5 iconic movie characters who'd get their travel insurance claims rejected

Hands hold a film clapperboard in front of a bokeh view of a twilight harbour.

Look, we know movies aren’t real life. Filmmakers use creative licence all the time to show us crazy alternate realities where superheroes aren’t liable for property damage, the laws of physics don’t count, and foreign travel takes as long as a montage. If anything, suspension of disbelief is why we love movies! 

However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t oodles of fun to nitpick – especially when it comes to travel insurance. After all, how on earth does MI5 cover James Bond’s international escapades?

Do you need travel insurance?

Absolutely! Whether you’re travelling domestically or abroad, travel insurance is as essential as luggage or a passport. Insurance can help cover the costs of unexpected events, such as injury or accidents. Without it, you could be on the hook for some pretty hefty sums out of pocket!

According to Smartraveller, one in four Australians experienced an insurable event on their last overseas trip. While 85% of travellers with insurance received payouts, those who had their claims denied missed out because they’d misunderstood their policy.

So here’s our list of movie characters who would definitely get their claims denied – and how you can avoid their mistakes! Mild spoilers ahead.

Frodo Baggins - Not disclosing a preexisting condition

White male doctor consults a female patient dressed in pink while she sits upright in her hospital bed
Photo by the National Cancer Institute

In his quest to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mt. Doom, intrepid lil’ hobbit Frodo Baggins has a bit of a rough time. As a ring-bearer, he’s prone to experiencing medical emergencies, such as mental illness and other ring-related injuries – but because of the needs of the mission, he can’t tell anyone outside the group of this preexisting condition.

Therefore, if Frodo purchased a travel insurance policy for the journey without disclosing his ring-bearing status, he’s unlikely to have his hospital stays in Middle Earth covered.

Insurance companies vary wildly on how they cover preexisting conditions – some won’t even cover them at all. Others will do so for an extra fee, usually along with a medical assessment. Navigating the rules and policies can be tricky and expensive – check out our guide if you’re unsure what counts. 

The important thing is that no matter the plan, you should always declare your chronic condition or ailment to the insurance provider. Only then can one simply walk into Mordor (and have their claims approved). 

Black Widow and Yelena Belova - Acting recklessly or unlawfully

A car speeds down a wet European city street
Photo by Toine G.

In Marvel’s recent Black Widow movie, Natascha Romanoff floors an SUV down the streets of Paris in a high-stakes motor chase. Her little sister, Yelena Belova, later flies a helicopter into the frozen heart of Siberia. Both superheroines get into scrappy, action-packed comic book fights. But goodness – there’s no way their travel insurance covered all that avenging!

Though they both sustained serious injuries in the pursuit of justice, insurance companies would view their behaviour as acting recklessly or unlawfully. Even operating vehicles without a valid licence presents an unnecessary risk – especially if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. (So, a casual beer between missions might not be the way to go. Looking at you, Agent Romanoff).

Maybe superheroes are just bad for insurance. Just make sure you’re on your best behaviour during your spy-themed European holiday.

James Bond - Doing extreme activities not specified in the policy

A ginger snowboarder in goggles, a white coat in the snowy, forested mountains
Photo by Karsten Winegeart

As undeniably cool as it is to see Pierce Brosnan’s 007 windsurfing CGI waves in Die Another Day, or Sean Connery engaging in hand-to-hand combat in scuba gear in Thunderball – no insurance provider would ever approve their claims if they got injured. Not unless MI5 read the fine print beforehand! 

When it comes to extreme activities, such as mountaineering or snow sports, insurance policies will often require you to opt-in to extra protections. These cover the extra risk you’ll be taking on – usually at an extra premium. This especially counts for activities undertaken without instructor supervision. 

Just be sure to plan ahead whenever purchasing a policy. Otherwise, you could be left footing the bill for that literal ski trip.

Wonder Woman - Travelling to a dangerous country against official advice

Photo by Issy Bailey

As noble as the warrior princess of Themyscira is for trying to single-handedly stop WWI, travelling to the Western Front against government advice would mean any of her future insurance claims would be denied.

Smartraveller, run by the Australian government, categorises foreign countries into four different levels of travel advice:

  • Level 1: Exercise normal safety precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider your need to travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

Anything in Level 3 or 4 usually won’t be covered by travel insurance, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing your destination. Safe to say, an active war zone in 1917 would at least count as a “Do Not Travel”. 

Good thing Diana Prince is bullet-proof!

Dora the Explorer - Leaving luggage/valuables unattended

Abandoned red suitcase, through the perspective of an open doorway.
Photo by Convert Kit

Swiper, no swiping! This catchphrase is usually enough to stop the fox, therefore mitigating the risk Dora takes while travelling. However, because theft, loss, and damage are some of the most common insurable events, insurance providers will look for ways to avoid paying out. 

Unattended baggage is never covered because it assumes negligence and risk on the victim’s part. Even if Dora was simply looking the other way when she got swiped, her insurance company will claim she was at fault.

But let’s say she wasn’t to blame, and Swiper committed a legitimate theft. Dora will then need supporting documentation when filing her claim. This includes collecting evidence such as photographs/receipts proving ownership of what was stolen, as well as any police reports she lodged at the time of the crime.

Unless you can prove that the item belonged to you, and that you followed proper legal procedures, in the eyes of insurance, it didn’t happen.

What kind of travel insurance should I get?

Insurance policies will vary depending on the provider and individual plan, so it’s important to take stock of your needs and destination before you travel. 

Most insurances offer two kinds of coverage: 

  • Basic, which covers personal liability, medical expenses, and other accidents.
  • Comprehensive, which includes extra policies for incidents like missed flights, lost luggage, rental car expenses, or cancellation costs. 

Check out our guide for all things travel insurance to get started, including an explainer on how to read the terms and conditions.

Compare travel insurance policies - last updated 17 May 2022

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