Airline websites use hard-sell techniques to get you to buy travel insurance – but Which? Travel research has found the policies can often be poor quality.
We found airlines using dramatic messages on their sites to push people into buying travel insurance sold by the airline. Some warned customers would be acting against Foreign Office advice if they didn’t buy insurance, others required you to decline insurance twice before continuing the booking.
To see if buying travel insurance from an airline was a good idea we looked at policies offered by the most used brands in our airlines survey.
Travel insurance Best Buys
We found that none of the policies offered by British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Monarch, Ryanair, Thomson and Virgin Atlantic managed to both meet our minimum requirements for Which? Best Buy status and to cover pre-existing medical conditions.
For instance, Jet2’s website says its policy will give you ‘peace of mind’ and to avoid it you have to tick a box next to text saying that the Foreign Office urges you to be fully insured. But Jet2’s policy fails two of our basic Best Buy criteria, including offering only £500 cancellation cover compared to our £3,000 minimum. It also does not cover pre-existing conditions.
Monarch Airlines’s site says: ‘Don’t take the risk – get insured today!’, describes its policy as ‘comprehensive’ yet cheaper than policies from other airlines, and states that having travel insurance is a condition of booking. However, the policy falls below our minimum criteria for cancellation and does not cover pre-existing conditions.
Medical travel insurance
To avoid Ryanair’s insurance, you have to decline it twice and ignore a message saying you could face a €11,551 bill for medical repatriation if you are uninsured. But the policy does not meet our minimum criteria for personal liability and does not cover pre-existing medical conditions.
Which? strongly recommends that you take out travel insurance when you travel, but it is very important to make sure the policy is right for you rather than being pushed into buying a policy when you are booking an air ticket.
This particularly applies if you or any relatives have medical conditions. In that case, buying a policy as an afterthought when booking a flight could be a costly mistake.