- Nationwide Building Society says bike riders without helmets won’t be covered
- Angry consumers take to Twitter to voice their concerns over the rule change
- Cycling UK says the move is clearly ‘not an evidence based change’
- The building society has made a raft of changes to the Flex Plus account
- The new rule will apply to anyone with a trip booked on or after September 21
Nationwide has sparked a travel insurance row after changing its policy to mean that those riding bikes while on holiday will only be covered if they wear a helmet.
The building society’s move will apply to customers with the worldwide family travel policy, which comes free with the Nationwide FlexPlus account.
The change is being made on September 21 and will only affect trips booked on or after this date.
Nationwide travel insurance customers now have to wear a helmet when cycling abroad
The building society is making a number of changes to the travel insurance policy from the end of September, which have been sent out to customers and are listed online.
Angry Nationwide customers took to social media to complain about the change, with some using the building society’s @AskNationwide Twitter account to take it to task. Other Twitter users supported it, however.
Meanwhile, a cycling expert said that Nationwide appeared to have made the change without evidence to back it up as safer – and pointed out that in some countries, such as the Netherlands, helmets weren’t widely worn and that this also covered cycling on forest tracks.
Several people took to Twitter to voice their anger and concerns around the helmet change:
As someone who always wears a helmet, i’d not use Nationwide cos it’s a personal choice to wear one or not IMO
— ??N?ONi Saorsa (@1ZERO13)
July 21, 2017
Roger Geffen, policy director at CyclingUK, said: ‘This is clearly not an evidence- based change. It is far from clear if helmets provide a benefit for safety when cycling, in some cases they can help and in others they can be counterproductive.
‘In certain countries such as the Netherlands, wearing a helmet is completely unheard of. The message that helmets must be worn is out of kilter with reality as it assumes cycling is a dangerous thing to do.
‘By enforcing this rule it will also put people off cycling and the health benefits of getting on a bike are far greater than the safety a helmet provides.’
Policy wording: The change will apply to anyone with a trip booked on or after September 21
A spokesperson for Nationwide said: ‘The change made to the policy concerning the wearing of bicycle helmets while cycling is intended to provide greater clarity regarding the ‘reasonable care’ we expect our customers to take while on holiday.
‘This change is intended to help to protect our members’ welfare.
‘Whilst we accept an individual’s choice to wear a helmet or not, there is an increased risk of head injury for those people who choose not to wear a helmet.
‘As an insurer, we feel the requirement to wear a helmet when cycling is a responsible approach to encourage safe cycling for our members. The change in wording applies only in cases where an injury resulting from riding a bike would have been avoided or minimised through the wearing of a helmet.’
Cycling UK says the decision to insist helmets are worn is ‘clearly not an evidence based’
We asked some of the other major insurers what their policies were when it comes to helmets.
LV told us: ‘LV travel policies cover various forms of cycling; whilst we expect customers to take sensible precautions to protect themselves, we do not insist customers wear a helmet, other than for mountain biking.’
Avivia had a similar rule: ‘For Aviva Travel insurance policy holders we assess each claim (including those who do not wear a helmet when cycling) on its own merits.
‘We wouldn’t decline a claim simply because the customer had not worn a helmet whilst on a bicycle. Rather, we’d assess whether or not the customers had taken all reasonable precautions to protect themselves and prevent accident and injury.’
While Tom Bishop, head of Direct Line travel insurance, said: ‘Although we do not enforce the use of helmets for holidaymakers when cycling abroad, the safety of our customers is important to us, which is why we strongly encourage the use of helmets.’
The worldwide insurance policy from Nationwide is a family policy and it includes adults up to the age of 74. Winter sports and businesses trips are included and all family members at the same address are covered.
From September it will also cover those aged under 19 (or 22 if they’re in full-time education) if they’re travelling on their own and not with their parents or guardians.
Nationwide also announced this week that it was increasing the fee on its Flex Plus account by £36 a year.
Customers currently pay £10 a month for perks including mobile phone insurance, travel cover and car breakdown assistance but from September 21st this will rise to £13 a month.
The free overdraft is being increased, from £100 to £250, customers will be able to claim on the mobile phone insurance four times a year instead of two and the extended warranty and special helpline for those who lose their cards or fall victim to identify theft is being scrapped.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online