40 day round trip – a requirement to trigger cover


The lost Ipad 2

Jeremy booked return flights from New Zealand to South Africa for a travel period of 50 days. Jeremy used his credit card to purchase the flights and understood this meant he had cover under the travel insurance policy connected to his credit card.


While Jeremy was in transit at Heathrow Airport he misplaced his Ipad 2. Jeremy later submitted a claim to his travel insurance company for the cost of the Ipad 2.


The insurer declined Jeremy’s claim because of its policy said that cover was only triggered if return flights were booked using the credit card before leaving New Zealand, for a travel period of 40 days or less. As Jeremy’s travel period was for 50 days, he had never triggered cover under the policy, and had no insurance cover for his entire trip.


Jeremy complains to FSCL

Jeremy’s said he was never told about the 40 day travel restriction under the insurance policy when he got the credit card through his bank. He also said that he lost the Ipad 2 at Heathrow within the 40 day travel period, so he should be covered.


Review of the insurance policy

We reviewed the insurance policy and found it said clearly that cover would not be triggered under the policy unless return flights were booked before departing New Zealand which were within the 40 day travel period limit. This meant that even though Jeremy had lost the Ipad 2 within the 40 day travel period, there was never any contract of insurance in place between him and the insurer. Unfortunately Jeremy could not claim under the policy.


We explained to Jeremy that customers have a responsibility to read the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. We told Jeremy, in our view, the insurance company had reasonably declined his claim. Jeremy accepted our advice and decided to withdraw his complaint.


Jeremy said his bank never told him about the 40 day travel restriction under the policy. We suggested Jeremy contact the Banking Ombudsman Scheme if he wanted to complain about his bank.


Lesson to be learned:

It is common for travel insurance to be included as a benefit attached to credit cards. Customers do not ‘re-apply’ for travel insurance for each trip they take, which would usually involve ticking certain boxes which ask about your intended travel period.


It is important that customers read the terms and conditions of their credit card travel insurance before booking travel, to see if they are likely to be covered based on the number of days they are travelling. If a customer is travelling away for a longer period that that allowed under the policy, the customer will not be entitled to any insurance cover at all for any part of their trip.


Often, customers may have had the credit card and the travel insurance benefit for some years and may no longer have a copy of the terms and conditions of the policy. It is especially important therefore, for customers to always ensure they have an up to date copy of the insurance policy and to read it before booking travel.