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Travel insurance reviews
Here's some tips about sorting through travel insurance reviews so you can make a true comparison.
With literally hundreds of different travel insurance policies available on the Australian market, sorting through all the noise can be overwhelming. This article will provide tips on what to look for when reading travel insurance reviews online so that you can make an informed decision on both the policy and provider you choose.
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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;
- How much does the cover cost? It's all about finding a good balance. It's 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. Make sure you 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're covered for each cover type can vary from one travel insurance plan to another. Make sure you check the levels of coverage with the various plans you are considering to choose one that provides a sufficient benefit amount 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. If you find a policy that's substantially cheaper than others, it's sometimes because they have an exclusion other policies won't have, so make sure to check out what's not covered.
- 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 there a cooling off period offered? This is when 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. Consider what you actually need cover for as 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 and winter sports cover.
What to look for when reading travel insurance reviews on insurance brands
When you are looking at a specific insurer, there are several top tips that'll help you know whether or not they are a reliable travel insurance provider and the right policy for you:
- Choice of policies available. Insurers that have several policy options available can be really good as it means the cover is more likely to be tailored to your needs and requirements; for example, if you're going on a cruise, are holidaying as a family or are a senior traveller.
- Who is the insurer underwritten by? It's worth ensuring the underwriter of the policy is a known insurer, as it means they're more trustworthy and are likely to handle claims quickly and efficiently.
- 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.
- The level of customer service. It can be well worth looking at travel insurance reviews to see what other consumers thought about the insurer's customer service. It's common 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
Travel insurance reviews for Australian providers often overlook these common traps, so make sure you're aware of them before you buy a policy.
- Don't just get the cheapest policy. You might be reluctant to spend money on a policy but often the cheapest policies simply mean you're covered for very little and it won't help should something go wrong. Policies with lower premiums often have a higher excess as well.
- Only getting cover from your credit card. Credit card travel insurance might only cover you 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.
- Not keeping receipts. Most policies require evidence of purchases so keep a hold of all receipts in the event you have to make a claim.
- 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.
How to get value from travel insurance reviews
Here are some quick tips that might help you get value from reading online reviews.
- Know what you want to find out. Have an idea of what you'd like to know more about, whether it's cruise cover, exclusions or customer service experiences.
- Find reviews from a variety of sources. Read reviews on different, well-known websites to come to a better understanding of the insurer you're looking into.
- Make your own assessment. It may be tedious but taking the time to read through the product disclosure statement and actually knowing exactly what is and isn't covered is key to finding the right cover.
- Confirm what you have read with the insurer. If there are any points that you are unsure about, verify them with the insurer or by looking at the product disclosure statement.
What to be careful of when reading travel insurance reviews
While reviews can be helpful, they often pose some problems themselves. Here are a few points worth considering when reading travel insurance reviews;
- Disgruntled customers. These are really common in insurance but a lot of the time it's simply down to the fact that customers haven't read the exclusions on their policy and the actual conditions for claim payment. Angry customers then, should act as a reminder to you to always read the product disclosure statement.
- Reviews found on insurers website. Reviews from previous customers on a provider's website might only include positive reports of the customer's experience working with the insurer so take them with a pinch of salt.
- 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.
- Fake reviews. There may be instances where fake reviews have been written to give a biased opinion of an insurer and their products. This is also sometimes the case when a review is written by an "industry professional". If you can, try to 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.
- 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.
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