I landed up in a bit of a spat with my previous travel insurance provider. They kindly debited me renewed annual cover without telling me. To be fair, they presumably wrote to me but after refusing to move house for over five years, I seem to be migrating like a disturbed bison across the landscape of the city on a yearly basis (I blame plus one for this as I was far more ‘settled’ before him) and I missed the mail notification.
Who USES snail mail anyway? They refused to send me paper copies of my policy documents and I had to retrieve everything off the computer but they chose to POST the auto renewal notification?
I landed up trying to cancel it. There was a dodgy clause implying if I had seen a doctor or been near a hospital at all in the last year, they may exclude any treatments abroad that COULD be related to the reason I was near the hospital in the first place. In my previous experience this means if you go see someone because you sprained your wrist, insurance writes off your entire arm regardless of the fact that the doctor has now deemed you have a growth in your elbow or something, the ‘wrist injury may have been a side effect of the growth’ blah blah blah…
Acquiring a new policy proved harder than one would expect. You have to read the fine print on what is excluded. Plus one has been dying to go paragliding, despite the fact that I have a terrible fear of heights and I’d be swept off the ground on the equivalent of a huge kite with no string to ground me. This is not covered by travel insurance. (I ignored this exclusion because he has run out of money to try bully me into this activity, thank goodness.)
More importantly, one policy stated that ‘it is an unnecessary luxury used by doctors to rip off tourists that you should go to a private clinic. Our policy clearly states you will go to a public hospital where facilities and quality of care are more than adequate and often better than what you will find at a place recommended by a hotel to fleece travellers.’
That probably is true in most of the first world. It is even true in some parts of the second and third world. But I am still offended that you think I have no choice in this and that if I was hit by a bus you would move me bleeding to a public facility so that I’m not being ripped off as a tourist?!
The fact is, if it was something minor, I’d probably just pay and not bother claim, which I have done once before in search of antibiotics for a tummy bug in South East Asia.
But if it was serious, I’d like to think my health came above someone’s bottom line.
The most I could eventually find were policies stating they kept the right to move you to a hospital of their own choosing and any claims above £500 would have to be preapproved. (Not sure who does this and how if you are unconscious)
We buy insurance for peace of mind. After reading about four or five of these policies, I felt sick in my stomach. Talk about deterrents to leaving home.