Urgent Help - Repatriation / void holiday insurance

Hi,
I'm new to the forums but at my wits end.
A family member has had an accident in Greece and they cant operate at the hospital on the island, so we need to get her home for the op, however, she just turned 70 at the end of last year.
It seems Nationwide brought down the age of cover without surcharge  from 75 to 70, however, my family memeber wasnt aware of this.
She said she rang Nationwide earlier in the year to check she was still covered as she hadnt received any paperwork since 2017, she was told they had went paperless, but she was still covered despite being 70 at the time.
She had also rang to check if her husband was still insured as he had had a heart attack last year and was told they wouldn't insure him, which is fair enough so she arranged alternative cover for him.
Nationwide / directline (the insururer) are refuing ro pay out meaning we have a very expensive repatriation to pay for (quotes ranging between £28k - £35k).
Firstly we need to get her back asap, any advice as we dont just have £30k lying about.
Secondly is there any advice on fighting to get money as they are saying we need tonhave proof of call and we cant find it at minute despite looking through call logs.

Thank you
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Replies

  • bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    You might want to also consider posting in the "Insurance & Life Assurance" board as you might attract advice from people more clued up in insurance matters.

    It appears Nationwide made this change on 3rd January 2019.  I've no idea if and how this was communicated at the time (doesn't affect me) but surely they would have to notify affected parties?  I'm a FlexPlus customer, and they do write to me each year on the "anniversary" of my membership detailing any changes that have happened, and urging me to review all the policies to ensure they still meet my needs.  This comes in the post, I had my last one a few weeks back.

    I guess the only way to go with this, if you have a case, is to escalate a complaint to Nationwide/UK Insurance, and then the Ombudsman if necessary.  I say this not knowing if you would have any success though.

    Unfortunately that will take time, and doesn't help you with the immediate problem of finding money to get your relative home.
  • greyteam1959greyteam1959 Forumite
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    How about contacting the Foreign & Commonwealth Office & asking them for advice ???
    You won't be the first people to find themselves in this situation.
    All I can suggest.

  • silvercarsilvercar Forumite, Board Guide
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    We are part of the EU, as far as health cover goes, until the end of the year. So she should be entitled  to whatever needs she has as if she were a resident Greek. If it is not possible to treat her on the island, they should transfer her to the mainland hospital which can sort out her needs. You may have to decide whether that is an acceptable option, even though it may mean someone staying with her.
    Usually found at a vaccine centre 💉
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  • ToonHakToonHak Forumite
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    How about contacting the Foreign & Commonwealth Office & asking them for advice ???
    You won't be the first people to find themselves in this situation.
    All I can suggest.

    Thanks, the British embassy are aware of the situation but havent offered any sort of solution so far.
  • ToonHakToonHak Forumite
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    bagand96 said:
    You might want to also consider posting in the "Insurance & Life Assurance" board as you might attract advice from people more clued up in insurance matters.

    It appears Nationwide made this change on 3rd January 2019.  I've no idea if and how this was communicated at the time (doesn't affect me) but surely they would have to notify affected parties?  I'm a FlexPlus customer, and they do write to me each year on the "anniversary" of my membership detailing any changes that have happened, and urging me to review all the policies to ensure they still meet my needs.  This comes in the post, I had my last one a few weeks back.

    I guess the only way to go with this, if you have a case, is to escalate a complaint to Nationwide/UK Insurance, and then the Ombudsman if necessary.  I say this not knowing if you would have any success though.

    Unfortunately that will take time, and doesn't help you with the immediate problem of finding money to get your relative home.
    Thank you, I will post in the insurance forum as well.
  • ToonHakToonHak Forumite
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    silvercar said:
    We are part of the EU, as far as health cover goes, until the end of the year. So she should be entitled  to whatever needs she has as if she were a resident Greek. If it is not possible to treat her on the island, they should transfer her to the mainland hospital which can sort out her needs. You may have to decide whether that is an acceptable option, even though it may mean someone staying with her.
    The doctor/commissoner in the hospital didnt want to transfer her to Athens for treatment, he said that it would be best to get her home for treatment, which I assume he thought the insurance would pay for.
    She understandibly just wants to come home as well, but this unfortunately comes at a price.
  • NoodleDoodleManNoodleDoodleMan Forumite
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    We dumped Nationwide Flexplus for the insurance cover when they advised us that there was a imminent surcharge being applied to all accounts for over 70.
    We were informed in writing at the time, not sure how diligent they were advising appropriate account holders.
    If memory serves, we received an annual letter outling continuing benefits which included details of health insurance cover.
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    I'm with a different bank but get notification by post every time there is a change in the terms and conditions of any part of the 'package', including travel insurance.  I suspect the family member did receive notification but didn't read it thoroughly, as many of us don't.  That being the case they will have no claim against Nationwide.
    The hospital in Greece needs to be made aware that they don't have insurance to cover the cost of repatriation, and don't have private funds to do so either.
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    ToonHak said:
    silvercar said:
    We are part of the EU, as far as health cover goes, until the end of the year. So she should be entitled  to whatever needs she has as if she were a resident Greek. If it is not possible to treat her on the island, they should transfer her to the mainland hospital which can sort out her needs. You may have to decide whether that is an acceptable option, even though it may mean someone staying with her.
    The doctor/commissoner in the hospital didnt want to transfer her to Athens for treatment, he said that it would be best to get her home for treatment, which I assume he thought the insurance would pay for.
    She understandibly just wants to come home as well, but this unfortunately comes at a price.

    It would be good to know why he doesnt want to transfer to Athens? Doesnt want freeloading immigrants using up their services or a medical reason?

    Whilst its normally preferable to be close to home for treatment so that there arent language barriers and so friends/family can visit ultimately best care needs to be provided and if they cannot afford a private repatriation then they will have to remain dependent on the state health system in Greece. 

    Even if she did have insurance they may not cover repatriation if her condition can be appropriately treated under EHIC and then return using conventional methods. 
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    What an awful situation!

    The doctor on the island needs to be told that repatriation is not an option, and asked what he would recommend for a Greek patient with a similar condition. It is also worth asking the British consulate for information about medical facilities, and perhaps a referal to an English-speaking local specialist for a telephone conversation about options available within the country.

    It is also worth checking the small print of her husband's insurance, just in case it provides some helpful coverage. The date on which it was taken out will provide a clue as to the date when she telephoned Nationwide and believes that she was told that she was still covered: then double-check call logs for dates around then.

    As for Nationwide: I suggest using their complaints process to contact the complaints team (who are very professional and have access to the whole of the organisation) and request an 'ex gratia' payment. Make it clear that you are preparing to contact the press and mass media.
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