Watchdog slams travel insurers' medical 'get-out' clauses

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Travel insurance companies attacked for get out clausesPA


The consumer watchdog Which? has attacked travel insurance companies after record numbers of complaints from Brits who say they have been cheated by medical 'get out' clauses.

Its investigation has found that insurers change terms after policies are sold, often leaving travellers without any cover.

In a survey of 1,876 members, one third said that when they told their insurance provider about a new medical condition after buying their policy, they were forced to pay a higher premium or had their cover removed.

Examples include one Which? member who took out insurance for a trip to the US with Staysure. Three weeks before he was due to travel he was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukaemia. His doctor told him he was fit to travel but when he informed Staysure he was told that, on top of his original £118.41 policy, he'd have to pay £925.63 or cancel his trip and make a claim.

Another member took out annual insurance with InsureandGo but was diagnosed with an early stage of skin cancer a couple of weeks before he was due to travel to Los Angeles. His doctor also said he was fit to travel but InsureandGo refused to cover him for the new condition, or for other conditions the policy had originally covered.

Which? says that these cases are happening despite a ruling from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) several years ago that it was generally not fair for insurers to refuse to cover new medical conditions that arose between the customer buying the policy and the start of the trip.

The consumer watchdog says that more complaints about the issue are being recieved than ever before. It said the FOS now receives around 50 complaints every month, more than double than those they were receiving three years ago.
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