Advantages Cheap, quick and easy to apply.
Disadvantages Unwilling to pay out for even minor claims.
|Competitiveness of APR|
|Comprehensiveness of range of products|
|Efficiency of service|
|Value for money|
|Online - Content/organization of site||Excellent|
|Online - Reliability/speed of site||Good|
Why do we buy travel insurance? Is it that our wallets are too full and we simply want a safer alternative to burning our cash, or is it because we want peace of mind and something to fall back upon if the worst should happen? For the vast majority, I imagine (and hope) that the latter applies.The quality of an insurance company is defined not by its prices, but the way in which it resolves claims. In most cases, it's unlikely that you'll need to claim; as such, you may never find out how good that insurance really was. Were you really protected, or was it merely an illusion?
Put your hand up if you've ever read an insurance contract from cover to cover. While I can't see you, I don't think it would be incorrect for me to assume that at least 80% of you will not have your hand up. If you do, good for you - have a gold star. Now, put your hand down if you have a solicitor or paralegal in the family.The more prudent of you will compare insurance companies and seek out reviews to gain the benefit of another's experience - the benefit of another's mistakes. My mistake was to rely on Atlas travel insurance.
Atlas insurance is one of the cheapest travel insurance companies on the market, and I was a loyal customer for over 5 years. I purchased their insurance for the three summers that I spent in the US. I was fortunate in that time that I never needed to make a claim. I also sought their protection when I visited Paris last year; again, I was fortunate not to need it.This year, I decided to take a coach tour of California and, as usual, Atlas insurance was my first port of call. I got a cheap deal and I was satisfied that I had bought complete peace of mind.
Now, I had read the contract, at least in part (I am a law graduate after all). However, as I will explain below, following its terms to the letter became an impossibility in this case.The holiday proceeded smoothly until the very last day, when (I can only assume) I left my designer glasses on the coach to the airport. It wasn't until I had checked in my luggage that I realized that my specs were nowhere to be found. By this point, the coach was long gone, and we were due to board in less than twenty minutes. I noticed our tour guide sitting in the departure lounge, so I informed him of what had happened. Sadly, there was little he could do at this point.
I already had a general idea that my travel insurance covered the loss of personal items, so I wasn't too concerned. My main frustration at that point was that I wouldn't be able to enjoy my crossword puzzles during the flight.As soon as I got home, I located the claims number on my insurance documents and reported the loss to Atlas insurance. I was asked if I had filed a police report in America. As aforementioned, my glasses were lost only twenty minutes before boarding the flight; I didn't have time to report the incident to the police, and - in any case - had no contact numbers for the local police service. I explained this to her, and her response was curt: "Sorry, you can't claim; you needed to get a police report."
Being a cynic by nature (as many of my readers will be aware), I had half expected this kind of response. Absolutely no regard was given to my mitigating circumstances. I decided to fill in a claim form anyway, though my hopes weren't high.Today, I received a reply. I have inserted my comments in square brackets.
----------------------Re: Travel Insurance Claim
We thank you for your recently received claim form.[Always nice to see a little gratitude for having taken the time to fill in those awful things]
We would advise that we are unable to proceed further with your claim made on this occasion.["We 'would' advise?" I thought that 'was' the advice.]
Whilst we are not unmindful of the circumstances surrounding your claim, it is noted that you did not report the loss within the time limit and provide a written loss report and we therefore find ourselves unable to proceed further.[Double negative aside, I find it interesting that they 'find themselves unable' when it is their contract that has provided this loophole for them. It seems very much like they are attempting to distance themselves from the awful terms that they themselves are putting into force.]
We realise that you may be disappointed with our response, however we trust that our position has been fully explained to you. If we have failed to note additional information, which may affect the assessment of your claim, please send this to us for consideration.['may be disappointed'? On the contrary, I'm absolutely delighted to hear that my travel insurance won't cover me. I do, after all, only buy travel insurance for the fun of it.]
We regret that our response could not have been more favourable.[Oh, I'm sure you do. Again, notice that they are attempting to distance themselves from responsibility, despite the fact that - as the insurance company - it is their decision.]
I do have some additional information for them: I will never be using their insurance again. In the meantime, I've been able to find a cheap substitute for my glasses, but I don't need them to see that Atlas insurance isn't worth the paper that it's written on. If this is their reaction to such a meagre claim, I have to wonder to what depths they would stoop to avoid paying larger claims.When I posted this review on DooYoo, I was asked 'how would they know if you were telling the truth'? This is a fair point - they don't. However, how would they know I was telling the truth even if I had a police report? If I was a liar, could I not have just filed a fake report with the police? Had I been looking to scam them, it would be all the more reason to know the contract and claims procedure inside out, rather than making a claim that was likely to fail.
While their coverage was cheap, I must concede to that old saying: you get what you pay for. Avoid them like the plague, because if you do contract black-death on holiday they probably won't help you.
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