When most of us go on holiday to a nice warm country with lots to do and plenty to see, the last thing on our mind is trying to make money. Unfortunately for insurers, many people go each year with the sole intention of pocketing at least the amount the holiday has cost them and sometimes a lot more too.
When you consider the process of claiming on your insurance will usually mean you need to spend all day and possibly more in a foreign police station as you struggle through the language barrier and protest your innocence (they see scammers all the time), is it worth it?
The Baggage Claimant
Some people are unfortunate enough to have their luggage lost or stolen and that can mean a ruined holiday, which is reason for filing a claim, but there are plenty who take advantage. The Telegraph newspaper reported a man had placed a claim for his false teeth that were lost or stolen from his luggage. Why on earth would someone pack their false teeth in their luggage in the first place anyway? It turned out that the man had been on a cruise and lost his teeth while vomiting over the edge of the boat.
The Stupid but Plausible Claim
Also in the Telegraph, was the story about a family who went on a beach holiday and lost their video camcorder and some other valuables on the beach while they swam. This sort of claim does not usually get paid out because the valuables were left unattended, but it turned out the couple had left their children in attendance. The problem was that the children had wanted to join the parents in the sea, but decided to bury the video camera and wallets etc. in the sand for safekeeping. The only problem was the kids could not remember where they buried them. This claim was actually paid out by the insurer.
The Plain Stupid, but True
There are thousands of medical insurance claims paid out for people who state they have been distracted by something and had an accident. Often the claimant will quote the distraction as being women in bikinis or something else which has turned their heads, but invariably, there are accidents caused because people are not a paying attention to what they are doing. Insurance companies often pay out for someone who has injuries because of distraction abroad, but do you think the same would happen if you were driving a car not walking? It’s unlikely!
When the Locals Play Up
It’s common for monkeys to cause havoc to visitors to Gibraltar and places like Malaysia and this actually costs travel insurers a lot of money every year. One family in Malaysia actually had their clothes and possessions ransacked by monkeys and returned to the scene of the crime as the burglars were in mid-robbery. Needless to say, they made sure the windows and doors were closed for the duration of the holiday.
Trying it on and Not Getting Away with It
For every ten good claims made by honest people, there has to be one that exaggerates the costs or is openly committing fraud. One skier returned from a holiday in the Alps and immediately filed a claim for the cost of his skis because he said there was a lack of snow that made his skiing holiday a waste of money – that claim was obviously rejected. Another silly claim was made by a couple holidaying in Cornwall who said their camping equipment has destroyed by a parachutist that landed on their tent – the insurer told them to chase the parachutist for the money.
Aki Hashimoto is a keen blogger who worked in specialist freight insurance for many years before retirement. She will argue with anyone who believes insurance is boring.