Section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act and its relevance to new US and UK ban

“New provisions from the UK government means that those travelling to the UK on a flight originating from any country on the banned list will not be permitted to bring personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width and 1.5cm in depth (or thickness) into the cabin, needing to place these items in their checked luggage instead. The US does not give specifications for the PEDs banned from flights but requires any device larger than a cell phone or smartphone to be placed in checked baggage.”

It is not uncommon for a Travel Insurance Policy to exclude damage to “Luggage and Personal Effects” that are checked into cargo hold. However, with recent bans being put in place by the US and UK whereby flights to certain Middle Eastern countries have banned any PED’s in any carry on luggage, forcing travelers to check in these devices to the cargo hold.

One such exclusion is worded as follows:

your valuables or their accessories are checked in to be transported in the cargo hold of any aircraft, ship, train, tram or bus (including any loss from the point of check in until collection by you from the baggage carousel or collection area at the end of your flight, voyage or trip);

What does this mean for the Policy holder, forced to check in their items?

Section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act states that the insurer may not refuse to pay claims in certain circumstances, including where:

  • The act was necessary to protect the safety of a person or to preserve property.
  • It was not reasonably possible for the insured or other person not to do the act.

If the airline gives you no alternative other than placing the device in checked luggage, then Section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act should prevent the travel insurer from rejecting your claim on those grounds.

A list of countries affected by the ban for both the US and UK can be found here:

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