Travel Insurance Reviews

Posted October 4th, 2013 and last modified November 23rd, 2014

Read the best travel insurance reviews online to help you find the right cover for your trip

There is a lot to get organised when you are planning to head off on your travels, from booking your transport and accommodation through to sorting out your currency and shopping for clothes.

However, one of the most important things you need to sort out before you travel is your travel insurance cover. It is advisable to sort out this cover as soon as you have booked your trip, as it offers invaluable protection in the event that you are forced to make cancellations. Whether you are travelling abroad or travelling within Australia, it is important that you take the time to find suitable travel insurance cover to ensure you do not suffer any financial hardship following unforeseen losses.

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What you need to look for when reading travel insurance reviews in Australia

In order to determine the suitability of any particular travel insurance plan you need to look at a number of important areas. Of course, you can also look at travel insurance reviews to get a better idea of suitability but looking at the details of each of the plans you are considering is also very important. Some of the areas you need to compare and look at with travel insurance cover include;

  • Already cover in place: It is not uncommon for you to already have other cover in place from different types of insurance including home and contents or car insurance. It is worth checking if these offer any protection for losses suffered overseas.
  • The cost of the cover: While you should never sacrifice receiving cover for events that you need protection for, it is important to find a policy option that is competitively priced but still provides an adequate level of cover. Most policies will offer options with different levels of cover i.e. comprehensive, essentials and basic, each with different pricing based on the number of events covered.
  • What the plan covers you for: You need to know what the travel insurance plan covers you for in order to determine how suitable it is for your trip. It is not enough to just glance over the cover options; you must actually read through the conditions for claim payment.
  • The level of coverage: The benefit amount that you are covered for each benefit can vary from one travel insurance plan to another. You should therefore check the levels of coverage with the various plans you are considering and choose one that provides you with adequate levels of protection for different losses.
  • The exclusions: Checking the exclusions on the plan is just as important as checking what events you are covered for. Each insurer will have a list of events that they won’t pay for and conditions for the policyholder being eligible to receive a benefit payment.
  • Benefit excess: An important thing to watch out for is how excess will be applied to any claim that you make. Cheaper policies will generally have significantly higher excess fees charged. Some policies will allow you to pay a small fee to have the excess removed from the policy.
  • Sub-limits on expensive items: It is essential that you check what the maximum payment is per item for claims for lost, stolen or damaged belongings. Most providers will only pay a maximum amount per item and then a maximum amount for all items lost. It is usually possible to register high value items to have this sum increased.
  • Claims process: It is good to get an idea of the provider’s process for handling claims and what will be required from you in the event that a claim is made. This will ensure that your claim is not rejected and there is no delay in the actual payment.
  • Cooling off period: Most providers will offer a cooling off period whereby the policy can be cancelled if it has not already started. This gives great flexibility in the event that you are not satisfied with the level of cover that is provided.

Consider your cover requirements

Not everyone’s travel cover needs are the same so it is crucial to take the time to consider what you actually need cover for and carry out some research on suitable policy options. However, with such a wide range of plans and providers to choose from, you will generally need to put in a little time and research to find the most suitable plan for your needs. Consider things such as the maximum amount you can afford to spend, what you need to be covered for, whether you have any special cover requirements and an appropriate sum-insured for different losses.

Compare different options

Once you have determined what you want from your travel insurance and how much you can afford to spend, you can start browsing and comparing cover in order to work what plan is most suitable. There are a number of ways in which you can do this, from comparing the cost and features of individual travel insurance plans through to reading up on travel insurance reviews. Looking at travel insurance reviews from other consumers is a great way to get a general feel for the quality, effectiveness and suitability of a particular plan or provider. It is still essential that you read through the terms and conditions prior to application.

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How to read travel insurance reviews including consumer reports

In addition to checking out the suitability of particular travel insurance plans you should also take the time to browse and compare different travel insurance providers. Again, you will be able to access a range of consumer reviews about the different travel insurance providers to determine the suitability and reputation of the ones you may be considering. Some of the factors you may want to look into when it comes to checking travel insurance providers include:

  • Choice of plans: The choice of travel insurance plans available from different providers can vary, so if you want to boost your chances of finding a suitable plan at a competitive price it is worth checking the choice of plans available from different providers. Some providers will offer specialist cover for senior travellers or people heading away on winter sports trips.
  • The ease of claiming: With some insurance providers, the claims process can be a lengthy and frustrating one. It is always worth checking with individual providers to see what the claims process is. You can also look at travel insurance reviews to find out more about how efficient the claims process is and whether other consumers have experienced issues in the past.
  • The level of customer service: It is important to have good customer service levels from a travel insurance provider, as you may need to contact them whilst you are away so a prompt and efficient service is vital. You also want to ensure a good level of customer service in case you have to make a claim. Therefore, it is well worth looking at travel insurance reviews to see what other consumers thought about the customer service levels offered by the insurance provider or providers that you may be considering. Most insurers will have a 24 hour emergency hotline that can be reached from anywhere in the world y days a week.
  • Deals: With so much competition between different providers in Australia, it is not uncommon to find exclusive deals offering premium discounts and other bonus incentives. It is worth seeing if there are any special promotion codes that can be used to cut the cost on your cover.

