better banking

Case - 50339

2016 - 2017


Travel insurance

Mr G had a credit card that offered travel insurance if certain conditions were met. Before travelling overseas he met a bank staff member to conduct some business. On his way out of the bank he asked a second staff member about travel insurance on the card and was told he would be eligible for cover if he paid at least half of the prepaid travel expenses on the card. He left the bank without further discussion.

While overseas, Mr G had an accident and needed emergency surgery. He called the bank to make a claim on the policy and was told the cover applied only to trips lasting less than 40 days. Mr G’s trip was 100 days.

Mr G complained to the bank when he returned home and again asked it to meet the cost of the surgery. Again it declined and he came to us.  

Mr G said he specifically asked the second staff member whether he would be covered while travelling overseas and was told he would be. He felt the staff member should have explained that cover applied only to trips of less than 40 days, in which case he would have taken out extra cover.

The staff member recalled Mr G walking past her desk after attending the meeting with her colleague. She said he waved his card before her and asked whether it still came with travel insurance. She said it did as long as he paid half of the prepaid travel costs using the card. She said Mr G did not ask any more questions and continued on his way out of the office.

In our view, the staff member gave a reasonable and proportionate response to such a brief and casual inquiry. She responded directly to his one question, and also explained the eligibility for cover. She was under no obligation to point out specific policy limitations and exclusions, nor did the nature of their interaction warrant a more detailed explanation.

We also noted that details about the travel insurance were set out in the card’s policy. Mr G received a copy when he got the card. Mr G said he did not read the policy, but this omission did not place any further responsibility on the bank to explain the details to him.

We were unable to uphold Mr G’s complaint.