Travel insurance fraud

Significant numbers of UK holidaymakers risk gaining a criminal record by committing fraud with their travel insurance claims. Find out more...

A 2013 survey on behalf of Gocompare.com[1] saw 7% of 18-to-34-year-old UK holidaymakers admit to having inflated a claim on their travel insurance policy, or to having made up the claim in its entirety.

Faking a claim or bumping up the amount of a genuine claim to make it more worthwhile is fraud
Caroline Lloyd, Gocompare.com

Of all the age groups polled, younger travellers were the ones most likely to try to swindle their insurer into handing over money they weren't entitled to, whilst over 55s were most likely to play by the rules.

"Whatever way you look at it, faking a travel insurance claim or bumping up the amount of a genuine claim to make it more worthwhile is fraud," said Gocompare.com's Caroline Lloyd.

"If you're caught out you might end up with a criminal record and also find it much harder to get other kinds of insurance in the future.

"This could have serious implications when it comes to getting life insurance for a mortgage or insuring a car. For the sake of a few hundred pounds it's really not worth the risk."

Attempted justifications

A reason for the number of fraudulent claims could be sought in the fact that 53% of the 18-to-34-year-olds surveyed felt that travel insurers hardly ever paid out for claims.flights_grid

But less than 7% of that group had actually had such a claim rejected.

"The main reasons why customers have their travel claims turned down are either because they didn't have the appropriate cover in the first place or because they failed to follow their insurer's guidelines at the time of the event," said Caroline.

"Both of these scenarios can be avoided if you read the policy documents and take a copy away with you.

"That way you can refer to the insurer's instructions while you are abroad rather than coming home and finding that you missed doing something important which would have helped your claim go through."

Expense

Nearly 60% of the 18-to-34-year-olds surveyed also said that holiday insurance was too expensive, but Caroline says this does not fit with the facts.

The peace of mind offered by cover is extremely good value for money
Caroline Lloyd, Gocompare.com

"The notion that travel insurance is too expensive is surprising given that you can protect yourself from facing enormous medical bills and protect your personal belongings from loss or theft for about £1 of each day of your holiday," she said.

"For example, a 30-year-old holidaymaker can find a worldwide, two-week, single-trip policy with £10m of medical cover and £1,000 of baggage cover from just £14.25 with Gocompare.com.[2]

"When the alternative could be a medical bill running into thousands of euros or dollars, even for a minor treatment, the peace of mind offered by travel cover is extremely good value for money."

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By Sean Davies