Travel insurance: Tall tales and true.

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Jan 13, 2013
Thought it would be useful to share some experiences gained whilst dealing with travel insurance companies. Twice I have had to try and negotiate or offer advice to family members during times of crisis. Whilst you are emotionally frail due to worry about your loved one is critically I'll, you are often not at your negotiating best. Most important learning I gained was that insurance companies are there to make a profit. Their dealing with you will be driven by this business approach. You need to adopt a business like approach too.
When my husband spent 2 weeks in intensive care and another 2 weeks in hospital it was suggested that he should fly straight home from UK. When I pointed out that this would be too taxing I was told that the pollution of stopping over in Asia on way home would prove detrimental to him and people felt much better flying all the way home. I asked for objective data to prove their stance. None was forthcoming. We had a stopover in K.L. Once you arrive home the insurers liability ceases.
This year a relative became ill due to virus which meant 4 weeks in an Italian hospital. The family wanted him to be provided with a mobile so we could keep in touch with him. Insurance call centre worker and then a manager said that the hospital had mobile phones. Indeed they did but they belonged to the Drs! The call centre level is only first level of gatekeepers. We should have escalated it sooner . DFAT scheduled meetings with local representative who never fronted. We should have looked at the General Insurance Code of Practice and maintained all negotiation in writing. Thanks to AFF member for giving me this link.
Another thing I learnt was that the traveller should leave a copy of the Insurer's policy with family members and it should be read thoroughly so you know your entitlements. Only after Hawthorn Travel escalated our case to their retailer senior manager who then pressured the wholesaler did we get any resolution. Only then were we told that the patient had been entitled to a $250 a day expenses allowance. Would have meant a mobile phone could have been purchased very early in piece.
I am sure many of you will have experienced tall tales told you by insurance company employees and will be able to share your experiences with AFF members.
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Happy Dude

Established Member
Oct 13, 2006
My one dealing with travel insurance was, thankfully, not of a medical nature. include "mechanical failure" of transport on their "will not pay" list.

That a travel insurance policy can have such exclusions is all the evidence I need that they aren't in it for anything other than profit.


Sep 17, 2010
Underwhelmed by YouGo insurance (a brand of Covermore). Barotrauma resulted in a 4/5-day 'not fit to fly' during what was supposed to be a 1-night stopover in Bali. Very difficult to get in contact with the help line and not responsive with direct messages on FB. Failed to follow up when they said they would, leaving me in limbo on my own for a couple of days. On return they emailed an old claim form to fill – which contained plenty of typos and unclear wording. On calling them to clarify wording, the rep figured it was an old form and sent a new form. The claim processing was delayed more than a month as they accidentally created duplicate claims, and once again didn't follow up in the timeframe promised. Despite filling out account details for EFT, the duplicate stuff-up ended up ignoring this and generating a physical cheque, which we still don't have.
Worst part of this I would say is the poor communication, particularly when O/S. Have had a previous claim with One Cover years ago and they were much better. Have had policies with Covermore (directly, not through a rebranded version like YouGo here) but haven't had to claim - not sure if that would be any better and not game to try now!
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