Find unbiased reviews on travel insurance brands and find a provider you can trust.
With literally hundreds of different travel insurance policies available on the Australian market, sorting through all the noise to find something that's affordable, trustworthy and can provide you with the cover you actually need can be overwhelming.
This article will provide tips on what to look for when reading travel insurance reviews online to help you make an informed decision on both the policy and provider you choose. If you are ready to compare quotes from Australian travel insurance brands, you can simply enter your trip details in the form below.
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What to consider when comparing travel insurance reviews on providers
Starting to read reviews on different policies but not exactly sure what to look out for? Here are some key points to look at when comparing policies;
- Do you already cover in place? It is not uncommon for other types of insurance, such as home and contents, to provide some form of cover while overseas. It can be worth checking if these offer any protection for losses suffered overseas.
- How much does the cover cost? While you might ideally avoid sacrificing cover for a wider range of events, 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 are you actually covered 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 typically not enough to just glance over the cover options, and you should generally actually read through the conditions for claim payment, exclusions and other fine print in detail.
- How much will you receive in a claim? The benefit amount that you are covered for each cover type can vary from one travel insurance plan to another. When comparing travel insurance policies, you should therefore check the levels of coverage with the various plans you are considering to choose one that provides adequate protection for different losses.
- What won't you be covered for? Checking the exclusions on the plan is just as important as checking what events you are covered for. Each insurer will have events that they won’t pay for and conditions for the policyholder being eligible to receive a benefit payment.
- How much excess will you be charged? An important thing to watch out for is how excess will be applied to any claim that you make. Cheaper* policies will often have a higher excess charged. Some policies will allow you to remove the excess from the policy, at the cost of increased premiums.
- What sub-limit is applied to expensive items? To understand the limitations of cover, it is essential that you check what the maximum payment is per item for claims for lost, stolen or damaged belongings. Many providers will only pay a maximum amount per item as well as a maximum amount for all items lost. It is often possible to register high value items to have this sum increased.
- Is it easy to make a claim? It can be a good idea to get an understanding of a provider’s process for handling claims and what will be required from you in the event that a claim is made. This can help a claim be accepted, and make claim payments more prompt.
- Is there a cooling off period offered? Many providers will offer a cooling off period whereby the policy can be cancelled if it has not already started. This gives a degree of flexibility in the event that you are not satisfied with the level of cover that is provided. Some policies will offer a cooling-off period of up to around 30 days.
- What cover do you actually need? Not everyone’s travel cover needs are the same so it can be important to take the time to consider what you actually need cover for and carry out some research on suitable policy options. You may find a more favourable balance of cost-effectiveness with a basic level of cover, without the extra cover for things like adventure activities, winter sports cover etc.
What to look for when reading the reviews on brands
In addition to checking out the suitability of particular travel insurance plans, you might also take the time to browse and compare different travel insurance brands. Again, you will be able to access a range of consumer reviews about the different travel insurance brands to help 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 brands include:
- Choice of policies available. 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 cover that may be more suitable for senior travellers or people heading away on winter sports trips, for example.
- Who is the insurer underwritten by? Is is likely that you will find insurance providers in Australia that are backed by larger brands such as Allianz, AIG or ACE who are the actual underwriters of the insurance and back the smaller brand providing the policy. It's worth ensuring the underwriter of the policy is a known insurer.
- Emergency assistance provider. It can be important to ensure that your provider works with an emergency assistance company that provides 24/7 support anywhere in the world.
- The ease of claiming. Some reviewers may have found the claims process to have been a lengthy and frustrating one. It can be worth checking with individual providers to see how the general claims experience may vary between insurers. You can also look at travel insurance reviews to find out more about how efficient the claims process may be, and whether other consumers have experienced issues in the past.
- Flexibility in adjusting policy. It's often normal to make adjustments to your policy following changes to your trip, i.e. destination changes or changes to the dates of your travel. For these situations it can be helpful to go with an insurer that allows amendments to your cover, or has a reputation for helpful customer service.
