it is essential we decided to cancel.

We checked our travel insurance policy (with the appropriately named Essential Travel Insurance) and it clearly stated that the policy would be void if we ignored FCO advice.I thought that was a clear indication that they used this advice as their yardstick in situations like this.

Imagine my surprise when I contacted them and was told that I was not covered for cancellations that were caused by weather related problems. This means that on the one hand they are telling people that they should obey the FCO advice and on the other they are saying that if you do so you will not be covered.

What a despicable way to treat customers.

Newcastle, Australia
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11. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

HI Alex

I would fight this one. I cannot see anywhere in the PDS where this is stated. (I work in Travel Insurance and even with a $150,000 per year policy they can try avoid payment). I must admit I did put in a quote on essentials site - and found it awfully cheap and a hell of a lot of exclusion in the policy which makes me worry.

But there is no mention of weather for cancellation - make them provide you with where this is documented. As it clearly says - as you mentioned - that if FCO says not to go then you shouldn't.

There are two problems they could jag you on - although a bit technical:

1-from policy cancellation section - b) Circumstances known to You prior to the date this insurance is purchased by You or the time of

booking any Trip (whichever is the earlier) which

could reasonably have been expected to give rise

to Cancellation or Curtailment of the Trip.

*So if you booked whilst warnings were out then you are boned - like Birdseye said above they can stop that side of coverage

and 2 - under Special conditions relating to claims - 1. It is a condition of the policy that You contact the Emergency Assistance Service prior to any

Curtailment of Your Trip.

Regardless though it worth fighting - I have found personally when travelling too, that they hope that you will lay down. I was told once when my luggage was stolen, that I would not get my luggage replaced unless i could provide a receipt for each and every item - I fought back and asked then if they kept receipts for every t-shirt and pair of shoes they owned - they immediately said fine just get quotes for replacement values (that matched police report).

So my lesson personally and now where I work is ARGUE! It can't hurt and what you have done is far more researched and compliant with the policy than most travellers.

Good luck!

Pattaya, Thailand
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12. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

What I am saying its perfectly safe in most of Thailand, and right now SUK area is fine in Bangkok. For the most part embassy's are full of muppets working there. (perhaps save that for another topic :P)

If an insurance isnt going to cover you because of weather cancellation than u lose your dosh either way. I really do not see any problem and risk is minimal. So I guess comes down to losing your dosh and getting nowt back.

Sydney
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13. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

If the holiday was booked before the Gov' travel fore warnings on 'non essential travel' were implimented,then there is a valid case to contest the terms and conditions of the under writers policy..If not then you are in for a long term battle unfortunately!As US has pointed out it maybe a good idea to check with your airline on the position of traveltheir waiver policy at this moment..as these are changing on a daily/weekly basis due to localised flood conditions.As for accomodation it will not do any harm to contact the hotel direct and also try and get a waiver out of them for later travel as some may come to the party due to the impending situation.Good luck anyway!

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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14. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

The FCO advice is not preventing you from fulfilling your holiday situation in Bangkok - yet! The weather is not preventing you from fulfilling your holiday - yet! If you have other destinations in your itinerary other than Bangkok then the insurance company will take the view that you have other options other than cancelling your entire holiday and claiming for those costs. Since the Icelandic volcanic ash situation a couple of years ago ( in which we and thousands of others were caught up and didn't get a bean brom our insurers other than travel delay costs) insurers have tightened up their policies and T&Cs where "weather", "Acts of God" and "FCO advice" are concerned.

Loch Lomond
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15. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

<The FCO advice is not preventing you from fulfilling your holiday situation in Bangkok - yet!>

The FCO issued the following warning, which is still current.

"The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to the 24 provinces in Thailand (including Bangkok) identified by the Thai authorities as affected by flooding."

Part of our holiday consisted of seven days in Bangkok and this was one of the main reasons for going to Thailand. Apart from the fact that this warning voids my travel insurance the bottom line is that if I cannot spend time in Bangkok then I don't want to go to Thailand right now. it was not my intention to be be marooned on an island in the CBD. Obviously I wanted to be able to travel around the city.

We also had time booked in Hua Hin but I understand that the main road to Hua Hin is now flooded too. There are warnings of the threat of malaria, cholera, dengue fever, skin problems etc. so I would say that this is not the ideal place to visit right now. Can you blame me?

ShaeMc I will get back onto them today.

.

Edited: 09 November 2011, 09:26
Poulton Le Fylde...
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16. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

The FCO advice at this stage is regarded as an "advisory". Unlike when they and other countries upgraded that advisory to "no travel at all" to Bangkok during the Red Shirt protests. Therefore, it becomes an insurance matter to argue with your insurers purely on the basis of what cover you took out, when and for what purpose (ie area of travel) and then how their detailed T&Cs address your particular situation. The fact that you may not be able to do what you had personally planned to do in and around Bangkok is, I fear, the stumbling point. We all know that most insurers will stick rigidly to their interpretation of their T&Cs to avoid paying out.

It's upto you whether you cancel of course and potentially lose everything and fight it say through the Insurance Ombudsman or whether to hang on a bit until the situation becomes clearer.

Sorry, I wasn't aware of the situation re transferring to Hua Hin, I thought that was still OK.

Pattaya, Thailand
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17. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

Alex_Andraya - u are quite amusing with the list of diseases. You forgot the chance of being bit by a croc or snake too.

Faire enough if main reason was Bangkok then makes little sense to go there unless u are transiting or staying in the CBD.

Loch Lomond
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18. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

<The FCO advice at this stage is regarded as an "advisory".>

Yes, but my point is that the insurance company consider this warning important enough to void the insurance so they cannot have it both ways.

Their list of exclusions (which void the insurance) includes ...

"12. Your travel to a country or specific area or event to which the Travel Advice Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)* or the World Health Organisation (WHO) or similar body has advised against all or all but essential travel."

Edited: 09 November 2011, 10:08
Buckinghamshire...
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19. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

Well you need to make a decision.

If you actually read the FCO website it says the following:

"The overall level of the advice has not changed. We advise against all but essential travel to the 24 provinces in Thailand identified by the Thai authorities as affected by flooding. This includes the city of Bangkok, but does not include transit through Suvarnabhumi international airport. Flights to destinations elsewhere in Thailand (e.g. the resorts of Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui) continue to operate normally."

I believe there are 76 provinces in Thailand. So you still have options. Yes you may not be able to do Bangkok, but you can still transit through to other places and not lose the money.

As you still want to go to Bangkok you can either ignore the advice and go, or forfeit and lose out. Alternatively as you can transit through perhaps a visit to somewhere else nearby? Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat is a suggestion? Plenty of other places to visit if you use BKK as your starting hub.

Loch Lomond
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20. Re: Flooding Impact on Insurance - Catch 22 situation

Thank you, I have been reading the FCO advice at least twice a day for the last two weeks. I am very well aware of what it says to the point that I could almost recite it to you.

We have seven hotel nights booked in Bangkok. The travel company we booked through will not refund what we paid and the insurance company will not cover us for this. If we decide to go elsewhere we still lose out.