City Survivors: Read your travel quote’s Ts&Cs

26 July 2016

I recently asked my travel insurer, Holidaysafe, for a renewal quote.

To my surprise, there was barely an increase in the price – unheard of when it comes to insurance, where the norm is a hefty price hike dished out to ‘reward’ loyalty.

Having carried out a quick price comparison online, I was confident it was a good deal. But given the length of the terms and conditions – 33 pages, which I had diligently trawled through the previous year – I thought I’d ask if anything had changed rather than cross-reference the documents myself.

It was then that the insurer pointed out that gadget cover is a separate add-on, and protection for my mobile and Kindle would cost nearly as much as the original policy itself.

This is typical of the travel insurance industry. A recent study of more than 700 travel insurance products, by comparison website, found that almost half (49%) of products only cover valuables worth £250 or less, and just over one in 10 products offers cover for valuables of £500 or greater.

Plus, financial product ratings company Defaqto says exclusion from cover is increasingly being extended to mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

But while this is standard practice, I didn’t think it had been made particularly clear. I put this to Holidaysafe, whose brand manager, Amber Howard, says: “Holidaysafe offers gadget insurance as an option on all our travel insurance policies as we recognise that some people choose to take smartphones and tablets with them on holiday, while others choose to leave them behind. We include gadget insurance as standard in our Platinum policies.

“When we alert customers that their multi- trip policy is due to expire, we write to them providing them a quote for the base policy price only, and state that it ‘does not include any optional extras you added to your policy last year’ so that they can decide which options are best for their travels in the next year.”

It’s true that Holidaysafe did email me saying this, but, unfortunately, given my busy Inbox, I missed the message.

Even if I had seen it, I doubt I’d remember what add-ons I may or may not have taken out a year ago, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

So if you take anything away from my story, I’d encourage you to always read the terms and conditions – even when renewing a policy.

That said, I don’t think the onus should all be on us – insurers should make exclusions clearer and terms and conditions easier to read. No one wants to spend 88 minutes reading the average 26,392 words in a travel insurance policy.

To find the best insurance deal:

  • Never buy insurance from an agent or tour operator without comparing prices and cover online first. You can use our comparison tool to compare prices. 
  • If you have travel insurance included as part of a packaged current account with your bank, check what is covered and buy top-up insurance if needed.
  • Cover yourself from the moment you buy your holiday, not from the date you go away.
  • Check your policy includes at least: £2 million medical expenses, £1 million personal liability cover, £3,000 cancellation cover, £1,500 baggage cover, and £250 for cash.