The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman has rejected a complaint from an insured over her travel insurance.  The insured was travelling through China, but had to change her plans when she landed there because she did not have the correct visa for transit through China.  The insured had a visa which would have allowed her to land and to take off from the same city in China in transit, but had arranged a flight which actually landed in another Chinese city before it exited China.  This meant that her visa was invalid and she had to rearrange her travel.

The insurance company declined the claim because of an exclusion for failure to have the correct visas.  The Insurance Ombudsman declined the complaint because the policy was clear. Even though the insured believed she had the correct visa (based on unclear information from the Chinese Embassy) she in fact did not have the correct visa and therefore the insurance company was entitled to decline the claim. 

Once again it is very important to read all of the terms of an insurance policy to make sure that the insurance you are purchasing is suitable for your needs. However, in this particular case, it is hard to know what more the insured could have done to get the correct visa, given the unclear information from the Embassy.


Alan Knowsley
Insurance Lawyer Wellington