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No cover for misreading departure time

Rahul and his family booked travel to India to visit relatives. Their flights and travel insurance were booked through a travel agent.  


As Rahul and his family were driving to the airport they received a telephone call from their travel agent to say they had missed their flight. Rahul thought their flight was scheduled to depart at 1pm. In fact, the flight had already departed at 1am.


Rahul decided to rebook the airfares and they flew out the following day.


When Rahul returned to New Zealand he telephoned his travel insurance company and asked whether he could claim for the cost of the rebooked flights, approximately $9,800. Rahul said the insurance company’s telephone operator told him his claim would be covered as his policy covered ‘human error’.


The insurance company declined Rahul’s claim because there was no cover under the policy for additional costs incurred as a result of misreading a flight’s departure time. Further, there was no cover for ‘human error’.


Rahul complained to FSCL.


Rahul’s view

Although Rahul accepted there was no cover under the policy for his claim, he was unhappy he had been given incorrect information by the insurance company’s telephone operator. Rahul said had the insurance company correctly advised him that his claim would not be covered, he would not have bothered to submit a claim.



We listened to the recording of Rahul’s conversation with the insurance company. We sent a copy of this recording to Rahul.


In the telephone recording, Rahul told the insurance company they had missed their flights because his wife had a migraine at the time the flight was scheduled to depart. Rahul did not say anything to the operator about misreading the departure time. The insurance company’s operator told Rahul he should submit a claim but warned Rahul the exclusion for a pre-existing medical condition may apply in his circumstances if his wife had a history of migraines.


What was said during the telephone conversation was different from what Rahul had written on his claim form and his complaint to FSCL. We discussed the telephone conversation with Rahul. Rahul said there was another telephone recording which had not been located where he told the insurance company about misreading the departure time and where he was told there was cover for human error.



Before we had the opportunity to try to locate the second telephone call, Rahul decided to discontinue his complaint. Rahul said he felt he had wasted too much time on his claim already.



You don’t have cover if you miss your flight because you got the time wrong.