- 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 can be important. Therefore, it can be 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. It is typical for many insurers to have a 24 hour emergency hotline available that can be reached from most places seven days a week.
- Deals and special offers to help you save. It is not uncommon to find deals offering premium discounts and other bonus incentives. It can be worth seeing if there are any special promotion codes that can be used to cut the cost of your cover.
4 traps to watch out for
1. Looking for the cheapest policy. Cheap* price often means a reduced level of cover. While it might be sufficient for some, you may find it is not nearly enough for what you are after. Also, you may want to check the applicable excess, as policies with lower premiums may have a higher excess.
2. Only getting cover from your credit card. Credit card travel insurance may offer sufficient cover for some travellers but it is definitely not the ideal cover for everyone in all situations. You might only be covered for what was purchased on your credit card, or there might be no cover provided for domestic trips. Also, the cover levels are often far more basic than what is available with standalone policies
3. Not keeping receipts. Most policies will have a list of what is required for claims for lost/stolen items to be honoured. This may be valuation documents and statements from transport officials and police. This may vary so it can be helpful to know exactly what you will need to provide in the event of a claim.
4. Not being aware of what you'll actually be paid out. It is important to know the maximum amount you will be paid for lost items. Policies will often apply a sub-limit (amount paid for each item) and a total limit (maximum that will be paid for all items). If you are taking expensive items with you, it can be a good idea to know exactly what you stand to receive in a claim.
What to be careful of when reading travel insurance reviews
While reviews can provide some value in finding out about the cover options available from different insurers, ideally one shouldn't base a decision on a single review. Here are a few reasons why;
- Disgruntled customers. There are many customer reviews available online from disgruntled customers berating certain providers because the customer was not eligible to a benefit payment following a claim. Often these people were unaware of the exclusions on their policy and the actual conditions for claim payment. You might receive more value from reviews that discuss a successful claims processing experience and the level of customer service received. It is worth noting that it is relatively uncommon for people take the time and effort to write 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 a provider's website might only include positive reports of the customer's experience working with the insurer.
- Watch out for sites with company ratings. Company ratings on consumer sites might only be one industry body's opinion of a provider or cover. The decision on which provider to choose should ideally not be based off one rating only. It can be worth taking the time to read reviews from accredited organisations that are certified to review travel insurance brands.
- The writer of the review. If it is a review written from an “industry professional” you might want to check whether the review has relevant qualifications to help them provide insightful reviews of travel cover products.
- Fake reviews. 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 product's 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 may not be as relevant to your situation as other reviews if you are trying to get an idea of the actual cover features and experience with the insurer. Hunting for bargains can help deliver more value for money, but it's also important to know you will be adequately looked after in the event of a claim.
- Forum comments. Forums can often be a place where old customers vent about their poor claims experience with insurers and not actually offer any real insight into the quality of the cover. Forums can also attract fake reviews, which may be especially likely on ones with little moderation, with the sole intent of promoting a specific provider.
4 ways to get value from reviews
As mentioned previously, it can be helpful to find out more about a product from a variety of different sources before making a purchase. Here are some quick tips that might help you get value from reading online reviews.
1. Know what you want to find out. It can be helpful to first have an idea of what you actually want to find out about the insurer and their product. You might try thinking about product features offered, exclusions, customer service experiences of previous customers and the insurer's claims process.
2. Find reviews from a variety of sources. If you are interested in finding consumer reviews, you might try to access a range of different reviews located on a variety of different websites to help find different perspectives, rather than simply reading a single review from one disgruntled customer and dismissing an insurer entirely based on that.
3. 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 can make it easier to find affordable cover that still offers adequate protection.
4. Confirm what you have read with the insurer. If there are any points that you are unsure about, you may want to verify them with the insurer or the product disclosure statement.