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What to be careful of when reading travel insurance reviews

While travel insurance reviews can provide some value in finding out about the cover options available from different insurers, you should never base your decision on whether or not to take out cover on a single review. Here are a few reasons why;

  • Disgruntled customers: There are money customer reviews available online from disgruntled customers berating certain providers because they were not eligible to a benefit payment following a claim. In most cases, these people were unaware of the exclusions on their policy and the actual conditions for claim payment. You can receive more value from these reviews by finding out about the actual experience from the customer in the management of the payment of their claim and how helpful the insurers customer service team were. It is worth noting that people are generally only likely to post a review about a product or service following a bad experience. Rarely will people take the time and effort to publish a positive report after a great experience with their travel insurance provider.
  • Reviews found on insurers website: Though they may provide some value in learning about the different cover features on the plan, reviews from previous customers on the website are only likely to give a positive report of the customers experience working with the insurer.
  • Watch out for sites with company ratings: Company ratings on consumer sites should be only be seen as one industry bodies opinion of a provider or cover. The decision on which provider to choose should never be based off one rating. Take the time to read reviews from accredited organisations that are certified to review travel insurance providers.
  • The writer of the review: If it is a review written from an “industry professional” you want to certify that they are actually qualified to review travel cover products and have knowledge of the industry and what is important to consumers.
  • Fake reviews: Though not as prevalent in the travel insurance industry, there may be instances where fake reviews have been written to give a biased opinion of an insurer and their products. As stated previously, it is important to try and verify the source of the review and make your own assessment of whether it is giving an unbiased overview of the products features and benefits.
  • Positive experience that may not be relevant: It is not uncommon for there to be an extremely positive review from a customer that has been able to take advantage of an exclusive deal or bonus offer from the insurer. This isn’t much use if you are trying to get an idea of the actual cover features and experience with the insurer. It is great to hunt out a bargain but more important to know you will be adequately looked after in the event of a claim.

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Tips to get value from quality travel insurance reviews

As mentioned previously, it is always best to find out more about a product from a variety of different sources before handing over your card details. Here are some quick tips to help you get value from reading online reviews on travel insurance products to help you find a suitable cover option.

  • Know what you want to find out: It is good to first have an idea of what you actually want to find out about the insurer and their product. Think about product features offered, exclusions, customer service experience of previous customers and the insurers claims process.
  • Find reviews from a variety of sources: If you are interested in finding consumer reviews, try and access a range of different reviews located on a variety of different websites to help you form a group opinion. Don’t just read one review from a disgruntled customer and move on to the next.
  • Make your own assessment: Don’t be afraid to make your own assessment of a product while making your own comparisons. While it may be tedious, taking the time to read through the product disclosure statement and actually get a clear understanding of the features offered and the conditions will help ensure you find affordable cover that still offers adequate protection.

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Where can I find travel insurance reviews online?

There are a number of different resources available online where you can access travel insurance reviews from both consumers and industry commentators.

  • finder.com.au: finder.com.au features reviews on each product from providers featured on the website that explore the different product features and exclusions, insurer claims process, company background and the benefits and disadvantages of different products. finder.com.au also features reviews from their team of writers on their experience with different products they have purchased in the past and any claim experiences.
  • Travel Blogs: There are a great number of travel blogs online that feature reviews previous travel insurance customers. It is necessary to take the necessary steps to verify the validity of these reviews when forming your opinion of a product. Assess the blogs readership, any bias in the article and relevance of the review for the type of cover you are after.
  • Insurer websites: Many insurers will feature reviews of their products from previous consumers. As mentioned previously, always take these reviews with a grain of salt, as it is unlikely for an insurer to ever publish a review that places them in any negative light.
  • Recognised travel websites: Reputable travel websites including lonelyplanet.com.au will often feature reviews on different types of products and what to look out for when comparing policies. As before, it is best to assess who the writer is and their motives behind publishing the review.

Interview with Fred Schebesta about travel insurance

Do you usually take out travel insurance when you go overseas?

Sometimes. If I am going overseas and its to a relatively dangerous place or if I am unsure of where I am going or I havent been there before. Otherwise if I have been there before then I wont.

If so where do you usually purchase cover?

