When Kevin Blakeman took the soccer field with buddies for a Sunday league game, he didn't realise he was a kick away from upheaving his young family's life.

An accidentally rough tackle on the field broke his leg and left him in a full cast and unable to board his flight to the United Kingdom one week later.

He had been due to fly back to his birthplace with wife Jenny so their newborn son Henry could meet Kevin's mother.

The family had also been due to make a stopover in China where they had never been before.


But when they went to recover some of their lost expenses from their travel insurance, they were refused.

The insurer said the policy was void because Kevin had been taking part in a contact sport.

"It wasn't like he was playing for the Wellington Phoenix, it was a Sunday game with the boys," Jenny said.

"We took out the cover before we left as I assumed it included cover for if you cancelled because something unforeseen came up and you couldn't travel."

The family ended up losing about $2500 in flight deposit costs and visa fees and hotels for the China stay.

Now eight years later, they are yet to make the trip back to the UK after Kevin's mother moved to New Zealand instead.

"I was on maternity leave at the time and we weren't able to rebook it," Jenny said.

Kevin had also just moved into a new job and while his new employers initially said they were willing to wait for him to heal, a few weeks later they let him go, saying they couldn't afford to wait six weeks.


"It was a horrible time, I was heartbroken," Jenny said.

"It does leave you feeling like insurance companies will do anything they can to get out of it."

She said she understood why insurers might include fine print about extreme sports like skydiving or mountaineering, but thought it harsh that weekend social sports many Kiwis played could also void a policy.

Nowadays, she treats it as a lesson learned and makes sure she rings insurers before taking out policies so she is clear about what is covered and what isn't.

"I try to be specific about what it covers, but I'm sure there are plenty of other things that could happen unexpectedly and that other people have experienced situations that they never knew they weren't covered for," she said.

"I mean that's the whole reason you take out these policies - for those moments."