Why Bother With Insurance

Do you really need it?

One of the reasons insurers do not refer to travel insurance as ‘overseas or abroad insurance’ is that cover normally applies from the moment the individual purchases their travel insurance as an insurance policy is designed to protect the value of the booking under the Pre-departure Cancellation Section of the policy.

A young lady booked a gap year travel arrangement through a tour operator based in the UK more than 12 months before her scheduled departure date. The total cost of the booking including the return air flight, all accommodation and a numerous list of activities came to just under £3,500. In order to secure the flight and her place on the volunteer project in South Africa the full cost of the booking had to be paid in advance as opposed to just before she was scheduled to depart. In order to comply with the company’s booking conditions, she sensibly arranged a travel insurance policy as recommended by her travel company on the understanding that it was designed to cover all of the sporting and hazardous activities she was planning to undertake whilst travelling overseas. Several months later having completed her exams her mother started to display symptoms of an unknown illness which necessitated hospital treatment. Two weeks prior to the planned departure date and having completed her extensive shopping list to cover the 12 months of her overseas trip in South Africa her mother’s condition unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. The treating doctors decided that the young girl’s mother would require surgery of a serious nature which, in turn, would require several months of intensive rehabilitation therapy. The young lady made the decision to cancel her gap year project just 2 weeks before the departure date on the basis that she would be needed to help her mother recover from her operation. Having fortunately arranged her travel insurance at the time of booking before her mother’s condition was first diagnosed, she was able to claim back the cost of the entire trip itinerary from her travel insurers and was only out of pocket to the sum of £50 being to the policy excess.

Had no travel insurance been purchased when the original booking was made, or if she had arranged her insurance after her mother’s medical condition had first been diagnosed, then under the terms of the booking conditions with her travel company, the entire cost of the trip would have been deemed non-refundable meaning she would have been several thousand pounds out of pocket and without the money to re-book her travel itinerary at a later date.


It is not only the time between booking and departing that a travel insurance policy comes into its own, as a German student found to his detriment. Having chosen to travel to Australia on his gap year he booked his flights directly with the airline and decided to make his own accommodation and travel arrangements upon his arrival.

Given the independent nature of his trip and without any fixed itinerary, he decided not to bother purchasing a travel insurance policy to cover him for the full duration of the 12 months he planned to stay and travel around Australia. Instead he decided to ‘save’ a few pounds by just purchasing a 4-day travel insurance policy to cover just the outgoing flight in the event that he fell ill and had to cancel prior to his scheduled departure date. He was under the misapprehension that the reciprocal health agreement offered by the Australian state government called Medicare would be sufficient to adequately cover him free of charge without the need to purchase a proper travel insurance policy.

Suffice to say after 11and a half months of thoroughly enjoying himself travelling around Southern Australia he was unfortunate enough to suffer a serious accident whilst horse riding on a beach near Brisbane. Part of the injuries he sustained included a fracture of his wrist and cracked three ribs. Having been treated in the local hospital and only incurring minor costs for the medical treatment not covered under the Medicare scheme he was discharged from the hospital a day after he was originally scheduled to fly home. With his arm in a sling and still feeling very tender and sore he arrived at the check-in desk with his flight ticket to be advised by the check-in staff that he would not be allowed to fly without a nurse escort given the nature of his injuries. Having checked with several other airlines they all advised him of exactly the same procedure in that following injuries such as the ones he sustained all airlines would require a qualified medical nurse to accompany him on his flight home for any air travel within the next six weeks. He contacted his parents back home in the Germany and he finally arranged for a qualified medical nurse to fly from Germany to Brisbane to accompany him on the flight back home. The total cost of the nurse escorted repatriation was in excess of €15,000, costs he could well have avoided had he arranged adequate travel insurance to cover him for the full duration of the trip including the horse riding activity.

The moral of the story is to make sure you don’t skimp on something as important as your travel insurance, or it may end up costing you dearly.



To arrange cover or to obtain a quotation, please contact our Insurance Brokers Campbell Irvine. Click here to apply for travel insurance ONLINE. (opens in a new window)

"We have arranged travel insurance with specialist Insurance Brokers Campbell Irvine who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. This can be checked on the FSA's register by visiting the FSA's website at www.fsa.gov.uk or by contacting them on 0845 606 1234. YOMPS is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine Ltd"

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