Holidaymakers have been warned that some travel insurance polices have very high excess levels hidden in the small print, which means they could end up seriously out of pocket if they need to make a claim.
The Independent on Sunday has commissioned exclusive research, carried out by the price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com. This revealed that in some cases the excess levels are so high that the policy is virtually worthless.
For example, the best-priced cover for a single trip to the US for a family of four available from Travel Insurance Web, with a premium of £28.06, charges an excess of £200 on holiday cancellation but only has a maximum payout of £500. Baggage loss has a claim ceiling of £500, with an excess of £200.
However, for a few pounds more, the Virgin Money policy, with a premium of £32.98, pays out £3,000 on cancellation and £1,500 for baggage loss, with an excess of £100 on both.
Bob Atkinson, a travel insurance expert at Moneysupermarket told The Independent: "The cheaper policies don't provide adequate cover and can also come with much higher excesses, effectively making it worthless to make a claim. In most cases, it is worth paying a few pounds more for suitable levels of cover. Some insurers, such as Virgin Money and the Post Office, allow you to pay an additional premium to waive your excess altogether."
Matt Tumbridge, director of InsureMyExcess.co.uk told The Independent: "Families can be hit badly if they have to make a claim because excess is so often charged per person. Many consumers will be put under severe financial pressure if they have to make a claim."
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