Airline travel insurance vs buying direct

Should you tick the travel insurance box when booking a flight, or buy your own policy elsewhere?

The best deal

Combing travel insurance comparison websites, plugging personal details into quote engines and studying terms and conditions may be the last thing you want to deal with before you go on holidays. So why bother when you can just tick the travel insurance check box as you're buying your flight? 

We look at travel insurance sold by Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar versus comparable standalone travel insurance policies.

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Travel Insurance reviews

Tick box tax

Jetstar's travel insurance is underwritten by AIG, as is the Good2Go The Works policy – a CHOICE Recommended product in our latest travel insurance comparison. Comparing the Jetstar Premium cover with the Good2Go The Works policy, Jetstar scores 65% for policy cover in our review, versus 75% for the Good2Go The Works, while a 35-year-old single or couple saves 15% on a worldwide policy for 30 days if they buy the Good2Go policy. Jetstar caters its policy offerings based on where you're flying to, so if you book another flight with a different airline, make sure the Jetstar policy provides enough cover for that region.

Families are better off buying their travel insurance elsewhere because the price offered by airlines is calculated per person for every traveller, including the kids. So if a family with two kids buys the Good2Go policy they'll pay $362 but if they tick the travel insurance option when buying a flight with Jetstar, they'll be slugged more than double that amount at $848.

Virgin Australia's travel insurance is provided by Cover-More but you can also buy Virgin Australia travel insurance policies separate to your flight. 

For families it's much cheaper to buy the policy separately instead of ticking the check box when buying your flight because, as with Jetstar, if you buy Virgin travel insurance together with a flight – families will pay per person for every child. A family with two children will pay $890 for a 30-day worldwide policy but if they buy the Virgin policy separate to their flight they'll pay $445, a saving of 50%.

If you buy the Virgin Australia policy separate to your flight you'll save $511 on a 35-day trip to Europe for two adults and two children. On the other hand, Virgin policies bought with a flight for travellers aged 65 are 3% cheaper and for 70-year-olds they're 12% cheaper than the Virgin policy purchased separate to your flight.

"If a family with two kids buys the Good2Go policy they'll pay $362 but if they tick the travel insurance option when buying a flight with Jetstar, they'll be slugged more than double that"

Qantas Comprehensive cover is provided by QBE Insurance, although the Qantas policy scores higher than QBE standalone policy in our review. So you get what you pay for – QBE costs less than Qantas in all our scenarios and age brackets. A 35-year-old single, a couple or a family with two children under twelve can save from 25% to 37%, travellers over 60 around 7% to 24% and the QBE annual cover is almost 10% cheaper than the Qantas policy.

Qantas does however, charge kids 12 and over as adults, while if you buy direct from QBE, children under 24 travel free. So on a 30-day trip to the USA, you'll pay a whopping $871 more for the Qantas policy.

A 35-year-old couple travelling for 35 days in Europe saves $215 with QBE and a 60-year-old couple has $139 more spending money for the same trip. But bear in mind the Qantas policy offers slightly better dental and baggage limits and unlimited cancellation.

Get the most from your cover

It's an easy add-on to just tick the travel insurance checkbox when buying a flight, and with domestic flights the box is often already ticked for you. But while Qantas travel insurance rates well in our review, we found there are better deals available than the insurance offered by Jetstar and Virgin.

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