Travel Insurance refused to pay as no return tickets

Hello - i do hope someone can give me a good advice.

We travelled to France, Paris on 6th March this year and booked an accommodation until the 11th March as were planning to go home on that day. We didn't buy return tickets as we were not sure if to go by a flight or Eurostar due to [potential] health issues with my mother-in-law. On the 7th of March we discovered we had coronavirus, confirmed it by the required tests and notified the insurance company (CoverForYou). According to the French coronovirus rules at that time, we had to self-isolate for 10 days until the 16th March. We followed the insurance guadance and contacted our accommodation provider (a small company in Paris) who found us another accommodation from the 11th March till the 16th March. We bought tickets on the 14th and flew home on the 16th March - the first day we could according to the coronovirus rules in France on that time.
The insurance, after looking at our claim for nearly 6 months, finally got back to us agreeing to pay for our tests, some medication we bought but not for the additional accommodation from the 11th till the 16th.

The reason being:
Please note, as you had no return transport booked, we cannot look to cover the costs of the additional accommodation you had to purchase. Without evidence that you were planning to come home on the 11/03, then it's possible you were planning to stay longer and therefore would be liable for your own accommodation costs.

I know that we didn't have tickets but the reason we booked that accommodation until the 11th was exactly becasue we wanted to leave on that day. And we left the first day we could anyway. How else could i prove that we were going home on the 11th? Is the reason they are refusing us to pay is actually correct? I have looked at their wording and thewre is the following phrase:

We will pay you up to the amount shown in the schedule of benefits for reasonable additional transport (for example the cost to adjust your return flights) and/or accommodation expenses incurred, up to the standard of your original booking (for example all inclusive, full or half board, bed and breakfast, self-catering or room only), if you are required to stay beyond your scheduled return date due to either medically necessity or you being required to self quarantine (on the orders of a medical professional or public health board).

11th March was our scheduled return date and we booked accommodation up to that date - but how we can prove/argue that?

Any other thoughts are welcome

Replies

  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    Did any of you have any appointments booked in the UK for immediately after 11th?
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • edited 17 September at 7:19AM
    jackieblackjackieblack Forumite
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    edited 17 September at 7:19AM
    The way I read it, the insurers decision is basically that you don’t have a claim for the costs of a delayed return home, because you can’t prove that you had planned to return home any earlier than you did. The policy wording seems quite clear, ‘scheduled return date’ - you may have planned to return on a particular date, but nothing was scheduled as you had no travel booked. The fact that the accommodation booking ended proves nothing as you could well have been planning to move on to another place (I can’t remember the last time I stayed in one single accommodation the entire length of any trip, certainly not in at least the last 10 trips I’ve taken).

    On the face of it, while you’ve been unlucky, it is in line with the terms of your insurance policy.
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  • lincroft1710lincroft1710 Forumite
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    I agree with jackieblack
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  • cymruchriscymruchris Forumite
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    Unfortunate series of events whereby I think the insurance company is right, although something that as a consumer you'd probably never have considered. 
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  • ALIBOBSYALIBOBSY Forumite
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    Unless you have anything that was booked for just after the 11th say a hotel on the way home? or an appointment due in the days after you return? Confirmation from work of an original return date just after the 11th?

    From what you say there is no evidence when you were due to return, if you have anything that could support your original return date it would be worth sending the proof to the insurance and asking them to review the claim.
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  • DullGreyGuyDullGreyGuy Forumite
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    According to the FCO the French Border Guards can ask for proof of return/onward travel being booked and so your lack of a return could also have had you denied entry to the country
    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements 

    Assuming thats a copy/paste from the policybook then "scheduled" isnt a defined term in the contract and so falls to plain english meaning of the word. The obvious proof of scheduled return is your return ticket but thats not an option in this case. Do you have anything else that proves you were scheduled to return on that date? Were you due back in work on the 12th or 14th and so can get a letter from them saying your booked leave was X-Y date and you called in sick for 12-16th or such?
  • cheshirelabradorcheshirelabrador Forumite
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    lady38_me said:
    11th March was our scheduled return date and we booked accommodation up to that date - but how we can prove/argue that?
    You can prove it was the date you planned to check out of one particular hotel, but that is not evidence that you were planning to leave France that day. For all the insurance company knows you may have been planning to get a train to Marseille and then spending a week there.

    It sounds like you planned to book last minute tickets to get home. But what if no last minute tickets had been available? Then you would have been liable to pay for extra nights at a hotel, regardless of whether anyone tested positive for COVID.
  • CKhalvashiCKhalvashi Forumite
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    According to the FCO the French Border Guards can ask for proof of return/onward travel being booked and so your lack of a return could also have had you denied entry to the country
    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements [/QUOTE]
    Some countries (specifically thinking of Poland) don't care as long as you have access to an amount of funds required in law to return home. This is also official policy although despite always meeting the requirements one way or another, 99% of people have never been asked.

    On the one occasion I have been asked (which wasn't in Poland) for hard proof, I was able to show a flight booking from a neighbouring country to the UK and explicitly stated I will sort the flight to that neighbouring country (needing to arrive and leave at a specific airport to remain visa free) at the ticket office as my card hadn't worked on the national airline's website. That was accepted by the border guard although probably officially shouldn't have been. If there was a problem with that answer I could have given a phone number to someone the other side of the border (a national of that country) who could have booked a ticket for me and been reimbursed as soon as we'd got into the city.

    If OP had a problem, they could have equally presumably booked a ticket there and then.

    Assuming thats a copy/paste from the policybook then "scheduled" isnt a defined term in the contract and so falls to plain english meaning of the word. The obvious proof of scheduled return is your return ticket but thats not an option in this case. Do you have anything else that proves you were scheduled to return on that date? Were you due back in work on the 12th or 14th and so can get a letter from them saying your booked leave was X-Y date and you called in sick for 12-16th or such?
    I'd deem that to mean a booking has at least been made, or some other evidence of intended return is in place.

    I'd agree that appointments should point to an intention to return in plain English if no booking has been made in itself.
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