Holidays are meant to be a time, whether for a few days or a few weeks, where we can unwind and leave the stresses of the daily grind behind us. But holidays don’t always go to plan. Just because we’re abroad, it doesn’t make us immune to medical emergencies or valuables being stolen. Thankfully, there is the option to add travel insurance to any holiday package, giving the traveller peace of mind that they are covered from harm.
But what if your insurance isn’t what it says it is?
In 2014, travel giants Ryanair and EasyJet were collectively fined more than £820,000 by an Italian watchdog for mis-selling travel insurance to unsuspecting holiday-makers. Both companies were found to have ‘infringed consumer code by not supplying adequate information or by giving misleading information’. This included lack of clarity around policy or the additional taxes and airport charges. Claimants were then scalded further by hefty call fees when making a claim due to the need to use a premium-rate phone number.
Cases of a similar vein were reported regularly. In 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigated 15 firms offering mis-sold home, car, and travel insurance to customers. More recently, in September 2021, Allianz was fined AU$1.5million by the Australian Courts for mis-selling travel insurance to ‘ineligible customers and not properly disclosing how it calculated premiums on Expedia websites’. To put the scale of the issue in perspective, Allianz committed AU$10 million to compensate 31,500 customers.
What constitutes the mis-selling of travel insurance?
According to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the most common types of complaints made regarding mis-sold travel insurance are:
- Customers who would have not bought a policy if they had known about a particular feature
- Customers who would have acted differently on their trip if they’d known about exclusions in their policy
Both statements boil down to consumers who have bought an insurance package that was misleading or not transparent and therefore did not meet the needs and expectations of the consumer. Or incorrect advice was given which caused a consumer to purchase insurance that was unnecessary and potentially very costly.
What to do if you think you have been mis-sold travel insurance
- Check all your policy documents thoroughly, especially the fine print, and ensure any exclusions, excess or specific terms and conditions haven’t been missed by you or the claimant.
- Ensure you showcased care and diligence throughout your trip and didn’t exacerbate potential risks and that you disclosed all the correct information to your insurer, such as pre-existing medical conditions.
- Next, with all the information necessary gathered, write a letter of complaint to your insurer. If you don’t hear back from your insurer within eight weeks, this is reason to take your case further.
- Contact a law firm specialising in financial mis-selling such as RHL Solicitors, which can take on your case quickly and efficiently, ensuring you receive the help and support you deserve.
If you believe that you have been mis-sold a travel insurance product that was misleading, lacked clarity, or was something you didn’t need but were sold anyway, get in touch with our financial mis-selling team here.