Holidaymakers who have an accident or fall ill while on holiday risk having their travel insurance claim turned down if they have had just two alcoholic drinks.
The Financial Ombudsman Service, which adjudicates on consumer complaints, has warned that insurers are increasingly accusing customers of alcohol abuse in order to wriggle out of paying claims.
It has disclosed the details of cases to highlight the issue. In one, the insurer insisted that a customer suffered from alcoholism even when medical evidence showed that they had consumed no more than two alcoholic drinks.
The ombudsman has reported a rise in complaints over insurers using alcohol consumption as an excuse to avoid paying. A spokesman said:
We see cases where insurers have jumped to conclusions about what had happened -- for example, because of someone's age or the particular resort they were in.
In one case a woman on holiday in Croatia needed stitches after bumping her head on her bedside table. Her claim for medical costs was rejected because she was over the UK drink drive limit, roughly equivalent to two glasses of wine. The ombudsman said
the excessive alcohol restriction in her policy was unclear and ordered the insurer to pay with interest added.
James Daly of campaigning website Fairer Finance said insurers were increasingly adding clauses that void the policy, some even on consumption of a moderate amount of alcohol.