The trouble with Insure And Go travel insurance

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A friend had an annual travel insurance policy from Insure And Go. She broke her arm and a camera whilst we were in France last month. We weren’t impressed with Insure And Go. Here’s some of the problems we had:

  • We called I&G and they quickly offered to call us back. That seemed kind, saving us the cost of an international mobile call, so we accepted. Only later when we read the policy small-print did we find out that they will pay the costs of our first phone call to them but no more. So when they called us back it was costing us money (for an incoming roaming mobile call) and they weren’t going to pay for it. There were lots more phone calls involved over the next few days – I&G were pretty hopeless when we needed advice on travel and medical issues and we spend a lot of time on hold or going through automated phone menus. More than once they promised to call us back and then didn’t call, so we had to call again. All this added up to a lot of expensive calls as a result of the accident, but I&G don’t pay for them.
  • The I&G helpline told us that EasyJet might refuse to fly somebody with an arm in a plaster-cast (apparently because the arm could swell up during the flight). But I&G weren’t at all helpful when it came to confirming this with EasyJet, helping us obtain the “Fit To Fly” certificate that they thought we might need or offering alternative ways to get us home. In the end we sorted it out ourselves – we got ourselves to a French hospital and they removed the cast.
  • Even though the camera was damaged in the same accident as the arm, I&G insist that we make two separate claims (because they’re in different sections of the policy, I think). We’re lucky that we paid extra for the excess waiver, otherwise this would have meant paying two excesses. It still requires extra paperwork though.
  • I&G require a written confirmation from a camera shop that the camera isn’t repairable. Camera shops quite reasonably don’t want to do this for free, two local shops wanted to charge £20. I&G won’t cover this cost in the insurance, so we have to pay £20 for them to accept that the camera is broken. The policy isn’t new-for-old and because the camera cost £115 three years ago it’s now devalued and it’s lower spec than most modern cameras. We expect to get a fairly minimal offer from I&G we’ll save ourselves the bother and the £20 by not claiming. I&G win on this occasion!
  • Bying an I&G policy is very simple and fast, everything is done online, you even print the policy out yourself – no need for anything in the post. Claiming is less simple – lots of calls to their premium-rate number and lots of forms which are sent in the post to be completed and returned. We’re still sorting out the paperwork they need (copies of flight details etc), we have yet to make the claim and find out whether they’re going to pay up!

So whilst Insure And Go seemed very good value when we bought the policy, they’re a lot less good when you have to make a claim. All in all we’d have been better off not buying the policy, not bothering with all the phone-calls and forms and sorting it all out ourselves! Next time I think I’ll try an annual policy from a more reputable house-hold name insurer. Even if it’s a bit more expensive I think it will be worth going with a company with a good name, I claimed on a Direct Line car policy once before and they were harsh but fair and very efficient, so maybe I’ll try their travel insurance?

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