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Celebrity holidays from hell – how trip insurance can solve travel tragedies

Kelly Brook - photo taken by Guy JaquesTrips away aren’t always a time of rest and relaxation, even if you’re rich and famous the dream of lying by a pool in the sun can turn into a nightmare. looks at celebrity holiday disasters, and how travel insurance can help put things right.

Holiday sickness

Whether it’s Delhi belly or the Torremolinos trots, many of us have experienced food poisoning whilst abroad. Model/actress/presenter Kelly Brook once succumbed during a holiday to Tunisia, possibly after an excessively Big Breakfast.

Minor illnesses can usually be controlled by over-the-counter medicine, but more serious cases could involve hospital treatment. So it’s always best to make sure that your travel insurance provides adequate medical cover.

Even if you’re in Europe, where you can use the EHIC card, travel insurance could still prove valuable as only emergency care is covered under the scheme. Repatriation costs to the UK will have to come out of your own pocket if you don’t have the right travel insurance. This could be a huge bill, e.g. despite Australia’s reciprocal medical care agreement with the UK, your return to Britain after an accident down under could set you back up to £20,000*.

Former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel once broke his leg in a skiing accident in Switzerland; did you have something In Your Eyes at the time, Peter? Such accidents are not uncommon on winter-sports holidays, and the hospital bills can quickly mount up. Check out our buyers’ guide for winter sports insurance, and make sure that your travel insurance policy explicitly covers you for sports-related incidents.

Flight frustrations

When a flight to the Seychelles got delayed due to bad weather, DJ Zoe Ball was stranded for several days, probably wishing she’d stayed in Brighton. Some travel insurance policies will pay up for long delays, e.g. £30 for the first 12 hours, then additional sums for subsequent 12-hour periods.

If you’re like chef Ken Hom and have difficulty making it to the airport on time, you might be able to claim on your travel insurance. The Chinese-food guru once turned up late for his plane to Hong Kong. Luckily the airline managed to find him a new flight, so he wasn’t forced to ‘wok’ to his destination.

Check your policy details carefully though, as many travel insurance providers will only cover you for flights that are missed because of incidents outside of your control, such as car breakdown. Forget to set your alarm and you’ll probably have to stump up the cash yourself.

Lost and stolen luggage

It’s not just the annoyance of spending a fortnight’s holiday in one outfit; replacing the contents of a large suitcase can be pricey. On a trip to Maui a few years back, foul-mouthed foodie Gordon Ramsay suffered a holiday nightmare by losing his luggage. We imagine the hotheaded chef turned the carousel air blue with his first-class F-Words.

Depending on your particular policy, your travel insurance provider will usually provide you with an emergency payment if the bag is missing for over 48 hours. This is intended to allow you to buy replacements such as new underwear and toiletries. If the luggage is declared permanently lost, you should be covered for the items it contained, up to a certain limit (usually around £2,000).

For more information, read the article, Baggage Cover: Bag Yourself a Great Travel Insurance Deal!

NOTE: Airlines are also responsible for lost baggage. If your baggage is delayed, you can ask the airline for an immediate cash payment to cover essentials such as toiletries. Also, if your baggage goes missing and isn’t recovered after 21 days, you are entitled to compensation from the airline. For more useful info on airport baggage responsibility, read ‘Airport Chaos – How You’re Covered for Delays, Cancellations, and Other Airport Ups and Downs’.

Talent-contest judge Amanda Holden had her mobile phone stolen whilst holidaying in Barcelona. It pays to be careful with your belongings as travel insurance cover is often invalidated where items are not adequately secured. Many travel insurance policies have a low upper-limit for individual items, so if you have anything particularly precious, like an engagement ring, it is often worth making sure it’s protected away from home under your home insurance policy.

Unusual travel disasters

Reality-TV star Jade Goody dodged a falling electric pylon at villa she once rented in Tobago. A comprehensive travel insurance policy will cover the cost of alternative accommodation if anything happens to the place where you’re staying.

Jogtastic Paula Radcliffe outdid Jade with a marathon-run of holiday bad luck after encountering, not one, but two hurricanes in the same holiday, first in Florida and then in Antigua. Unfortunately, natural disasters are often excluded from travel insurance policies, so if planning on going somewhere where the probability of freak weather conditions is high, check your terms and conditions to see if ‘Acts of God’ are covered.

If our tales of celebrity travel woes haven’t completely put you off your next trip away, consider taking out travel insurance before you go. It may not prevent you from getting into problems whilst away, but it’s invaluable in helping to sort them out.

*According to information from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Figure includes scheduled flight, stretcher and doctor escort from Australia.
**Photo of Kelly Brook by Guy Jaques.

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