Wheels come off my travel policy as Amex refuses to pay for bicycle damage – The Guardian


I was wondering if you could help me with my American Express/Axa travel insurance policy.

Before going on a recent cycling trip to Spain I took out a policy advertised on the Amex website as “automatically providing comprehensive cover while cycling”. The website could not have been clearer. To cut a long story short, I had a serious accident and my bike was damaged. When I got back to the UK I made a claim for the damage to my bicycle and clothing.

At this point, despite the advertised “comprehensive” nature of the policy, Axa, which underwrites the policy on Amex’s behalf, has refused to pay out, leaving me with a £1,500 loss. The policy’s terms and conditions are contradictory and I have since discovered the policy excludes damage to bikes.

I believe the advertising on the Amex website and wording in the policy document is grossly misleading, and that the policy has been mis-sold. Can you help?

OR, Leeds

I agree that the website could not have been any clearer. Small wonder people have little faith in insurance companies, and we would expect better of American Express. After agreeing to take a second look at the case, Axa has decided it will now pay up. A spokesman told Guardian Money: “We have reviewed the case again and we can see why OR might have misunderstood what was covered under his travel insurance policy. With that in mind we have decided to pay the claim as a gesture of goodwill and American Express has updated the wording on its website.”

In general, prominently displayed marketing claims will always trump terms hidden in the small print, so the financial ombudsman would most likely have found in your favour had it come to that. You are saved a lot of form filling and a considerable wait.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number

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