When rain stops play check the small print
Sunday 15 November 1998
This may not sound very generous. The odds of so precise a combination of meteorological circumstances actually happening sound pretty remote to me. But Rothwell and Towler claim that their phones have not stopped ringing and I can well believe it. I know people who would jump at this kind of insurance policy. My father, for example.
He has never knowingly gone on holiday to a place with significant risk of rainfall, but he claims that it always manages to bucket down on him. I keep suggesting that he consider a holiday in the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia or Chile's Atacama Desert (where it has not rained for 400 years), but he refuses on the grounds that the locals are not equipped to deal with the sudden deluges which follow him around wherever he travels.
But the idea that there might be some compensation at the end of his rain tunnel would cast a ray of light over the whole experience. Last summer there were a number of theoretical weeks at various British resorts which might have been wet enough to qualify for a pay-out. And given that the anti-rain policy will cover people equally in the wettest parts of the country as in the driest, I can see pluviophobes like my father heading for the Outer Hebrides for the first time in their lives.
Mind you, rain is but one of the hazards which have been difficult to claim for under traditional travel insurance policies. I think I would have wanted my money back, for example, if I had gone to Paris last week specifically to see the "Millet-Van Gogh" exhibition in the Orsay Museum, only to find that it was closed down for four days by a strike among staff. Fortunately, a spokesperson for Columbus Travel Insurance tells me that although a loss of enjoyment because of rain is not covered by standard policies, a strike in a French museum might be.
The current threat to holidays concerns the possibility of their being curtailed or cancelled due to nasty goings on in the Gulf. All those aggrieved British holiday-makers whose holidays were suddenly cut short without notice last Thursday might well feel that their tour operators' reactions did not seem proportionate to the risk.
True, Israel is in the Middle East, but it is about as far away from Baghdad as London is from Geneva. If I suspected that my holiday had fallen victim to the Foreign Office's propaganda war against Saddam I think I would feel rather aggrieved, too. In fact, the only thing that the Foreign Office actually said was that "non-essential" travel was not advised. What I wonder is whether a long overdue and hard-earned holiday can accurately be described as "non-essential".
Anyway, I flew to Egypt yesterday and am currently heading for the middle of the Sahara Desert. The odds of it raining down here are probably about the same as the odds of my becoming the victim of a poison-gas attack, that is to say fairly slight. The small print of my travel insurance will not cover me for either.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
How double-decker trains would improve Britain's railways
French air-traffic strike: Planned industrial action called off
The 10 Best hiking boots
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...
£25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...