UK banks’ travel cover investigated

UK banks’ travel cover investigated

A new report from UK-based direct-to-consumer travel insurance provider Staysure has shed light on the limitations of the travel insurance cover provided by a number of leading banks. According to the results, as many as 3.3 million UK holidaymakers aged 50 and over could be heading off on holiday, blissfully unaware that they do not have adequate coverage in place.

“Brits do not knowingly travel uninsured,” Staysure emphasises in the introduction to its Don’t Bank on It report, “they think they are covered thanks to a combination of full trust in travel insurance policies offered by banks and a lack of widespread knowledge of what they need to declare in order to be fully covered. Banks are not travel insurance specialists, so when it comes to asking customers to provide basic information about their health, which will tailor the policy they need to ensure they are covered, the onus is put on the customer to disclose medical conditions.”

The report found that an eye-opening one in four British holidaymakers rely entirely on bank-provided travel cover, often because this add-on is promoted as a reason to open a current account. However, all too frequently this coverage does not cover older travellers with pre-existing medical condition, an issue of which consumers are unlikely to be aware, and that the banks themselves are reportedly not disclosing, whether because of ignorance or carelessness. As travel insurance remains a stubbornly misunderstood product, many customers merely see a good deal – a new bank account with free travel insurance included – and have no concept of the potential pitfalls.

Seventy-five per cent of the adults surveyed in the report admitted that they did not fully scrutinise the terms and conditions of their policies, and around 20 per cent said that they would seriously consider not declaring past medical conditions to their insurer (this rose to 34 per cent among travellers insured through their banks). Seventy-five per cent of those who opted for bank-provided cover said that they did so because it was complimentary; unfortunately, the report also found that those with banking cover were nine per cent more likely to have a claim rejected than those who went with a specialist insurer.

Another major issue highlighted by Staysure is that many bank-provided policies come with a maximum age limit, so customers aged 75 or older could end up travelling with no cover whatsoever.

One interesting aspect of the report is the geographical breakdown of customer responses: 17 per cent of holidaymakers from the East Midlands region said that they would be more likely to rely on banking travel insurance, while 34 per cent of Londoners would do the same. Seventy-one per cent of South West residents, meanwhile, would opt for the convenience of a bank-provided policy, while a whopping 89 per cent of Welsh residents would go for this option.

 “To have commissioned a report such as this and by uncovering the truth behind the pitfalls of banking travel insurance, we’re keen to educate the British public by bringing this into the limelight,” commented Ryan Howsam, Chairman of Staysure. “Here at Staysure, we hear countless stories of individuals not being adequately covered by their banks while they’re away, which could have been realised, simply, by reading the small print or by taking out specialist travel insurance policies. Anyone travelling should always seek advice from specialist insurers to purchase the right travel insurance that is tailored to their individual needs. No one should ever be left helpless in a foreign country with insufficient cover and unmanageable medical bills.”