Financial troubleshooter Jessica Gorstwilliams is here to help you with your money problems
Why won’t my travel cover pay?
Five and a half months after taking out an annual travel policy along with my husband, we booked a holiday in Ibiza. This was due to start in the early summer the following year.
Three months after booking the holiday a lump appeared in my neck and the doctor sent me for a scan.
This was inconclusive and an appointment for another scan was made for just before the holiday. This was due after my multi-trip policy was renewed. The person who dealt with the renewal was told that I had an undiagnosed medical condition.
The second scan then revealed a seriously infected lymph gland. My doctor advised me not to go on holiday.
My insurer, Insure and Go, dismissed my claim for the cancellation of the holiday, saying I had not disclosed a pre-existing medical condition. I pointed out that I did not have one when I booked the holiday.
It sent me a cheque for £150 as full and final settlement. I have refused this. The cost of the holiday and the sum I am claiming is £1,427.
The terms and conditions state that if, after purchasing the policy, any person named on it develops a new medical condition they must notify the insurer. The insurer will cover trips already booked but can choose to advise cancelling while the costs are still relatively low. Cancelling when the need for a scan was first diagnosed would have meant the loss of the £150 deposit.
By the time it was clear a second scan was needed you had paid for the holiday in full and there was no provision for a refund from the holiday company. Your husband says it would have been silly to cancel the trip when you did not know what the outcome of the scan would be.
You actually thought that your husband had declared the condition early on. When I quizzed him, though, it turned out that he had done so only when the annual policy was renewed. He thought cover had been accepted for the condition. In fact the insurer had excluded it until the situation was clarified.
Later on, to establish that the pre-renewal conversation had indeed been as Insure and Go was saying, it agreed, at my request, to send you a transcript and waive the usual £10 fee for doing so. The recording vindicated the insurer.
When a condition is awaiting diagnosis, as this was, Insure and Go would not cover anything relating to it. It said: “We of course understand that medical circumstances change and, should the customer have a condition diagnosed during the life of the policy, this will need to be communicated to Insure and Go as soon as possible. In some cases an extra cost may be incurred to ensure it is covered.
“We are very sorry to hear about Mrs K’s case and in this instance we are not able to cover the full losses incurred.”
Illness prevented a trip to Ibiza – and a reader was left uninsured