Last Saturday, 13 people were injured in a bomb blast at the Costa Dorada Hotel in Tarragona, southern Spain. How many were covered for medical expenses under their travel insurance? None is the answer – at least for the Britons involved.
This weekend, another 500,000 Britons will fly out to Spain. What can they do to make sure that they don't get caught out by further ETA bombs? Sadly, nothing.
Standard travel policies do not cover war or terrorism. So if you get caught in a blast, your insurer will not pay for you to be repatriated to a UK hospital. And, if such a tragedy happens, the reputation of our industry will suffer a tabloid blow. So how can the industry make sure it is seen as one of the good guys? It seems that the only thing they can do is alert customers to the fact they are not covered.
There are no other choices. The Foreign Office has not declared Spain a war zone and so customers are not entitled to a refund. And insurers do not have or are unwilling to include terrorist cover clauses.
The chances of travel insurers making any “customer care” calls to reassure and explain are slim. Only last week, the Financial Services Ombudsman slammed travel insurers, complaining travel insurers provided a “haphazard” service and warned them to fully explain policy exclusions and small print.
Let us hope that ETA calls a halt to its bombing campaign and that we do not have to face the vitriol of the tabloids' leader writers. But in the long term, trusting to luck is not good enough.