  • Online
  • Through a travel agent
  • Through your airline
  • Rely on cover provided on credit card
  • Other?

Online all the way!

What cover features are most important to you? i.e. loss/damage to luggage to personal items, cancellation cover, medical emergencies

Medical emergencies. I don't tend to take very expensive stuff with me so I just want the medical stuff if something were to go wrong.

Do you review the events you are covered for when comparing different plans?

Not really. Just breeze over them.

Do you review policy exclusions for when you won’t receive a benefit payment?

Not really, just browse over them.

Do you review the benefit that you will actually be paid in the event of a loss?

Yes, I am concerned about the fees I will pay if something were to go wrong in a medical situation and I want to know everything is covered because it could get crazy expensive fast and I want to know I am covered.

Do you usually just opt for the single trip policy or have you taken out an annual-multi trip policy in the past?

Single trip. I don't travel that much.

Have you ever taken out cover for domestic trips? If yes what were your reasons?

No, I assume that my health insurance will cover me.

Have you ever taken out cover for ski holidays? If yes what were your reasons? What were you looking to be covered for?

Yes, I was skiing like a crazy man and so I thought I could use some cover. Although, when I went to America I didnt take out cover because I felt I was a little more conservative these days and thought I would just ski a little safer and risk it. When I was in my 20s I def thought cover was a good idea.

Have you ever made a claim for a loss suffered overseas? Please discuss the event

No.

How was your experience dealing with the insurance provider?

Quick, fast and easy to buy cover.

Were you satisfied with the support that you received?

Haven't made a claim.

Would you take out cover with this provider again?

Yes, although I didn't make a claim.

What travel insurance tips do you have for anyone looking to head away on their next trip?

Buy online! Get a comparison because the price differences I noticed were quite steep. I got a quote from my travel agent and it was half the cost if I went online. I felt the agent was ripping me off and I got quite annoyed because I assumed then that they were ripping me off for all the other things.

Interview with Marc Terrano about travel insurance

Do you usually take out travel insurance when you go overseas?

Always

If so where do you usually purchase cover?

  • Online
  • Through a travel agent
  • Through your airline
  • Rely on cover provided on credit card
  • Other?

I always go online, easiest option and cheap

What cover features are most important to you? i.e. loss/damage to luggage to personal items, cancellation cover, medical emergencies

I always look for unlimited medical emergencies and a high dental emergency cap, as health to me is my main concern while travelling overseas. Next I’ll look at personal liability just incase I get into any strife overseas and cancellation cover. These are the things I think I’d most likely need to claim for and be protected against. I don’t look at loss or damage to personal items because I never travel with any items with a high value.

Do you review the events you are covered for when comparing different plans?

No

Do you review policy exclusions for when you won’t receive a benefit payment?

No

Do you review the benefit that you will actually be paid in the event of a loss?

Yes, this is the key thing I look at.

Do you usually just opt for the single trip policy or have you taken out an annual-multi trip policy in the past?

Only single trip policies.

Have you ever taken out cover for domestic trips? If yes what were your reasons?

No.

Have you ever taken out cover for ski holidays? If yes what were your reasons? What were you looking to be covered for?

No, but if I were good enough and spending enough on it each year I would. I think it’s crucial when you’re planning a ski trip in advance without knowing how the season will pan out.

Have you ever made a claim for a loss suffered overseas? Please discuss the event

I’ve had to make a claim for a travel cancellation. The reason I was excluded was because of an exclusion in the policy, but threatening them with action from the ombudsman saw them pay me out.

How was your experience dealing with the insurance provider?

They were reluctant at first, and got back to me via email once the Ombudsman was contacted.

Were you satisfied with the support that you received?

Not really. It took the promise of further action to get the problem sorted out.

Would you take out cover with this provider again?

No, I avoid the provider now, but they don’t provide the best travel insurance so it doesn’t bother me.

What travel insurance tips do you have for anyone looking to head away on their next trip?

Don’t pay for what you don’t need. I rarely take expensive cameras, laptops or tablets away with me, so I’d rather get a policy with less baggage cover and more medical, travel cancellation or personal liability insurance cover.

Ensure your provider is flexible. I mixed up the return date of my latest trip to Europe and was able to top up my policy online with no hassle a few days before I left.

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Comparing plans, providers, and checking out travel insurance reviews online

Although it may have been difficult and time consuming to find the right travel insurance cover at the right price in the past, these days the whole process is so much easier and faster. You can now compare multiple options from different providers simultaneously from home and take your time get a clear understanding of what you are signing up for. While travel insurance reviews can provide some value in helping you find out more about a product and provider, ultimately you will still need to take the time to read through the policy conditions to know exactly what you are getting. If you are unsure about any components of a policy, never hesitate to contact a representative from the company to find out more.

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