your holiday rights - information and advice on your holiday rights



Is the great travel agent 'travel insurance rip-off' alive, well and living on your high street?

Thinking of booking your summer holiday? Got your travel insurance? If you haven't bought it before you book your holiday, you might find that your 'forced' to buy it from your agent and suddenly your holiday is £150 - £250 more expensive than you thought? How did that happen?

Remember the1980's and 1990's when we bought 'discounted' holidays? The trick was that you only got the discounted price if you bought travel insurance from the travel agent - and by the time you'd done that your cheap holiday transformed itself into an expensive holiday. In fact, travel agents made more money from selling you their expensive travel insurance than from the holiday itself!

New laws introduced in 1998 stopped travel agents making the purchase of their expensive travel insurance a condition of you paying the discounted holiday price. But travel agents didn't give up that easily. Especially some of the big high street names. They found an ingenious way around the new rules so that you still end up buying their expensive travel insurance.

Many travel agents now insist that before they confirm your booking, you must give them your travel insurance policy number to ensure you have 'adequate travel cover'. You'll probably be told that it's for your own peace of mind and, of course, it's much more convenient to pay for your holiday and travel insurance together. More convenient, but more expensive! How much more expensive?

Insurance prices vary widely, depending on the type of trip, but lets look at a couple of examples:

An annual European travel insurance policy for a couple
Thomas Cook price £236.00
Direct Travel Insurance £50.00

A 7 day travel insurance policy for one Adult travelling to France
Thomas Cook price £24.99
Options Direct £9.45

Depending on the policy you buy you could be overcharged by as much as 80% by a high street travel agent (for a complete comparison see our travel insurance page)

How do you avoid the rip off?
So what do you do? It's easy to get caught in a catch 22 situation and end up buying from the travel insurance. The alternative is to go away to buy your travel insurance and risk losing the holiday.

It's a very difficult situation. Here are two alternative answers:

  1. If you know exactly when you're travelling, it may be worthwhile taking out a policy in advance of actually booking your holiday. Although you'll have to pay for the policy when you buy it and the policy won't become active until the date of your holiday, you can still give your policy number to the travel agent when you book and save money!
  2. If your travel dates are more flexible, it may still be worthwhile taking out a policy in advance of actually booking your holiday. BUT before you buy, read the policy cancellation terms carefully. Make sure you buy a policy with a no quibble cancellation period that is long enough to allow you to book your holiday.

For a tips on how to avoid the high street travel insurance rip-off and save up to 75% (and more) on your travel insurance visit our travel insurance page

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