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Airlines' sky high "tick box tax"

CHOICE says avoiding airlines' add-on travel insurance can save families hundreds of dollars on their next holiday.

03 November 2016

A CHOICE review of the airlines' travel insurance policies has found a family of four can save between $445 and $871 by purchasing a standalone policy and avoiding the pricey insurance offered by Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar in their online checkouts. [1]    

"When it comes to buying travel insurance the airlines are taking you for a ride and landing you with staggering price premiums," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

CHOICE compared 30-day worldwide travel insurance policies sold as part of the flight booking process on Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar for international flights leaving in November and found all the airlines offer poor value policies compared to standalone policies. 

"The airlines are being very sneaky by charging adult prices for kids who can be insured for next to nothing if you purchase standalone policies directly through an insurer," Mr Godfrey says.  

For a 30-day trip to the United States, Qantas land families with the biggest price hike charging the adult price for children 12 and above for a total cost of $1448. A similar policy through the same insurance provider only costs $577 as it allows anyone under 25 travelling with adults to go for free. [2] 

"Qantas is hitting families, slugging them with a whopping 150% markup or an $871 'tick box tax'," says Mr Godfrey.

"It's a similar story with Jetstar's Travel Insurance Premium Cover which offers worldwide cover for two adults and two children for $848. If you ditch Jetstar's policy and opt for one of the best value policies on the market, Good2Go The Works, families only pay $362. [3]

"So much for being a discount airline, Jetstar's eye watering 134% price premium is a long way from being a good deal when it comes to travel insurance." 

Virgin Australia is also in on the rip off, its add-on insurance for a family of four will cost you $890 but an almost identical Virgin Australia policy sold separately through the airline's own website will only cost you $445. [4]   

"Virgin's online checkout 'tick box tax' harshly punishes families who opt for the convenience of selecting insurance at the same time as buying a flight. Getting slugged with a 100% price premium is not a great start to a holiday," says Mr Godfrey.   

"If you're booking an overseas flight don't let the airlines' pricey add-on insurance policies get off the ground. Leave the boxes in the online checkout un-ticked and purchase a policy directly from an insurer." 

Travel insurance tips:
- Don't buy travel insurance through an airline's online checkout
- Read the product disclosure statement and note any excess payable and exclusions 
- Compare policies as purchasing directly from an insurer can save you hundreds of dollars 

For more information, see our travel insurance reviews

Media Inquiries Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news

To read more on CHOICE tests, reviews and campaigns, go to

Set up by consumers for consumers, CHOICE is the consumer advocate that provides Australians with information and advice, free from commercial bias. As vital today as when we were founded in 1959, CHOICE continues to fight for consumers and uncover the truth. By mobilising Australia's largest and loudest consumer movement, CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable and achieve real change on the issues that matter most.

[1] CHOICE travel insurance review, October 2016

[3] Op cit

[4] Ibid