Date published: 1 June 2014
If you’re turning to price-comparison sites to find insurance, trying to decide on which policy to buy can be baffling. We help to explain the truth about travel insurance comparisons.
What’s the story with the unknown brands?
With more insurers entering the market all the time, you are likely to find a competitive price for your travel insurance.
Just because you haven't heard of a company before, doesn’t mean that they aren’t reputable. Large insurers tend to trade under a range of different names, or distribute their insurance policies through partners. An unknown brand could actually be backed by a large insurance company you have heard of. For example, DUinsure are underwritten by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited. By choosing one of these providers you know you would be backed by a larger insurance company.
Compare apples with apples
Travel insurance policies usually fall into one of two categories: Basics or Comprehensive, with some providers offering a third mid-range product. Basics (sometimes called Medical Only) will cover you for overseas medical expenses. Mid-range and comprehensive policies will cover you medically and include varying levels of cover for luggage and personal belongings, personal liability, rental vehicle excess, cancellation and more.
Make sure you're comparing ‘apples with apples’ when using a comparison website. If two product’s premiums vary dramatically in costs, chances are there is a reason for it.
What policy should I pick?
Before doing any kind of quote search it is a good idea to have a good understanding of what cover you need. For holidaymakers that know they need more than just medical cover, they can generally skip the Basics policies and just consider the Comprehensive ones. Many comparison sites provide an overwhelming list of policies with all policies lumped together, making it difficult for holidaymakers to find a policy right for their trip.
Look out for high excesses that bring down the quote price. Many providers will increase excesses or reduce some elements of cover to appear at the top of the table.
Things to pay attention to
- Baggage cover: Your high value designer luggage might not be covered. Cheaper basics policies will have limited cover for luggage and personal items - so check your limits before you jet set.
- Valuables: Many insurers also have limits for high value single items, so if you're taking away your laptop you might need to pay for extra cover.
- Missed flights: If you miss a connecting flight because your previous flight (on another airline) was delayed you're not covered. Make sure you allow enough time between connecting flights.
- Excess: Watch out for high excess which could make a claim worthless in the event of a low value claim.
- Medical exclusions: Most, if not all travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing medical conditions unless you declare them. Failure to do so could make your policy void or result in non-payment of a claim.
- Booze: Don’t drink too much. Any claims from accidents when you were drunk or acting reckless will not be covered.
- Dependents: Most policies cover dependent children under 21 years of age for free. But you should always check your insurers small print to check.