Belinda and her husband Kerry went on holiday to Hawaii. Before boarding the plane, Belinda took off her wedding ring and put it into her toilet bag for safe keeping because her hands and feet often swell up when on long-haul flights.
Belinda and Kerry arrived at their hotel late at night. They unpacked and Belinda put her toilet bag in the bathroom. In the morning, Belinda and Kerry left housekeeping to make up their room, had breakfast and then set off to explore Honolulu.
The next morning, Belinda was getting dressed and went to put on her wedding ring. She could not find it in the toilet bag and had not seen it since she took it off before boarding the flight in Auckland.
Belinda filed a claim for her lost wedding ring with her travel insurer. Belinda’s claim was for $1,500.
The travel insurer declined Belinda’s claim, citing an exclusion clause in Belinda’s policy for claims when the jewellery was not either being worn, or in a locked safe, at the time of loss.
Belinda felt this was very unfair and complained to FSCL.
Belinda and Kerry felt it was unfair and unreasonable for the travel insurer to apply the exclusion clause. Belinda and Kerry felt their insurance should cover the loss of the ring, otherwise what was the point of insurance?
The travel insurer said that it had fairly applied its policy wording. Jewellery claims were both common and expensive, and its policy specifically excluded claims for loss where the jewellery was not being worn at the time, or being kept in a locked safe.
We noted that a copy of the policy wording, including the exclusion clause had been given to Belinda and Kerry at the time of purchase.
We reviewed the insuring clause and the exclusion clause, and were satisfied that they had been fairly interpreted and reasonably applied to Belinda and Kerry’s circumstances by the travel insurer.
We found that the travel insurer had been correct to decline Belinda and Kerry’s claim.
We talked to Belinda and Kerry and, following our discussion, they agreed to discontinue their complaint.
We explained that the contract of insurance was not a guarantee of complete cover, but was limited to circumstances provided for in the contract. We explained that the insurer had contracted out of the risk for losses of jewellery items which were not being worn or being kept in a locked safe, and this risk was borne by the insured person.
Insights for consumers
Travel insurance is not a blanket cover but is governed by the contract between you and the insurer. If the contract excludes certain circumstances of loss, then your claim will not be covered if those circumstances occur. Most policies will only respond to a claim for loss or damage if your jewellery is either being worn or being kept in a locked safe at the time of loss.