Picture the scene, my housemate is about to go off on his rugby tour to Australia and he has a couple of his burly rugby mates around our house, when he suddenly comes up with a bright idea; “We’ll need to get travel insurance”. Pretty no nonsense common sense approach I thought, still, I joined in ribbing him with his mates. But fair play to him, he stood his ground, did his research, bought the insurance and they were off.
So, he was sorted! Right? Wrong!!! What follows is the story of how even the best laid plans can go awry and how even when you go above and beyond the call of duty and do even more than you thought was necessary you can still come out of the other end with a lot more than you bargained for.
My friend (who has asked me to spare him his blushes and let him remain anonymous) had arrived down under. As all fellow sportsmen and women will know, the only way to prepare for the big game the next day is with a massive drinking session the night before. After all, how many more chances do you get to sample the amazing nightlife on the other side of the world with all your best mates?
Glad rags on and copious amounts of alcohol later, they hit the town with one objective in mind; showing our old friends down under that we Brits know only one way to party: hard! For the record, from what he recalls of the night it was mission accomplished. Well, accomplished apart from one thing. His wallet, dropped? Stolen? Thrown in the air in a moment of drunken abandon? He couldn’t remember for the life of him, he couldn’t find it, he had absolutely no clue how to go about trying to find it. But it was time to move on, there were more pressing matters at hand, like the first match of the tour, after all the credit card, money and other personal stuff would take care of itself right?
With the previous night’s exploits behind them they took to the field, hoping to also enlighten our Australian friends that we Brits can not only drink them under the table but also give them an education in the arts of rugby as well. To be fair, that part of the plan was going pretty well, until my mate was on the wrong end of a dangerous tackle whilst he was jumping for a high ball. He came down hard and broke his collar bone. His tour was over and he was understandably gutted but at least the travel insurance he took out would cover him for the injury and his wallet.
Or so he thought… as it turns out his insurance classed rugby as a dangerous sport and he wasn’t covered, so he’d have to fork out for treatment. But our good friend was about to receive another blow, as he was out clubbing when he lost his wallet he wasn’t covered for that either, that pesky small print had thwarted him again. After a desperate call to his parents to plea for funds, he had some money sorted, but he’s one of the lucky ones.
Next time you go anywhere make sure you check your insurance policy and the small print making sure it gives the cover you need. And in the words of my friend and the FCO ‘Know Before You Go’.
For more specific advice about travel insurance and common exclusions you should check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel and follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/fcotravel or Twitter www.twitter.com/fcotravel.