Millions of people travel overseas on trips every year. Domestic health insurance plans don’t typically provide medical coverage overseas, or numerous other important benefits. Many people purchase travel insurance to protect against the unforeseen, which is highly recommended to take care of unexpected situations that could occur. While on a holiday, some people are likely to consume more alcohol than they would at home. For this reason, it is very important to understand the alcohol related exclusions in travel insurance.
Travel insurance plans are designed to cover any unforeseen medical conditions that you may not have control over. However, consuming alcohol impairs your motor skills, numbs down the nervous system, and affects your judgement. Drinking excessively may leave you in situations that you would not otherwise be in if you were sober; by over-indulging you are knowingly putting yourself at risk, and increasing the chances of an incident.
All travel insurance plans have alcohol exclusions for claims resulting from expenses incurred while a person is intoxicated above the legal limit. That does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t have any alcoholic beverages while on your vacation. You are in full control of how much you imbibe. It’s important to understand that if you drink too much, travel insurance companies will decline claims arising from incidents that happen while under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol is free flowing at most, if not all, of the bars on the cruise because of the alcohol packages cruise lines offer to cruise goers. In fact, many cruise lines offer unlimited beverage packages (UBP). While people are relaxing on their cruise with nowhere else to go, most vacationers just sit and drink, many of them at the pool or in other areas of the ship. However, if you fall down the stairs of the cruise, or if you slip in the ship pool and injure yourself, you may not be covered for medical expenses if you were intoxicated when it happened.
If there is an accident and you are unable to get adequate treatment while on the cruise ship or at one of the ports, you may need to be evacuated to the closest location where adequate treatment can be given. A helicopter ride from the ship to the shore may cost you up to $25,000 and the emergency medical evacuation may cost you up to $100,000. Of course, domestic health insurance companies do not cover such expenses. Normally, travel insurance would cover them; however, if the sickness or injury that occurred were due to excessive consumption of alcohol, it would be excluded.
Some insured holidaymakers may try to claim that they were not intoxicated, but it is very important to remember that cruise ships keep records of every drink that you had. Every time you get a drink, they swipe your cruise card. When a claim is filed, the travel insurance company can ask the cruise ship to submit these records for verification.
Many people travel to all-inclusive resorts for their vacation. These resorts are quite popular in Mexico and the Caribbean; they also include unlimited amounts of alcohol at no additional cost. At many such resorts, there is so much alcohol available that most people end up drinking, even those that are not regular drinkers may want to try out cocktails such as Pina Colada, Margarita or something similar. However, you should be very careful of how much you drink. Otherwise, a medical emergency occurring while being intoxicated may be excluded.
Depending upon the type of resorts, some travel insurance companies may automatically assume that you must be drinking a lot, unless you can prove otherwise.
Many international flights offer free alcohol. Other airlines allow you to purchase alcoholic beverages during your flight. Whether you’re killing time, dealing with the boredom of a long journey, settling nerves, or trying to sleep, many people end up having a drink during their flight.
During flights, oxygen levels are lower and the air pressure level is higher compared to on the ground, and passengers may feel the effect of alcohol much more quickly than they would on land. Therefore, passengers should be sensible with their alcohol consumption during their flight. If someone drinks too much, they could cause a disturbance, or worse get into a fight with another passenger or a crewmember; they could suffer fines, travel bans, and even imprisonment. Any travel plans affected by such a disturbance would not be covered by travel insurance.
While on your trip, there may be other alcohol related incidents worth noting:
- If you were to hire a taxi because you have been drinking and got in a traffic accident, your claim could be covered as your intoxication would not necessarily be related to the accident. However, driving under the influence would cause any claims related to a car accident to be denied.
- If while you were drunk you lost your wallet or other possessions, and no longer remember where you left them, travel insurance may deny your claim.
- If you were intoxicated and got into a physical fight with someone and you’re injured as a result, travel insurance would not cover the claim for medical treatment under such circumstances.
Alcohol consumption can be hazardous to your health and well-being no matter where you are. While you should definitely enjoy your vacation, drink responsibly to reduce chances of injuries or other incidents that may result in declined claims from your travel insurance company.
Every claim is different and any of the scenarios described above may or may not apply to you. The claims department will make the final decision of the claim adjudication only after the claim has been received along with all the necessary documents. No advance determination of the claim payment can be made.