Most of us are guilty when it comes to having a few beverages on our cruise. Let’s face it, we’re on holiday and we have every right to enjoy ourselves.
But if we let our hair down too much, does that negate our travel insurance?
A Cruise Passenger forum member recently asked whether your cruise travel insurance covers alcohol related injuries.
Angela Holman, an avid cruiser asked her fellow passengers for some advice. “Travel insurance. I am looking for a policy that does not have ALCOHOL as an Exclusion in the policy. I have been cruising for years and never thought about it until I was told on a cruise last November you are not covered. Talked to Cover More today and they said this is correct. Medibank said it depends on your blood levels. How many of us don’t have a drink while on holiday?”
So to answer your question Angela, most travel insurance companies will examine the facts before paying out. And unfortunately, alcohol is not excluded from any policy and our advice is to look at the policy carefully before you buy.
Nestled within the long list of exclusions in most travel policies is a clause that excludes claims where any loss or damage directly or indirectly incurred while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian travellers lodged almost 300,000 insurance claims in 2016 and 2017.
However, 15 per cent of the claims were declined, many because the traveller has misunderstood the policy they had bought.
Having a few drinks on holiday can seem like a harmless, fun and relaxing time but it could also potentially void your insurance cover.
Whether you are covered for any loss of damages incurred, comes down to how each insurance company interprets their exclusion.
Bupa states in their exclusions that “We will not cover any loss or damage as a result of or caused by: The effects of alcohol or drugs.”
Cruise Passenger asked a Bupa salesperson if having a few drinks while on vacation would affect the chances of successfully filing a claim.
“In regards to alcohol consumption, the guidelines are you need to take reasonable care, and not put yourself in a dangerous situation,” said the agent.
So if you accidentally slipped while walking onboard after having a glass or two of wine and had to make a claim, “As long as you have taken reasonable care, then yes you would be covered.”
So how is it determined if the incident is related to alcohol? Is there a blood alcohol limit, similar to driving?
Bupa’s sales agent says they do not follow a blood alcohol limit policy. Rather, it is treated on a case-by-case basis on what is reasonable as all situations are different.
Some insurance companies like InsureandGo state in their product disclosure statement that “You must agree to have a blood alcohol and/or breath analysis where local laws permit, where it is necessary for us to assess your claim.”
Cover More echoes the case-by-case basis assessment of exclusions.
“The exclusion will apply to claims where the proximate cause of the claim is due to the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol, i.e. where the actual effect of drugs and/or alcohol has caused and/or contributed toward the claim,” says a Cover-more sales agent.
“When deciding if using this exclusion is appropriate for the situation, we will consider the nature of the event that caused the claim: if it can be shown that the claim was the direct result of your intoxication, then the above exclusion may apply.”
Meanwhile, DFAT’s smartraveller website advises vacationers to go easy on the booze.
“Insurers simply won’t pay for costs arising from you being under the influence of alcohol or drugs (except where taken under the advice of a doctor). Even one or two drinks could be an excuse for insurers to get out of paying.”