Traval insurance claim anyone have any experience?

We had to alter a flight on our recent holiday due to the death of my grandmother ( she wasn't travelling with us we just had to divert for her funeral). This was one flight in a 4 flight trip ( 2 there 2 back) We had taken out travel insurance which I understood covered some reasons for delay or annulation.

according to the insurance;

Vous bénéficiez d'une assurance UNIQUE vous permettant :

d'être indemnisé en cas d'annulation de votre part, pour tout motif justifié et consécutif à un événement aléatoire.
d'être dédommagé en cas de retard de vol.
d'être couvert dans le cas où vous ratez votre avion. Vous pourrez alors repartir dans les 48 heures, et l'aller de votre billet d'avion non utilisé est remboursé*

I contacted the travel agent ( an online one) but they referred me to the insurance so I contacted them but they have refused to pay out even tho' we took another flight with the same airline within 48 hours.

Their small print reads;

ACE Annulation vol – Conditions Générales
En cas de non présentation de l’Assuré à l’embarque
ment suite à un événement indépendant de sa volonté
, sera remboursé le montant du trajet non effectué si l’As
suré effectue un nouveau départ, avec la même destination,
dans les 48 heures suivant le départ initialement prévu. La limite de l’indemnité ne dépassera par les
50% du montant du billet initial (aller-retour ou seulement aller) jusqu’à 5 000 euros maximum par Assuré et
avec une limite maximale de 25 000 euros pour un même sinistre.

I have contacted the mediator of voyages and sent all the emails relevant to this but today Ihave recieved a letter saying that they can't mediate as ACE is not a member of their association!!!! I wonder why.

Can I make a small claims court type claim here in France?

Just a quick update. We were awarded our payement in June by the spanish tribunal. Ace were given 30 days to pay or appeal against the decision. Since then they have done niether so I have now written again to the tribunal to inform them of that fact and asking them what happens now.
If anyone knows if there is a spanish stytem of enforcing a court debt in spain similar to the hussiers de justice here in france please let me know. Ace seem to think that if they ignore me it will stop because it's a small sum but it has become a matter of principal now.


Thanks for the introduction to Droitissimo. The site seems to have lots of really useful info. Although we've lived in France for quite a long time, no occasion has yet arisen where this kind of info was really needed. All the same, things change, and we're now having to get to grips more directly with the French bureaucracy. (I used to work for an international organization, which shields you from much of the French bureaucratic grief.)

My only experience of the French civil legal system has been that of a friend who was involved in a land dispute with a local farmer. All she had done was buy a new house from a developer. It took years to come to a Tribunal, and then seemed to be decided against her, in 5 minutes,on the basis that she was the foreigner. As a result, I've always considered that the French small disputes system was fundamentally broken. (My wife used to work in an English County Court, so we had inside knowledge of that system.) The Droitissimo site seems to open up some hope that there is a route whereby a small claim can be resolved in a sensible way.

I wish you well with your case, and hope you'll post the outcome here.

thanks for replying Peter,

I have been posting this on several forums and have had quite good advice via Dritissimo.

They aren't refusing for it being my own choice even tho' they could chose that I guess, perhaps I shouldn't give them ideas. They are refusing for refusing's sake. No actual reason has really been given apart from the fact we had already started our journey, as if nothing should happen once you begin!!

I know we are only going to get 50% but we can't actually calculate the amount as it was one price for all the flights with both airlines , so I am claiming for the replacement flights which I managed to get extremely cheaply 53€ per person with BA. They must be under half the original price.

I have now sent them a LRAR mis en demure letter saying they have 14 days to pay up or I will fill in Form A. They seem to like hiding behind the France , UK a, Spain system in the hope that people who have a small claim will give up and go away. I'm not giving up yet. .

Hello Claire,

I helped a friend make a claim where she had paid for a trip with a French Gold credit card. She was diagnosed with a cancer 10 days before departure & had to undergo an emergency op. It took a fair bit of form filling, but she finally got her money back. Paying with AmEx gives similar benefits. Clearly, a close reading of the T&Cs is fundamental to understanding what events and circumstances are covered.

In your existing case, it wouldn't surprise me if the insurance company simply refuses your claim on the basis that it was you who decided to delay the trip because of your grandmother's funeral, and that was not un événement indépendant de [votre] volonté. Even if you win, they'll only give you 50% of the cost of the original ticket. Seems to me that the cover was skimpy in the extreme, and is a lesson to us all to carefully read the small print (& in any case to pay for travel with a quality credit card.)

After various searchings I have found that the insurance company is British working in France head office in Spain. As I have been dealing in french with spain , I have today drafted a mise en demure giving them 14 days to pay up or I will have recourse via the portail of the ejustice small claims court.

the link is here in case it's of any use to anyone else with European small claims.