Some airlines try very hard to get you to buy travel insurance from them when you book a flight online. But are the insurance policies they offer actually any good?
I wish airlines would concentrate on what they do best – flying people from point A to point B safely.
I really don’t want them to venture into financial services and become insurance salesmen. It’s not their area and they should steer clear.
But some airlines are selling travel insurance like their lives depend on it. On some of their websites you have to negotiate a lot of hard sell to book a flight without being pushed into signing up for their travel insurance.
Dramatic pop-ups warn you of the dire consequences of not having travel insurance, and urge you not to take the risk of not buying the airline’s policy. Ryanair, for example, warns that you could face a €11,551 bill for medical repatriation if you don’t buy the insurance. Jet2 urges you to have ‘peace of mind’, while Monarch says: ‘Don’t take the risk – get insured today’.
Don’t give in to convenience
Travel insurance is very important to have, even though there are questions about how often insurers pay up for genuine problems. But even taking that into account, it’s better to have insurance than run the risk of facing a medical emergency or being robbed.
This doesn’t mean you should buy an airline’s insurance policy just because it’s convenient, or because the airline says you’re gambling if you don’t. And definitely shouldn’t buy insurance just because the airline makes it difficult for you to decline it.
We looked at the policies offered by eight leading airlines and found that none of them managed to meet our key requirements for Which? Best Buy status. Nor did they cover pre-existing medical conditions – an important criterion for our members.
Travel insurance should be tailored
Travel insurance is a complicated product that needs to be tailored to your needs, so buying an off-the-shelf policy from an airline may not be the best way to get a policy that suits you.
So I’ll be ignoring the airline hard sell, and getting my travel insurance from a company that specialises in insurance. I wouldn’t buy a flight from an insurance broker, so I won’t be buying a financial product from an airline.
Do you buy travel insurance from airlines? Do you think you’ll get a good policy? Or do you think they should stick to flying?