Complimentary travel insurance
Conrad booked return flights to Canada departing on 29 November 2013 and returning on 10 February 2014 for a total period overseas of 74 days.
Before the trip, Conrad went to see his doctor about chest pains and his doctor told him he needed to stay in New Zealand to have surgery. On 27 November 2013 Conrad called Calamity Cover and spoke to an agent asking if he could claim under his credit card travel insurance policy for cancellation or alteration of his travel. The agent said that “you need to have met the eligibility requirements to submit a claim here for that change of travel date” and advised that “if you do change the travel details to make that duration less than 35 days then you’re more than welcome to submit a claim on the cancellation or alteration of travel”.
After talking to Calamity Cover, Conrad cancelled his flights. On 29 November 2013 Conrad had surgery and on 14 December 2013, after he had recovered, Conrad booked and paid for subsequent flights to Canada.
On 23 December 2013, Conrad filed his claim with Calamity Cover for $2,135 which was the difference in ticket price and the reissue fees for tickets on the amended travel dates.
On 7 January 2014, Conrad and his wife travelled to Canada on the rebooked flights. Calamity Cover refused to pay Conrad’s claim and Conrad came to FSCL.
Conrad complained he had relied on what the agent told him, that if he held a return ticket with an overseas portion of 35 days he could submit a claim. Conrad believed Calamity Cover should reimburse him the costs as he had changed the duration of his travel.
Calamity Cover’s position
Calamity Cover was of the view that Conrad had been told he could make a claim, not that his claim would be accepted. Calamity Cover felt Conrad’s cover under the policy only started after he bought a complying 35 day return trip ticket.
As Conrad’s loss occurred before cover started under the policy, Conrad was not eligible to claim his loss on his insurance.
We investigated and found:
- Conrad incurred the costs that he had claimed for at a time when he was not covered by the insurance policy.
- Calamity Cover’s agent did not confirm that Conrad’s claim would be covered.
- Due to Calamity Cover’s agent’s advice, Conrad re-booked his travel for a period of 35 days.
- Conrad should be compensated for inconvenience.
Under the insurance policy cover was dependent on holding a 35 day round trip ticket. We found that Calamity Cover was correct that any loss incurred before Conrad held his 35 day round trip ticket was not covered.
However, we found that Conrad was given misleading advice by Calamity Cover’s agent and Calamity Cover should compensate Conrad $500 for the misleading advice that made Conrad re-book holiday for 35 days only.
With complimentary travel insurance, consumers should check the requirements for cover to be triggered. Consumers have the right to ask for and receive disclosure information to ensure that they are covered under the policy and that the level of cover afforded is right for them.
If insurance cover only triggers after you have taken certain steps, then it is your obligation to have met those requirements to gain the benefit of cover. These steps often include a time limit on your overseas travel or spending a certain minimum amount on a complying credit card.
An insurance policy is a contract and will provide cover in the circumstances provided for in the contract. If you do not meet the criteria or something outside the contract occurs it’s likely that your insurance will not cover you.