You can easily avoid the hidden fees of travel agents by purchasing your travel insurance directly from an insurance provider.
We know that many travellers purchase from their travel agent but you would be shocked to know the difference in cost in buying travel insurance direct from an insurer versus a travel agent!
Purchasing travel insurance direct from a travel insurance company is usually substantially cheaper than purchasing through a travel agent or tour company as they have no 'middle man' fees attached.
The consumer advocacy group, Choice, estimated that agents received up to 50% of a policy premium in commission. "It's very easy and convenient to go with the insurance provided by the travel agent but that might not be the best deal," a Choice spokesman, Christopher Zinn, says. "Our advice is that substantial discounts can be found online and high agent mark-ups are often negotiable."
In advice supplied by insure4less.com.au, the company states: "Naturally, buying travel insurance direct and cutting out the travel agent or tour operator can bring the price down substantially, as these middlemen tend to earn high commissions."
Ian Jackson, the general manager of the online group, Travel Insurance Direct, says its policies carry lower commissions - less than 30 per cent - by cutting out some of the intermediaries (distributors, marketers or agents).
In addition, according to the Marketing Manager of direct insurance company 1cover.com.au: "Travel agents may not always have back up in the event of bankruptcy, whereas all quality insurance companies (in Australia) are underwritten by a reputable insurance body."
Purchasing direct from the insurance company not only results in lower fees but also a more specialised service as naturally, travel is the agent's area of expertise, not insurance.
Travellers can also expect to pay a higher premium for travel insurance purchased direct with airlines. Some airlines suggest travel insurance as an add-on when booking flights online. Some are cheeky enough to pre-select travel insurance for you, so check the total summary as you may need to uncheck the travel insurance box.
Even among travel insurance providers the rates and policy components can vary considerably, so it's a good idea not to just grab the first policy offered to you but to take time for a careful comparison. For the easiest way to compare direct travel insurance, online can't be beaten.
Some travel insurers operate wholly online and are able to offer rates that are made cheap, when compared to traditional companies, due to reduced overheads yet they still maintain high value and reliability.
As NRMA Insurance advises: "Shop around – don't just accept the insurance that your travel agent or airline offers you, there may be cheaper options available which suits your needs."
Expect better deals as competition heats up between travel agents, online and direct insurance retailers.
Travel insurance is one of those life decisions that can impact heavily if you don't put in the effort to make an informed decision. So take time to compare travel insurance direct versus travel agent prices.
Start comparing travel insurance direct online now to see the savings for yourself.