It’s tempting to some. You are contacted and told that you can make an insurance claim for your holiday for having been ill with a stomach bug even for just a day or so and an insurance company will pay you compensation. You are then told the compensation could be considerable and may even cover the cost of that holiday that you saved so hard to pay for.
What is the harm?
If you have been genuinely ill on holiday and consulted a doctor and have some evidence of this then you may be entitled to compensation. However it would appear holiday makers are being encouraged to make sickness claims on the basis there is no risk in claiming and that they have nothing to lose in making a claim whether they were ill or not or even if they suffered some uncomfortable symptoms for just a brief part of their holiday.
Holiday makers need to consider very carefully before making such a claim. A frivolous or false claim will amount to fraud and could result in prosecution in this country under the Fraud Act 2006. This may result in a criminal conviction and depending upon the size of any false claim, a prison sentence could be a real risk.
It may also result in civil litigation proceedings being brought against them by an insurance company in the UK or even an overseas hotel seeking damages for “defamation” if you falsely claim you were ill due to poor hygiene or food standards at the hotel.
False insurance claims have serious repercussions. Insurers share information on fraudulent claims through the Association of British Insurers ABI who operate the “Insurance Fraud Register ” - a database of false and fraudulent claims. Insurers may decline insurance in the future to anyone who has made a false or “inflated” claim. This can affect insurance premiums or even the ability to access insurance at all.
What action should you take?
Insurers may conduct their own investigation, may void a claim and may then start civil proceedings against the maker of a false claim. They may also refer certain claims to the police and make a formal complaint of fraud. If you are contacted by the police in respect of an alleged “false claim” you should take legal advice as soon as possible.
At Cartwright King we have a team of specialised fraud lawyers who can assist you if you become the subject of a criminal investigation. You should seek advice before talking to the police. If you have been accused of committing fraud, please contact our fraud team on either 0808 168 5550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.