Holiday Insurance

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Steve Pitts
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Post by Steve Pitts » Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:40 pm

Hi Steve

You posed a question, in a personal email to me the other day and I thought that I would share my views with you via the forum.

Your question related to the latest advice from the Foriegn and Commonwealth Office to travellers to Tobago which reads -

Trinidad and Tobago

You should be aware that there are increasing levels of violent crime, especially shootings and kidnappings. British nationals have been victims of recent violent attacks, particularly in Tobago where law enforcement is weak and where we recommend against staying at villas in the south west around the Mount Irvine Golf Club.

Your question was 'Is it true that this advice will automatically invalidate the travel insurance of those people staying in the Mt Irvin area?'

My Initial response was -

An interesting question - and one to which I don't have a definitve answer, but -

I am inclined to say that the statement you quote is not true, in general - after all, there are varying levels of FCO warnings (see examples further on)

I really think that it boils down to each insurer. I think though, that if the FCO has put a no-go warning on specific destinations, it is paramount that the policy holder should contact their insurance company to confirm IN WRITING FROM A SENIOR UNDERWRITER that they would be FULLY covered, or to confirm any SPECIFIC exclusions that may apply.

I would not limit this advice to just travel insurance either. Health insurance, Income protection and specified items on a household policy (cameras, jewlery/watches, sports equipment, laptops) could fall foul of any restriction or limitations - should the insurance company operate a FCO related clause. It would always be best to check first, rather than take things for granted.

It should be pointed out that the FCO will issue warnings for a number of reasons - high crime rate, risk through health and desease, risk of personal injury (through natural disaster), risk of terrorism / kidnap etc.

In terms of the latest warnings ref. Mt Irvin, I doubt that many, if any insurance companies would impose a blanket exclusion on anyone staying or visiting the area.

Here's what limited info. I have been able to glean 08:00 Saturday 3rd MARCH

From the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website

Where are you planning to go - Sometimes it may not be considered safe to travel to certain destinations. If you are unsure, check the Know Before You Go section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for advice about your destination.

Above link to FCO reads -

Top Tips

Check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice or call 0845 850 2829.
Get travel insurance and check that the cover is appropriate.
However, you should check the small print of your insurance policy very carefully to see if any exclusions might apply. Exclusions could include injury or death through acts of terrorism or nature; accidents caused through drinking alcohol or engaging in dangerous sports (and the list of these varies from policy to policy); or problems arising from a previous illness that you have not declared to the insurer. If you are not sure whether you are covered for any of the above, you should check with your insurer.

Take reasonable care - All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times. If you don’t, the policy may not pay out. Look after your possessions as though they were not insured.

Important exclusions

Claims arising from ongoing medical conditions that you suffer from before you take out the insurance;
Claims arising from your participation in hazardous activities or some adventure activities such as horse riding, skiing, scuba diving or cycle touring (listed activities vary).
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are planning to participate in any potentially hazardous activities and you want these to be covered, you must tell the insurer before you travel to confirm whether they will cover you for claims arising from these causes. If in doubt ask your insurer.
ENDS


It's a bit like playing ping-pong - you go from one site to the other, without a definitive answer.

If you can give me a day or two, I will ring around a few insurers to ask them if they have any concerns about Mt Irvin and Tobago.

Cheers
Steve


UPDATE

I have now telephoned 6 major insurance companies and none have said that this FCO warning would invalidate their travel policies - but my original advice and that of the ABI and FCO still stands for those due to visit - check it out thoroughly with your insurance company before you go.

To put the warning into perspective, it's worth relaying an additional comment that appears on the FCO website and compare this with what we know.
Tobago Crime

Crime against tourists in Tobago and the inability of the Tobago authorities to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators is a serious concern.

What we do know is that, whilst the clear-up rate for serious crime on Tobago is not 100%, most of the robberies and violent crimes that have occured in recent years have been cleared up and the crimes have been met with very severe sentences for those involved.

Thankfully - crimes like these are extremely rare, so please don't have nightmares. Goodnight (cue Crimewatch music)

Cheers
Steve

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:54 pm

Thanks for clearing that up Steve.

May I please apologise to the three or four people to whom I mentioned the possibility that their holiday insurance might be invalid if staying in Mount Irvine. Sadly, I took the word of a normally reliable English contact at face value and repeated his advice before fully checking it out with an insurance professional.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

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Steve Pitts
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Post by Steve Pitts » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:51 am

As I say in my post Steve, I think it unlikely that travel insurance companies would exclude cover for the Mt Irvin area specifically, nor for Tobago itself for that matter.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who does find their cover has been modified on the grounds of the FCO bulletin, but am not expecting a torrent of replies.

Cheers
Steve

Corney

Insurance

Post by Corney » Sat Mar 11, 2006 2:30 pm

Steves thanks for this thread. I raised the issue a few week's ago having had a previous experience where an FCO advisory advised against all travel to a specific destination.

On my annual policy I have a notation for one country in the Middle East wherein the certificate notes I am covered for travel there but in checking today was told by my insurer who I got to look at the FCO site and the advice on Tobago while I was on line:

"As long as the advisory does not say we advise against travel to.... and merely says we recommend travellers do not.... then travel insurance is valid."

Paul

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Steve Pitts
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Post by Steve Pitts » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:16 am

This thread might be more obvious to folks, due to its topic heading, but there is also a general advice on travel Insurance article in the odds and sods section.

Here's the link - http://www.mytobago.info/insurance.php

Cheers
Steve

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