Tim was travelling from Auckland to Uruguay before catching a connecting flight to Brazil.
Unfortunately, Tim misplaced his passport while waiting for his connecting flight which led to some delay. Tim then unknowingly left the departure area to obtain a boarding pass for his connecting flight. Unfortunately, by the time he was able to print his boarding pass, and stand in the queues to check in, his flight had closed. Tim had to then purchase replacement flights to Brazil.
Tim tried to claim the cost of his additional ticket from his travel insurer. However, the insurer declined Tim’s claim because he did not have the required boarding pass. The insurer said that Tim’s policy excluded claims arising from a “failure to obtain relevant visa, passport or travel documents”.
Tim argued that the insurer should consider a discretionary approach due to the unusual aspects of his case. He was traveling to an unfamiliar continent, encountered language barriers, and relied on his travel agent to ensure he had sufficient time for his connecting flights. Further, he had not been given a boarding pass for his connecting flight in Auckland.
Tim thought he should be fairly reimbursed for his additional travel expenses and complained to FSCL.
We noted that Tim’s policy covered him for losses arising from misplaced passports and travel documents. We said to the insurer that, had Tim not lost his passport at the beginning of the stop over, he may have been able to obtain his boarding pass in time for his connecting flight.
The insurer agreed and decided to pay Tim for his travel expenses claim. Tim accepted this in resolution of his complaint.
Insights for consumers
An insurance policy is the basis of your contract with your insurer. Any claim is subject to the terms of your policy. Insurance policies will not cover every situation, but rather only those risks that the insurer is willing to accept. It is normal for cover to differ between policies and the quality of cover is generally reflected in the premium that you pay.
Fortunately, for Tim, the insurer was willing to pay his claim due to the additional delay he had suffered from misplacing his passport which was covered by his policy.