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Quickfire FAQs: Alcohol Abroad

Does travel insurance cover alcohol-related events/incidents/accidents?

That’s a good question. After all, you’re going away to enjoy yourself, which probably involves a beverage or two. But regardless of whether you’ve gone away with the family, your mates, for a hen or stag do… it’s unlikely that your travel insurance policy will cover you for things that might happen when you’re under the influence.

You might have seen in your Policy Wording something like this:

  • This policy does not provide cover for any loss that results directly or indirectly from any of the following general exclusions if they affect you, a travelling companion or a family member: the use or abuse of alcohol or drugs, or any related physical symptoms.
  • We will not pay for any claims arising directly or indirectly from deliberate solvent abuse, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependency, or use of drugs.
  • We will not pay for any claims arising directly or indirectly from you drinking too much as evidenced by a medical practitioner, witness report, your own admission, or you having drunk so much alcohol that your judgement is affected.
  • We will not pay any claim arising directly or indirectly from alcohol abuse, the use of drugs, or solvent abuse.
  • Our policy will not provide cover for any claims directly or indirectly related to drug or alcohol abuse.

This kind of statement is usually found in your ‘General Exclusions’.

Insurance is confusing. What’s an ‘exclusion’?

An exclusion basically means that you’re not covered under any circumstances if the mentioned event were to take place. If there appears to be an overlap between what is covered under the section you want to claim under and the General Exclusions, the Exclusions will always trump the section.

What if I have a few too many on the plane?

With most international flights offering out free alcohol, it’s not uncommon for travellers to accept - whether that’s to calm your nerves or just to pass the time. It’s worth remembering though, that due to higher air pressure and lower oxygen levels, the impact of a glass of complimentary prosecco can be amplified. In short, that means it’s possible to get more drunk more quickly on a plane than on the ground.

Your behaviour can get loud, lairy, disruptive, or even aggressive, and you could be landed with a fine, travel ban, or even a stint in prison. Remember that most travel insurance policies don’t cover claims from events that happen while the insured is under the influence of alcohol. So legal fees, loss of holiday, alternative flights, even medical expenses wouldn’t be covered if you got into trouble by drinking on the plane.

Can I get additional cover for alcohol-related claims?

It’s unlikely. The main reason insurers won’t cover alcohol-related claims is because you’re expected to do your best to avoid situations where you might need to make a claim. By drinking, you’re upping the chances of something going wrong - it’s like how it’s not advisable to travel somewhere with a hurricane warning, and then expecting insurance to cover damages from the storm.

If insurance policies covered every possible scenario, including those well within our control, insurance prices would be absolutely extortionate. At this point, you may as well pay for any travel mishaps yourself.

Do the same rules apply for drugs or other substance abuse?

Yep. The meaning of intoxication refers to having your physical or mental control altered by the effects of alcohol or drugs.

What if I have existing alcohol- or drug-related medical issues?

If you have pre-existing medical conditions caused purely by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, you wouldn’t be covered under your policy. By ‘drugs’, we do not mean those prescribed by a doctor and taken as prescribed.

13th May 2024