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Is cheap the best option?

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

A common pitfall when buying travel insurance is to take the easy option and sign up for the insurance package offered by your tour operator or to buy through a no-frills airline website. Not only do you risk spending over the odds if you do it this way but you could be buying a mediocre policy that doesn’t provide adequate cover and isn’t best suited to your needs. So can you find a better deal yourself by searching the internet?

More and more of us are doing our shopping on the internet. We do so for the convenience but the main reason continues to be the innate desire to find the best deal but, and it’s a big but, there are a lot of travel insurance websites to choose from out there. So you do need to be ‘savvy’ in your search and the increasing number of price comparison sites can often be a hindrance rather than a help. Why is that? Well, simply these sites highlight the ‘headline grabbing’ figure, not to mention that many only show insurance providers that pay them a commission, so the consumer is often given a confusing and false picture.

So can you find ‘cheap travel insurance’ on the internet? Most definitely, yes, but you do need to check that what is being offered will provide you with the cover you need. When looking for cheap travel insurance, there are some simple rules to apply. Do your homework. Firstly, know what you want. Are you looking for a policy to cover you for just one trip or if you are going to travel more than once, then why not consider an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy instead? That could save you money over the year.

Read the policy schedule. Most internet sites are good at giving an instant quote – that is what they are designed to do but fewer provide easily accessible information to indicate what the policy covers. At the very least you should look at the policy schedule. This is the table that shows the level of cover against various risks.

Choose a policy that satisfies your needs. The areas that cost the most in a travel insurance policy tend to be cancellation, personal effects and medical cover. If you are booking long in advance, then cancellation cover is a must (normally around the £3000 figure is sufficient) as this safeguards you if you have to cancel because of, say, a close family illness or being called for jury service, to name but two examples. If however, you are taking a last minute holiday, then perhaps cancellation cover is not as necessary so you could reduce your premium considerably by choosing a policy with limited or no cancellation.

Likewise, reducing your baggage cover can see your premiums nose dive. When it comes to medical cover, the FCO recommends a level of £2 million as being more than adequate, so do you need to buy the policy that offers £10 million? This is another example of ‘gold plating’ a policy which will attract a higher premium.

Check the small print. Very few of us take the time to read the small print but the ‘devil is in the detail’ for sure. Ask yourself some key questions. Is where I want to travel covered by the policy, for example, is Egypt in Europe or Rest of the World as definitions do differ from company to company? Am I covered if caught up in a terrorist incident? Do I need to produce a police report if I have money or personal effects stolen? What about hazardous activities? Am I covered to bungee jump on my trip for instance? Make a list of simple questions relating to your trip and then check the policy.

So is there such a thing as Cheap Travel Insurance? Most definitely there is but the simple rule of thumb is that the cheaper the policy, the more restrictive it is likely to be. But you can help yourself by knowing what to look out for and wherever possible tailoring your insurance to your exact needs and that way make your travel insurance cheaper.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

BA strike set to go ahead after Appeal Court backs Unite trade union

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

British Airways passengers face 15 days of chaos after the Appeal Court upheld the Unite’s right to hold a cabin crew strike. It overturned a ruling by the High Court on Monday which had granted the airline an injunction blocking a wave of back-to-back strikes. This decision has paved the way for the first of three five-day stoppages to take place at Heathrow next Monday, unless BA and Unite reach an agreement. Even though BA says its contingency plans will enable it to carry more than 70 per cent of its passengers, the strikes will still hit families planning half-term holidays and potentially football fans making their way to South Africa for the start of the World Cup.

Unite had originally planned to hold four five-day strikes until June 9 but has ruled out the first tranche of that stoppage, which had been scheduled to run from May 18 to May 22. The remaining walkouts are planned for May 24-28, May 30-June 3 and June 5-9. The last strike is set to end days before the start of the World Cup in South Africa. BA have stated that they will run a full programme at Gatwick and London City. At Heathrow, they will operate more than 60 per cent of our long haul operation and more than 50 per cent of short haul.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Snow travel report 9th January

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

With more widespread snow expected in the next 24 hours, the travel report for UK airports and Eurostar for 9th January is as follows:

AIRPORTS

Heathrow Airport: the airport is open but suffering delays and at least 50 cancellations, mostly on British Airways.

