Which? reveals travel insurance rip-offsSome travel cover products aren't worth buying

26 June 2015

Luggage label with the words 'travel insurance' on a suitcase

Consumers are needlessly spending money on travel insurance products they may already have, according to Which? Travel research. 

A new survey has revealed that one in three Which? members has bought an additional travel-based insurance policy in the past two years. Of those who told us they’d bought an additional policy, a third already had travel insurance so may have been covered already.

Here, we investigate the add-ons and travel insurance products you may be better off avoiding.

Find out more: Which? Recommended Providers - find the best travel insurance company for you 

Cancellation insurance  

Standard travel insurance policies will often cover policyholders for cancellations due to illness and bereavement. 

With rare exceptions, neither your travel insurance nor these add-on policies will cover for most other reasons, such as work commitments or missing your alarm, so consumers gain no extra benefit from the extra outlay. Watch out for this when booking flights, hotels or trains.

Airline failure insurance 

Airline failure protection insurance is a feature of around a third of policies, so many travellers are already insured against an airline going bust. 

Even if the policy doesn’t offer cover, it will probably be covered if the holiday was sold as a package from a UK tour operator or travel agent - and consumers who bought the flight on a credit card will be protected under Section 75 (provided it cost more than £100).

Find out more: Airline reviews - which airline rates best for customer satisfaction 

Group travel insurance  

If someone in your group already has annual travel insurance, they are already covered. 

Even if everyone qualifies and nobody has their own policy, the prices from the 15 insurers we checked led to savings of only a few pence compared to individual policies. 

For an eight-person trip to Europe, it was £6.37 per person with Big Blue Cover – exactly the same price as individual policies.

Car hire excess insurance 

Buying this add-on at the airport can cost around £13 a day (£91 for a week), but if you arrange your own excess reducing policy, you can get a year’s cover for around £40 for Europe or £50 worldwide.

Find out more: Car hire companies - 12 companies rated

Always think twice before ticking a box

The results show the importance of checking your existing travel insurance policy before buying additional cover. 

Which? Travel editor Jill Starley-Grainger, said: 'Travel insurance is vital for anyone going on holiday, but many add-ons are just a licence to print money for the firms selling them. Always think twice before ticking a box or signing up to a rushed, at-the-desk insurance offer, or you could end up paying for cover you already have.

'Travellers also need to be wary of general travel policies that don’t offer as much cover as we’d recommend. Policies only pass our test if they offer £2m medical cover in Europe and £5m worldwide, yet we found some policies offering as little as £80,000 for a one week trip to New York City from London.'

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