Why I’ll never get travel insurance

I’m proudly one of those people who eschews travel insurance … with limited exceptions

I’ve avoided travel insurance – and so far I’ve saved myself £1,000. At each major holiday time – Christmas, Easter, summer or half term – insurers bang out “surveys” to shame us into buying travel policies. Those who don’t sign up, they say, are taking massive risks with both themselves and their families.

I’m – proudly – one of those people who takes the risk. With two exceptions (listed below), I’ve ignored travel insurance for years because it’s a waste of money. My own recent mishaps make the point.

In September, my wife, Claudia, and I went to the south of France by train. Returning, the TGV was so late that we missed the last Eurostar from Lille.

Travel insurance? Pointless. Delays only count on the outward journey. In any case, as the first train the following morning was in 11 hours and 45 minutes’ time, we would fail the 12-hour delay test.

French Railways brilliantly organised a Lille hotel, but then Claudia discovered she had the wrong case. It was the same make and colour, but belonged (we then noticed the tag) to an Austrian woman who got off at the stop before (Charles de Gaulle airport), presumably with my wife’s luggage.

What would insurance have been good for? Loss? No, her case was at a Vienna address. Theft? No. She had the wrong bag. It was sorted out when the Austrian came to London and we swapped back baggages..

Over the last year or so, I’ve been to Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Austria, and France, all without travel insurance. If anything goes missing, it’s inconvenience at that moment, not compensation weeks later, that matters. And these countries are on my European health insurance card.

So when do I buy insurance? I bought cover for a trip to India and for one going from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia by train, simply because public medical facilities in these countries are less advanced.

So it all means that I’ve saved about £1,000 since seeing the light – and I’m set to save even more as I’m getting towards the age where the cost of premiums start to rocket. OK, my body, dead or alive, won’t get repatriated without cover. But that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Tony Levene

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