A British tourist has died in an Egyptian hospital after becoming ill on holiday. Although the man did have travel insurance, the insurance provider refused to pay for medical costs. As the man’s travel companion could not afford to immediately pay thousands of dollars in medical expenses, hospital staff switched off the man’s life support without even seeking permission.
The travel insurance was voided because it was determined that alcohol was a factor in the man’s hospitalisation. Once the hospital staff were informed of the insurance provider’s refusal to pay, they asked the man’s travel companion to pay the bill of more than $12,000 upfront. She could not and the hospital stopped providing treatment, switching off the machines that were keeping the British tourist alive.
Most travel insurance policies do have a clause that excludes cover for incidents that occur when the traveller is under the influence of alcohol. But the exact terms vary between policies. Some insurers will not cover anything that happens when a traveller is under the influence of alcohol. Others will only refuse to pay out if alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident. Most policies have similar exclusions for travellers under the influence of drugs, unless they were prescribed by a doctor.
According to some sources, the man’s failure to declare a pre-existing medical condition may have also been a factor in the insurance claim being denied.
This tragic tale serves as a timely reminder of the importance of travel insurance. But just being insured is not enough. It’s equally important to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully so that you know what is and isn’t covered, and to declare any pre-existing medical conditions.
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