Going on holiday is for most people an opportunity to leave the stresses and strains of everyday life behind and a chance to let their hair down.
For most, that inevitably means having a few drinks while abroad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a few glasses of wine in the sunshine, however, there are some who can take things too far and this can have a number of consequences.
Most people are aware that excessive drinking and the behaviour associated with it can lead to problems with local law enforcement, however, did you know that alcohol-fuelled misdemeanours can also invalidate your annual multi-trip travel insurance?
Recent research from the British Insurance Brokers' Association has shed some light on the topic of travel insurance and how it can be affected by alcohol and the taking of non-prescription drugs.
The most striking revelation from BIBA's survey is the differences between insurance companies on how they handle claims that arise from alcohol or drug-fuelled incidents.
All of the 20 policies scrutinised by the body showed a clampdown by insurers regarding drunken behaviour, with each having exclusions for drug or alcohol-related misdemeanours.
Given the cost of medical care overseas, it is important to know where insurers stand on this issue, as you could end up paying a significant amount as a result of drunken behaviour.
One policy that BIBA looked at stated that claims will be rejected in cases where alcohol has been consumed to such an extent that a person's judgement is seriously impaired.
Another's exclusion stated that claims arising from having a blood alcohol level exceeding 0.19 per cent would also be turned down, while another insurance provider stated that claims resulting from drug addiction or solvent abuse would be unsuccessful.
The majority of right-thinking people avoid illicit substances, so the issue of drug abuse does not apply to most people.
Alcohol, on the other hand, is something most need to concern themselves with.
It is easy to lose control when in unfamiliar surroundings and consume too much alcohol. Given that alcohol can make people act in a way they would normally never dream of, the research from BIBA should be taken seriously.
Aside from watching how much you consume while away and staying as safe as possible, there are other steps you can take to ensure your travel insurance policy provides sufficient protection.
As different insurers have different attitudes to alcohol and drug consumption, it is vital when shopping around to look at the list of exclusions of each policy and take these into consideration when purchasing cover.
You also need to speak to insurers or brokers about the policies you have identified and the terms and conditions attached to them.
No insurer expects you to remain tee-total while letting your hair down on holiday.
When consumed in moderation, alcohol can help you relax and enjoy a great time with family and friends.
Too much alcohol, however, can see you lose control of your thoughts and actions, which can lead to legal troubles and problems with your insurance company.
The best strategy is to carefully examine your travel insurance policy and bear in mind that any acts of alcohol-fuelled stupidity while on holiday could end up costing you dearly, physically and financially.