Travel insurance is about to get more expensive

Travel insurance rates are poised to spike – increases of more than 20 percent might even happen. According to travel insurance company P J Hayman, look for other changes, too, like restrictions on age and details around medical conditions. Says Peter Hayman, of the company that bears his name:

“With the summer holidays now over, travel insurers are now revising and renewing their schemes. This is likely to impact consumers as a combination of currency disadvantages on claims costs and accumulated large losses have ensured that insurers are pushing up costs for scheme holders and brokers.”

This follows three years of travel insurance rate declines, because of comparison websites, tougher negotiations and “prices and age limits that do not make underwriting sense.”
Prices are set to jump, according to Hayman, because of low interest rates, claims accumulation and pressure on travel insurance companies to meet financial objectives.

Hayman tells Postonline:

“These changes will take some time to filter through to the public. Many will coincide with the increase in insurance premium tax on travel insurance from 17.5% to 20% on the 4th January 2011; a rate that will be 14% higher than for other types of insurance such as motor and household.”

[photo by Tracy O via Flickr]

Dutch insurance firm offers world cup finals travel insurance

Unlike, say 98% of Americans, the Dutch are completely in love with football- so much in fact, that many of them would rather cancel their summer vacation than risk being stuck at a foreign camping site without a TV.

So, for those travelers, Dutch insurance firm “Europeesche” has introduced the World Cup Finals Cancellation Insurance. For a fee of 1% of the price of the vacation, plus the cost of a regular trip insurance package, Dutch footie fans can cancel their trip if their team makes the World Cup finals.

The insurance even covers the cancellation of partial trips – so if you are on vacation in Turkey, and the Dutch team reaches the finals, the coverage will pay for any days you missed and any expenses for getting you back home as soon as possible to watch the match. Yes – football is that important to them.

[Image from: AFP/Getty Images]

Travel insurance fraud means jail time

So, is there such a thing as harmless travel insurance claim that isn’t exactly accurate? Well, that’s a good question for Shaun Taylor.

The Leeds resident was accused of making a whopping £40,000 in claims that affected eight insurance companies over five years. He got caught. Taylor received a suspended six-month prison sentence for 19 travel insurance fraud offenses … in addition to some community service.

According to Cath Williams, claims company Cunningham Lindsey’s complex technical services director, “Our operation was about collating a multitude of data covering 38 separate travel claims and unearthing the common elements between them, which enabled us to assist the police in building the case for a criminal prosecution.” Williams continued, “It’s important for would-be fraudsters to understand that while they may believe insurance companies to be a soft target, there are ways and means of spotting and proving their activities which can land them in court.”

Think you can game the system? Consider how a pair of tight handcuffs can change your perpective!

U.K. Travel Insurer: Cuba as Dangerous as Afghanistan

U.K travel insurance company Direct Travel Insurance Services has a blacklist. If a traveler is headed to Sudan or Afghanistan, they will need to seek their insurance elsewhere. But Cuba?

That’s right, Cuba. The insurer will not cover British travelers headed to Cuba. Perhaps someone in the company thinks that it is still the 1950s. Or perhaps someone in the company was robbed during a recent vacation in Havana. But that’s unlikely. Cuba is, arguably, one of the safest destinations in the entire Caribbean. Crime is virtually not-existent. It is much more dangerous to vacation on more popular islands like Jamaica.

But there is a more probable reason that English travelers are not able to get coverage for Cuba: AIG. The American firm took over Direct Travel Insurance Services and has extended its practices of not insuring Americans in Cuba to its new British customers.

Because of an archaic trade embargo, US citizens are not allowed to visit Cuba. thus AIG does not cover them. But there is no such law in England. Luckily for UK residents, there are many other travel insurers willing to cover tourists on their trip to Cuba.

[Via Havana Journal]