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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 00:57 GMT 01:57 UK
'Raw deal' offered on travel insurance
An exotic sandy beach
Expensive premiums do not always provide best cover
Holidaymakers waste up to 250m a year buying travel insurance from travel agents instead of shopping around, according to an independent report.

People could save more than half of what they spend on travel insurance by searching for the best deals, says a report from The Research Department (TRD).

About 80% of people take out insurance premiums offered by travel agents when they book their holiday.

The organisation found some travel agents use high-pressure sales techniques to ensure customers buy their insurance products.


Many people assume that if their travel insurance is expensive this will equate to quality cover

Mark Hayes-Newington, TRD
One tactic employed by travel agents is to tell customers they will not make a holiday booking unless they have proof of insurance.

"By creating this hurdle, most travellers take out the agents' policy and do not look for a better deal elsewhere for fear of losing their holiday," said the department.

However, it is completely legal to travel without insurance, although many people are unaware of the regulations.

Quality cover

Five years ago the Monopolies and Mergers Commission banned the practice of aiming discounted holidays conditional on taking out insurance, but it is still common practice.

Travel agents have been criticised in two recent reports for using high-pressure sales techniques.

And the latest report also notes that some of the most expensive policies offer the poorest cover.

TRD's group commercial director Mark Hayes-Newington said: "Many people assume that if their travel insurance is expensive this will equate to quality cover.

"However, our research shows this is clearly not the case.

"The policies offered by some of the most well-known high-street travel agents and big-name tour operators, have some of the worst cover."

TRD analysed more than 700 different single-trip and annual travel policies on offer from more than 180 providers.

It identified 10 "best buy" policies, which were 40% of the price of the average travel agent policy.

See also:

29 Mar 01 | Business
20 Jul 01 | Business
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