Top 10 Strangest Travel Insurance Claims

Guest poster, Charlotte Jones counts down the top 10 strangest travel insurance claims from around the world!

Broken cameras are a common travel insurance claim.

[This article is brought to you with support by: AVI International]

When someone tells you they work in insurance at a party, it’s one of those jobs that naturally produces a less-than-impressed reaction, often accompanied by a stiffed groan and a quick subject change.  It’s on par with accountants, traffic wardens and recruitment consultants, to name a few. But working in the insurance industry can actually be a lot of fun, especially when you get to experience the barrage of ridiculous claims people try to get away with every day.

Take a look at this countdown of the ten most ridiculous, outrageous and downright strange travel insurance claims:

10. This is a cautionary tale for all parents: children, expensive cameras, and sand DO NOT MIX. One has to question the actions of the parents that, when on a beach in Cornwall with their children, allowed them to play with a digital video camera worth over £600 which they proceeded to bury in the sand. We all know children can get up to all sorts of strange things, and it’s impossible to keep an eye on them at all times, but at least try to the expensive equipment out of their reach. The children did such a good job of burying the camera that nobody could find it again and all they could do was file an insurance claim for the lost gadget. Amazingly, the insurance company paid out!

So cute, yet so mischievous! A portrait of a monkey in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, by Samantha)

9. Holidays and animals rarely mix well. One family learned this the hard way when on holiday in South Africa, enjoying some spectacular views of wildlife while on safari. Things took a turn for the worse when some overly-friendly monkeys decided to take a closer look at what was on the roof rack of their vehicle.  Clothes were stolen, eaten, ripped and urinated on by the excited primates. Lesson learned: Don’t leave your suitcases on the roof of your jeep during a safari; insurance companies will not reimburse you!

8. This next one is a fascinating example of how comprehensive some world travel insurance policies can be. A young man, while on holiday in Athens, ended up getting distracted and walking into the wall of a bus shelter, promptly breaking his nose in the process. His reason for being distracted? Several bikini-clad young women across the street! As travel insurance claims go, it’s certainly an original one. Lucky for him, his claim was accepted and he could afford to get his bashed-up nose put back together, though I’m not sure his ego will ever be repaired.

7. A family took a holiday to Scotland and were shocked and appalled when it ended up raining for an entire week! Scotland is so well known for its long, sunny days and dry climate, that you you can be sure this freak weather ruined this family’s holiday. They were so distressed by the constant drizzle that they filed a formal complaint to their insurance company. Sadly, due to rain falling under the umbrella of a “natural force” and therefore out of anyone’s control, the insurance company didn’t pay out. No one wants to plan for bad weather on their holiday, but just in case, I would suggest taking a raincoat if you intend to head to Scotland.

6. Cruise ship, wind, and false teeth are the only words you need for this next one. But to elaborate, there is an infamous story of a poor old man, albeit, a slightly careless poor old man who lost his dentures to the sea when allegedly vomiting over the side of a cruise ship during a bout of seasickness. The man was fully reimbursed by his travel insurance company on the grounds of ‘lost property’, but imagine how annoyed you would be to endure the rest of a cruise with only milkshakes and soup as nourishment. Another man filed a claim for a toupee lost over the edge of a cruise ship, but he wasn’t reimbursed.

5. This story is always popular online when talking about the importance of carefully booking your travel arrangements and checking your tickets when they arrive. A man allegedly tried to claim on his world travel insurance policy for being denied boarding on a flight. Why was he denied? When trying to get on a plane in Manchester, UK, he was told he’d actually booked a flight from Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. The claim was swiftly rejected, since it’s not your insurance company’s responsibility to stop you being an idiot. Let this one be a lesson to us all.

So… that’s the ice skating rink? (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, by Ryan Gsell)

4. When you book a skiing holiday, you expect adventure, beautiful scenery and, what else… oh yes, snow! When you arrive at a ski lodge, the last thing you want is to see rolling green hills. Unfortunately, that’s what happened last year to a British woman who had booked a week on the slopes. An unusually warm winter put a damper on her dream of an Alpine getaway and she promptly lodged a claim with her insurance company for the lack of snow ruining her expensive vacation. Sure, the ski resorts provide plenty of good food, drink and views of the mountains to pass the time, but if they can’t provide snow, it is a bit of a letdown. Shockingly, the insurance company took pity on her and refunded the entire trip! So I guess insurance companies aren’t that callous after all!

3. A rather more dangerous story comes from Wales, where a family’s camping holiday was rudely interrupted when a parachutist missed his targeted landing zone and instead landed right on top of their tent, destroying all their camping equipment. It does sound a little comical, and certainly a little strange. Unfortunately, the family were forced to leave their holiday and replace all the damaged equipment and tent themselves, since they didn’t have adequate travel insurance to cover them in the event of accidental damage. So remember to get comprehensive travel insurance! You never know when the sky will come crashing down on you.

2. For a little comic relief, let us remember the insurance claim story that recently went viral. A woman on vacation in Sri Lanka was happily minding her own business, leafing through a book in the shade of a tree by the beach. Bliss, you might think. Unfortunately for her, not so. A coconut fell on her head and she needed hospital treatment for the injury, which wasn’t cheap. There were CT scans, blood tests, monitoring, and a pretty heft bill. Thankfully, her insurance company did provide the funds to pay the hospital fees and she was only left a little dizzy, but not out of pocket.

1. Finally we come to the tale of a man on holiday in Gibraltar who was left a little red in the face after a monkey he was trying to photograph close up suddenly reached out, grabbed his expensive digital camera and made a run for it! We don’t know if the man ever got his money back for the expensive camera or if it was ever found, but we do know that no monkeys were prosecuted.

If you’re on the lookout for cheap travel insurance that will cover any eventuality, take a look at this website for some fantastic offers. Hopefully nothing so strange will happen to you and you won’t end up on next year’s weird insurance claims countdown. But if you do, at least you’ll be covered!

By: Charlotte Jones

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