This blog post was updated February 3, 2020.
Travel Insurance Companies vs. Travel Comparison Sites: What You Should Know
Oct 01, 2019
Let’s say you’ve decided to purchase travel insurance for an upcoming vacation. Great idea! But where exactly do you begin?
Chances are, you’ll turn to the internet. A quick Google search for “travel insurance” yields, at the time of this writing, more than 1,000,000,000 results. Yikes.
What often bubbles up to the top of search engine results is a series of insurance comparison websites like Squaremouth, InsureMyTrip, and TravelInsurance.com. These platforms allow you to compare dozens of insurance plans based on coverage details, price
point, and customer ratings. You can even purchase your insurance plan without ever opening a new browser tab.
With all these helpful features, you may be thinking that comparison sites are a one-stop-shop for travel insurance. But customers who use comparison sites for all their insurance needs may be missing out. Here are a few key differences between travel
comparison sites and dedicated insurance providers like Seven Corners
— and what you
should know before you finalize your purchase.
Great for ...
Understanding your options
Finding the right insurance plan can be overwhelming; that’s where comparison tools come in. When you visit most travel insurance comparison websites, you can access a free quote simply by entering details like your age, destination, country, and
state of residence, and overall trip cost. With that information, the website will curate a set of recommended plans from dozens of available options. You can then filter these plans by criteria like popularity, cost, and benefits offered.
As an added bonus, comparison sites typically partner with well-regarded insurance companies. For example, Squaremouth’s Zero-Complaint Guarantee promises that Squaremouth will stop selling an insurer’s products if a claim is handled unfairly.
Similarly, InsureMyTrip’s Best Plans Guarantee states that if an insurance plan or provider earns less than the 4-star minimum rating, they will be removed from the site. (If you were curious, Seven Corners is listed among the top insurance
providers on both websites!)
Price comparison tools can help reduce the overall cost of insuring your trip. By comparing
plans, you can get a top-level view of the coverage versus cost offered by various providers. As you compare, remember that cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, Squaremouth reports that most of it customers purchase the third, fourth, or
fifth cheapest option, due to the extra benefits that come with pricier plans.
Comparison sites typically share reviews from current and past customers. This means you’ll see the good, the bad, and the ugly of customer experiences. It’s best to take these reviews with a grain of salt, but keep an eye out for patterns.
Do people regularly complain about their customer service? Confusing websites? If there are any consistent red flags reported, it might be worth looking into a different company.
... and not so great for
Before you purchase an insurance plan, it’s important to read through all benefits and exclusions listed in the plan’s documents. Unfortunately, this area is where the simplicity of comparison sites can be a drawback. It’s a good
idea to visit the insurance provider’s website directly to ensure that you aren’t missing any important plan details or forms before you buy and not after.
Although travel comparison sites have customer support staff of their own, these staff may not be specialists on the policies that are sold. Because of this, consider visiting the insurance provider’s website to get in touch with a qualified
product rep. Insurance companies’ in-house sales and customer support teams can help you determine whether a plan recommended by a comparison site is really the right fit for your trip.
Let’s say you’ve made your insurance purchase, and you suddenly aren’t sure if you chose the right option. Or maybe you’d like to add additional coverage for a reservation that you recently made. Or perhaps you have an unexpected
emergency while you’re abroad. In any of those cases, a travel insurance comparison site will recommend that you contact your insurance provider directly — so why not cut out the middle man?
Travel Insurance Providers
Great for …
So, you’ve narrowed down your travel insurance options to a few companies and plans. At this stage, visiting an insurer’s website directly will give you an opportunity to review similar plans that the insurance comparison website might
have missed. You’ll also have the chance to learn about additional coverage options that you can add on to your plan before you purchase.
If you need help making your purchase, understanding a quote, or interpreting terms and conditions, your insurance company should have staff who can walk you through those tricky decisions. More importantly, if you’re in an emergency, or need support
during your travels, you’ll call your insurance provider —- not an insurance comparison company. With your provider, a 24/7 emergency team is just a phone call away. Help isn’t hard to find when you work directly with your insurance
It’s worth mentioning that many insurance comparison sites offer additional support with the claims process. Programs like InsureMyTrip’s Anytime Advocates provide optional assistance and mediation if you have a dispute with your travel
insurance provider. While these services may sound like a wise investment, what’s even more valuable is understanding your plan’s coverage before you buy. Purchasing direct will ensure that you have access to in-house customer support,
plan details, and claim information prior to
finalizing your purchase — arming you with the knowledge you need to avoid a claims dispute altogether.
As you sift through your coverage options, it's easy to get overwhelmed by what-ifs. Will you really use $250 worth of luggage coverage? Why would someone need medical evacuation? Is cancel for any reason (CFAR) really worth it? In this case, customer testimonials
can help by providing real-world examples of insurance plans in action.
Before committing to any travel insurance provider, pay attention to whether and how they tell their customers’ stories. You can tell a lot about a company by how they treat their clientele.
... and not so great for
It’s true that on an insurer’s website, you won’t find the same wide variety of plans as you would on a comparison website. Because of that, you may need to visit a few different providers’ websites to ensure that you’re
getting the best possible deals. Remember that most plans can be customized, as well. In many cases, you can incorporate additional benefits into your plan, such as CFAR coverage, rental car coverage, or cancel for work reasons.
If you’re looking for customer reviews, chances are, you’ll find more objective opinions on a third-party review service or via a travel insurance comparison website. While reviews are valuable, remember that they’re only one piece of
the puzzle. Research suggests
that online reviews aren’t always an accurate reflection of quality, so
it helps to look beyond the reviews.
When in doubt, buy direct
Travel insurance comparison sites are a useful way to learn about available travel plans, but there’s just no substitute for a trusted insurance provider. Buying directly from the provider will ensure that you’re supported at every step
along the way: from picking the perfect plan, to customizing your coverage, to receiving personalized support when you’re on the road. Plus you aren’t likely to save money because the aggregator’s price is the same as the insurance
With a trusted insurance provider like Seven Corners, you’ll be in great hands. With a Stevie Award Winning Customer Service Team, an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, UStiA membership, and customers ranging from astronauts to RVers, Seven Corners’ expertise means that you can purchase, plan, and travel with confidence.
About the Author
Grace Lower has a love for all things writing and travel. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.