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Reliable travel insurance with your current account? Don’t bank on it.

Should you trust banks with your travel insurance?


Reliable travel insurance with your current account? Don’t bank on it.

We hear our fair share of travel insurance horror stories. Yet sometimes the worst examples aren’t from happy-go-lucky holidaymakers who ignore the importance of travel insurance, but from those who thought they had adequate cover only to be caught out when they tried to claim. If you have a travel insurance deal bolted onto a banking package, there’s a chance you could be next.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen...

Loans, credit cards insurance. Really?

Banks, building societies and credit card companies are increasingly adding travel insurance into their offers in a bid to entice more customers. The trouble is that travel insurance is a specialist field. Banks will generally be far less concerned than a specialist travel insurer about making sure you get the right policy. They may be unaware of the subtleties of the policies they are selling, or the processes required to make sure each customer gets a policy that fits. And if they are aware, they may not tell you. It’s simply not their field. Banking is.

Banking travel insurance: Fine for the bare minimum

The secret to a great travel insurance policy is getting something that fits your circumstances. Everyone is different. And every holiday is different. So how far do you think the one-size-fits-all policies issued by banks and credit card companies will get you? Sure, they’re fine for covering short trips taken by people with very basic travel requirements. But they’ll generally cover the essentials and not much more.

However, that’s not the major problem.

Like most other policies, the kind of travel insurance policies that are built into banking deals have exclusions – things that will invalidate your cover. Travel insurance specialists are generally very open about what their policy exclusions are. Sadly, for some banking customers it will often not be clear what their exclusions are – or even that exclusions exist – until it’s too late.

If you’re planning an adventure or have medical conditions – beware

Many banking travel insurance policies do not cover medical conditions. Let’s say you have osteoporosis or multiple sclerosis and you have a nasty fall, which breaks an arm. If your insurer didn’t know about your condition before you left, you could be left having to pay for thousands of pounds worth of medical treatment without a penny of help from your insurer. And in the unlikely event that you’re caught up in a medical emergency, you could be left with medical bills that change your life.

Exclusions can also apply for sports and activities. Anything from riding a bicycle to splashing around on a banana boat can trigger exclusions in your policy. So if you’re injured as a result, you could have to pay the costs of medical assistance alone.

Check what you’re covered for. Seriously.

If your bank or credit card company issued you with a travel insurance policy, they should have given you travel insurance policy documents that explain the terms of your cover. The literature can be dense. But taking thirty minutes to really get to the bottom of what your policy covers you for could save you a lot of time, hassle and, potentially, money. If you’re in any doubt, call whoever provides your travel insurance and give them as many details about your circumstances as possible. It really is best to be on the safe side. There should be a contact telephone number on your policy documents.

The alternative option: go to a travel insurance specialist

Taking out a policy with a travel insurance specialist will make it much easier to see what you’re covered for. It should also be straightforward to give details of any pre-existing medical conditions you have. At World First we cover thousands of medical conditions. And our policies include cover for dozens of sports and activities. We also cover up to £5 million worth of medical costs. It’s a service we’re extremely proud of.

What does the future hold?

One in five consumers now has a packaaged bank account and the Financial Services Authority is keen to protect consumers from travel insurance that they don't need or can't use. From March 31st 2013, banks and building societies will be required to check whether their customers are eligible to make claims on their packaged insurance products. Customers should also receive annual eleigibility statements, outlining what's required to make a claim.

The FSA has called the move a good first step but is still calling for increased transparency from banks when it comes to selling insurance to their customers.

To find out more or get an instant online quote, visit

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