Why cheap travel insurance could bite you in the a***
Price comparison websites are usually the first place we look when it comes to buying travel insurance. But they’re a bit like those hot dogs you get at football matches. They seem like a good idea at the time but have a tendency to repeat on you later. But don’t listen to us, listen to Cam…
Tacos and tequila
Cam is a seriously savvy traveller, but a few years ago he learned the hard way that cheap travel insurance can really come back to bite you in the a****.
Heading off on an extended trip to South America, Cam organised his travel insurance on a price comparison website. He whittled down the options to find the cheapest solution and fifteen quid later he had a year’s worth of round the world cover.
Fast forward to blue skies and sunshine and Cam was happily enjoying a stint in Mexico when he came down with a dodgy tummy. Nothing especially unusual there, so off he went to the doctor where he was diagnosed with a parasite. One round of antibiotics later and all should have been well. Except it wasn’t. So he went back to find he had another parasite, cue more antibiotics.
This cycle went on four times. Cam was riddled. He reckons it had something to do with the taco only diet he had embarked upon. Anyway, four rounds of antibiotics later and Cam was still feeling less tequila and more Tylenol. Doctors were stumped and said he needed a colonoscopy and gastric consultant, for which he should really go home.
Computer says no
Now, up until this point Cam had been doing the responsible thing. He had been filing his receipts and keeping his insurance provider informed by email. However, when he contacted them about arranging flights home, communications got a little bit sticky.
‘Dear Mrs’ came the response. Not a good start and showing they had zero idea who he was despite the trail of emails sent over the previous weeks. It went on to tell Cam that he would have to wait two weeks for approval on the cost of flights. Definitely not time that Cam could spare.
Feeling wretched, he paid for his flights directly at a cost of £800 and came home for treatment. All well on the health front, it then took Cam two full days of admin and four months of to-ing and fro-ing to get his money back from the insurer.
The result? The emotional burden of stress and hassle, in addition to lots of time, big upfront costs that Cam was lucky to be able to pay for, and lots of ill feeling.
So what can we learn from Cam’s experience?
- Choose your insurance policy based on what you need, and look at the cost afterwards.
- What seems like a saving in the short term could turn out to be very expensive in the long term.
- When it comes to the cost of travel insurance, if it sounds too good to be true...
- Don’t eat too many tacos on holiday.