Gatwick Airport: Gatwick remains open with some disruption to flight arrivals and delays to departures, however, the threat of more snow and ice remains. Some airlines are operating very restricted services and it is strongly advised that passengers contact their airline before setting out for the airport.

Stansted Airport: the airport is open but with further snowfall and icy conditions expected across eastern and southern England, passengers are advised to check with their airlines before travelling and allow extra time for their journey.

Birmingham Airport: the airport is open with minor delays.

Luton Airport: the airport is open. However, as a result of severe weather conditions at UK and European airports, passengers or those meeting people at the airport are strongly advised to contact the airline.

Southampton Airport: the airport is open and flights are operating, but delays and cancellations are expected due to the weather. For the latest flight information please check the airport website.

Manchester Airport: the airport is now open but passengers travelling or people meeting flights are advised to check with their airline before travelling.

Bristol Airport: the airport is open but flights are subject to delay and cancellation. Passengers are advised to check with their airline or tour operator for further information or visit the Departures and Arrivals pages. The Flier coach service to the airport is operating but services may be disrupted.

Exeter Airport: the airport is open and it is anticipated that flights will operate without major delays or cancellations.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport: the airport terminal is open but passengers are being advised that their flights could be cancelled or delayed and they should check with their airline for the latest information.

Glasgow Airport: the airport is open but many British Airways flights to and from Heathrow have been cancelled and passengers booked on these services are advised to contact their airline.

Edinburgh Airport: the airport is open however flights to and from the airport may be subject to delays and cancellations due to bad weather in other parts of the UK. Passengers are advised to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling.

Aberdeen Airport: the airport is open and operational, however a number of arriving and departing flights have been affected by poor weather conditions in other parts of the UK. Passengers are being advised to contact their airline before arriving at the terminal.

Leeds Bradford Airport: the airport is open but may experience delays and cancellations. Please check with your airline or on the airport website.

RAIL

Eurostar: A reduced timetable is running. Eurostar advise customers not to travel unless the journey is essential. Customers who do have to travel should check-in as early as possible to be accommodated on the next available service. Disney and Ski services are running normally.

This information is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Gatwick up for sale

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Gatwick Airport has been put up for sale by BAA, though the owner of London’s three major airports has pledged to continue its fight against a decision by the Competition Commission that the company should sell a second London airport. BAA owns Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Gatwick, which is Britain’s second largest airport may fetch about £3bn. Interest in Gatwick and its retail revenues is likely to be keen. Its two terminals handle 35 million passengers per year and, according to BAA, its single runway is the busiest in the world. Its massive shopping malls would also be attractive for an investor. Richard Branson, the tycoon who founded Virgin Atlantic, said he would be interested in joining a consortium to buy Gatwick. He is one of many airline operators that have criticised BAA’s London airport monopoly. One person who will definitely be pleased by this move will be London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, who recently experienced first hand at Gatwick the all too common delays and lost baggage that beset Britain’s airports. Summing it up neatly “to call this service ‘Third World’ is an insult to the many gleaming and efficient airports of developing nations. In their contemptuous indifference to the customer, the airport authorities remind me of the 1970s, and the trades unions of my childhood. Gatwick is the eighth most busy airport in the world, and the sheer volume of passengers coming to London airports is a testimony to the attractions of the city and the dynamism of the British economy. But in four years, we are due to welcome the world to the London Olympics, and we need to sort this chaos out now.”  A change of owner may not see an improvement overnight but it is certainly a huge step in the right direction.  This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com

– specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Travel insurance pays for water pumps

