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The best packaged bank accounts for 2022

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With soaring household bills forcing many of us to reassess non-essential spending, does it really make sense to pay for a bank account with all the trimmings when you can get one for free? 

Packaged accounts can be a convenient way to buy several types of insurance in one go. They typically come with travel insurance, breakdown cover and mobile or gadget insurance, in return for a fee.

But with some accounts costing as much as £390 a year, they only make sense if you actually use the benefits on offer. 

Which? has scrutinised the small print of 12 packaged accounts to help you pick a winner – or ditch a dud.

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The best all-rounders

As well as rating their individual insurance elements, we gave each packaged account an overall score to help you compare the best and worst. 

Nationwide’s FlexPlus account has been our top pick for many years and achieved the highest account score (82%) once again in our latest analysis, offering comprehensive cover in all three core insurance elements. It also has the lowest fee (£13 a month).

The Everyday Extra account from The Co-operative Bank is a close second with a score of 79%. In terms of travel cover, The Co-operative Bank has the edge over Nationwide because there’s no excess to pay on claims. 

However, it drops points elsewhere. For example, it’s more expensive (£14.50 a month versus £13 a month), and its breakdown cover comes with more restrictions (Nationwide’s AA cover imposes no limit on the number of call-outs while the limit is five/year for The Co-operative Bank’s RAC policy).

We gave our lowest score of 59% to the Reward Platinum account by NatWest and RBS, which is only open to existing customers. It's one of the more expensive accounts, at £20 a month, but achieved the lowest policy score for travel insurance. 

Check the smallprint

Bear in mind that packaged accounts set upper age limits for their travel insurance, which range from 69 to 80. However, NatWest/RBS and Nationwide will theoretically offer cover whatever your age if you pay an additional fee when you reach 70. This is £75 per person at NatWest/RBS and £65 per account at Nationwide, meaning joint account holders only pay once. You’ll still need to disclose any medical conditions, which may or may not be covered. 

If you’re struggling to get suitable cover from a packaged account, you might be better off with a standalone policy. 

You can find a directory of travel insurance companies with a proven specialism in covering people with medical conditions – all of which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – at moneyhelper.org.uk.

Watch out too for high excesses (the amount you’re expected to contribute to claims) as well as limits on the number of devices covered or claims you can make. 

Always check if there are other conditions to cover, for example, you might need to register your mobile phone online or hold the account for a certain period.

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Are you getting value for money?

If you use at least two of the insurance benefits, a packaged account will often work out cheaper than standalone policies offering equivalent levels of cover. 

Joint packaged accounts can be particularly cost-effective, as two people will be covered under one fee. 

If you do decide a packaged account is right for you, it's important to keep a sharp eye on changes to the terms and conditions to ensure it continues to offer value for money.

key information

PACKAGED ACCOUNT PITFALLS TO AVOID 

  • Changes to the T&Cs Keep an eye on fee hikes and tweaks to the level of cover. Any changes should be made clear to you ahead of time, so make sure it still offers value for money. 
  • Age restrictions Check the upper age limits as you may lose cover entirely or face an increased premium. This doesn’t only apply to travel insurance – insurers may not cover old gadgets or phones, so check the terms. Health exclusions You must tell your insurer about any material changes to your health, at which point it may rescreen you. This could result in the terms of cover changing or costs being increased. 
  • Duplicate cover Check if your mobile and other gadgets are covered by your contents insurance policy or can be added cheaply. Similarly, some car insurers include breakdown cover as standard. Don’t pay twice as you can only make one claim.
  • Losing family benefits Packaged accounts are particularly useful for families as they cover partners and dependants living under the same roof. But if your circumstances change, it may no longer be as useful.
  • Mis-selling If your bank didn’t check whether the insurance policies are suitable, you may have been mis-sold. Make a complaint with your bank – it should respond within eight weeks.