Holidaymakers could save more than £100 on their travel insurance if they buy direct from a traditional provider and not from a travel agent, according to Which? research.
Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice all offer travel insurance but holidaymakers can get equivalent cover for less if they buy directly from traditional providers.
The same cover for less
A 65-year-old spending a week in the Caribbean could buy single-trip cover from Thomas Cook or Thomson for £155. Alternatively, they could save more than £100 by buying similar cover for £48 with Boots’ Silver policy, or £31 with Holidaysafe’s Premier policy.
Meanwhile, a 50-year-old taking a seven-day trip to Spain would pay £29 with Thomson and First Choice, and £24 with Thomas Cook. Yet, the equivalent cover would cost just £11 with Boots’ Silver, Tesco Bank’s Standard policy, John Lewis Plus and Holidaysafe Premier.
Find out more: travel insurance reviews – hundreds of policies rated
The excess – the amount you pay towards a claim – is also lower with traditional travel cover. First Choice and Thomson charge a standard £100 excess, while Thomas Cook charges £75. Boots, Tesco Bank, John Lewis and Holidaysafe, however, all charge £60.
We also discovered that providers of travel agent cover often sell their own products cheaper directly. Axa, the provider for First Choice and Thomson, offered a £104 Premier policy to our Caribbean traveller and £28 for our holidaymaker going to Spain – cheaper than both travel agents.
An Axa spokesman told us that it is working on allowing people who book online via Thomson and First Choice to access direct rates. This pricing already applies to people who book through Thomson and First Choice in person.
Five steps to finding affordable cover
1. Avoid cover sold with your trip
When you buy your holiday you’re likely to be offered insurance. This cover might not be suitable or cheap. Check the wider market to see if you can get better cover for less.
2. Check your bank account
Some packaged bank accounts come with travel insurance so check before you buy standalone cover. Review the terms to make sure it’s suitable. If it isn’t, call your bank to see if you can extend your policy.
3. Declare your medical conditions
Insurers will ask you about your medical history so they can cover you correctly. Any conditions not declared will not be covered, leaving you with a massive medical bill if you fall ill.
4. Check the Which? Recommended Providers
Check out our Recommended Providers and cheap best rate providers. We’ve reviewed the standard policies from dozens of insurers, taking feedback from thousands of customers into account.
5. Remember your EHIC
A European Health Insurance card, which can be used in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, entitles you to treatment in state hospital at the same price as locals. Make sure you have it with you before you leave.