/ Travel & Leisure

Would you buy travel insurance from an airline?

Flying sheets of paper

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?


An interesting point was once made to me by British Airways reservations. They claimed that theirs is the only insurance policy which will refund your Avios (airmiles) if you have to cancel or rebook paid-with-mileage flights because of an insured event. This is probably true but an unnecessary additional expense for those with annual cover elsewhere.

With some of us having “free” bundled travel insurance with our bank accounts etc. but also buying travel insurance which gives us proper/better cover, add in cover for some categories provided by our Household insurance….. I wonder if we are likely to have problems if we ever claim with the 3 insurance companies arguing over who will pay what etc.

I know they are supposed to sort out apportioning the claim themselves but with the reputation insurance companies have, especially with travel insurance, I wonder if anyone has had problems and issues such as “no claim discounts” ?

ed russakoff says:
4 November 2015

What I find really annoying is when the “purchase insurance” box is ticked off by default. I bought a ticket and didn’t realize it until the purchase was complete. And they don’t make it easy to get it cancelled.