Why It Pays To Shop Around For Travel Insurance

By: Keith Mcgregor

Consumer groups, such as ‘Which’ magazine, have been clamouring for a change in the law, because it appears that consumers have been getting a raw deal, in terms of over-priced and often inadequate cover. The government has set itself the task of calling for evidence and consulting widely before making its decision, be that to keep the ‘status quo’, go for tighter self-regulation by the travel agents and tour operators or bring the industry under full FSA regulation as it does for the ‘standalone’ insurance sector.

A review is long overdue, given that some 20 million consumers purchase travel insurance policies in the UK each year in a market estimated to be around ?670 million pounds in 2006. As ‘Which’ have recently reported, there is evidence of mis-selling by tour operators and travel agents who account for almost 50% of all travel insurance sales.

Whilst, it is probably only a minority who fall into this category, it is not hard to see that getting a customer to take out a travel insurance policy at the time of booking a holiday is a very lucrative way of boosting profits from the commissions earned. That’s all well and good, provided the advice given is accurate and customers are given access to all the information they need to make an informed judgement but sadly this is not borne out by the statistics. According to the Treasury, whilst 81% of banks and insurers explained what the policy covered, this falls to a pitiful 19% when a policy is sold through travel agents.

It always pays to shop around and it is hardly surprising that the internet has seen a huge growth over the last five years and this trend is set to continue. Not only does the customer get a wider choice than what is on offer over the counter at a travel agent, but it is so much easier to tailor a policy, all by a simple click of a mouse. Moreover, internet based companies do not have the high overheads of the travel agent in the High StreetFree Reprint Articles, which means cheaper premiums which can only be a good outcome for the consumer.

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