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Buying ethical travel insurance adds a different dimension.  As we like to put it, you can be in two places at the same time.  In the knowledge that you are covered whilst on your trip, we can also help in other parts of the globe.  Take Uganda, for example.  Travel and Insure have recently committed funds from the sale of its travel insurance policies to support the rolling out of water filtration units there  as part of a larger charity led programme to extend the provision of these units into other countries in Africa, the Indian Sub Continent and South America.  Just £30 buys a unit which will filter contaminated water into clean, germ free drinking water. In a 24 hour period, one unit can filter up to 60 litres which is more than enough water for an average family.  One recent independent study of the ceramic filters in Zimbabwe and rural South Africa showed reduction in dysentery and diarrhoea of more than 80%, concluding that these filters are “an effective point-of-use intervention for reducing E-Coli and diarrhoea in African households.”  Added to the tremendous health benefits that come from drinking clean water, the social benefits can also be profound, leading to children spending more time in school and adults spending more time at work.  Absenteeism, due to sickness in the African school in which clean water kits were installed, immediately dropped from more than 45% to less than 5%.  Not a bad result from buying an ethical travel insurance policy.  This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.  You can read more about the aid programmes supported by Travel and Insure by logging onto our dedicated aid projects page.

Cheap Travel Insurance?

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

More and more of us are doing our shopping on the internet.  We do so for the convenience but the main reason continues to be the innate desire to find the best deal.  The success of sites such as e-bay is evidence of this.

The travel insurance market is no different but you need to be ‘savvy’ in your search and the increasing number of price comparison sites can often be a hindrance rather than a help.  Why is that?  Well, simply these sites highlight the ‘headline grabbing’ figure, not to mention that many only show insurance providers that pay them a commission, so the consumer is often given a confusing and false picture.

So can you find ‘cheap travel insurance’ on the internet?  Most definitely, yes, but you do need to check that what is being offered will provide you with the cover you need.  When looking for cheap travel insurance, there are some simple rules to apply.

Do your homework.    Firstly, know what you want.  Are you looking for a policy to cover you for just one trip or if you are going to travel more than once, then why not consider an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy instead?  That could save you money over the year.

Read the policy schedule.  Most internet sites are good at giving an instant quote – that is what they are designed to do but fewer provide easily accessible information to indicate what the policy covers.  At the very least you should look at the policy schedule.  This is the table that shows the level of cover against various risks.  Choose a policy that satisfies your needs.  The areas that cost the most in a travel insurance policy tend to be cancellation, personal effects and medical cover.  If you are booking long in advance, then cancellation cover is a must (normally around the £3000 figure is sufficient) as this safeguards you if you have to cancel because of, say, a close family illness or being called for jury service, to name but two examples.  If however, you are taking a last minute holiday, then perhaps cancellation cover is not as necessary so you could reduce your premium considerably by choosing a policy with limited or no cancellation.  Likewise, reducing your baggage cover can see your premiums nose dive.  When it comes to medical cover, the FCO recommends a level of £2 million as being more than adequate, so do you need to buy the policy that offers £10 million?  This is another example of ‘gold plating’ a policy which will attract a higher premium.

Check the small print.  Very few of us take the time to read the small print but the ‘devil is in the detail’ for sure.  Ask yourself some key questions.  Is where I want to travel covered by the policy, for example, is Egypt in Europe or Rest of the World as definitions do differ from company to company?  Am I covered if caught up in a terrorist incident?  Do I need to produce a police report if I have money or personal effects stolen?  What about hazardous activities? Am I covered to bungee jump on my trip for instance?  Make a list of simple questions relating to your trip and then check the policy.

So is there such a thing as Cheap Travel Insurance?  Most definitely there is but the simple rule of thumb is that the cheaper the policy, the more restrictive it is likely to be.  But you can help yourself by knowing what to look out for and wherever possible tailoring your insurance to your exact needs and that way make your travel insurance cheaper.

Shopping for Insurance?

Friday, April 13th, 2007

WHY IT PAYS TO SHOP AROUND FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE

It should come as no surprise that the Treasury has recently announced a review into the sale of travel insurance policies with package holidays.  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 Street, which means cheaper premiums which can only be a good outcome for the consumer.