Two European airlines have been fined for their mis-leading practices in the sales of travel insurance.
Ryanair and easyJet, of Ireland and England respectively, have been fined a total of 1,000,000 Euro by an Italian regulator. They claim that both airlines had unfair practices in the sales of travel insurance, including ‘opt-out’ sales and not providing information about the policies being sold.
“Opt in” travel insurance should be used cautiously
We have written about opt-in travel insurance before, which is an up-selling technique that many booking sites use. As you work through your purchase, you are presented with a very simple way to click a box and buy insurance. The plan is usually a low flat rate, and the total effort is clicking a box and the premium is added to your total.
This is obviously a very easy (and profitable) way to sell travel insurance because there is little effort required. It shows a low price, a check box, and a headline such as “Protect Your Trip With Insurance”. But most travelers who buy this way are not actually reading their policy and understanding what they are buying. The coverage is assumed, and if they need to file a claim there is often a misunderstanding about what is covered.
The other practice we have written about is ‘opt-out’ travel insurance, which is even more dangerous.
In this case, the check box is already selected, and if you don’t uncheck it (opt out) you are buying the plan. The Department of Transportation has made this illegal since 2012, and rightly so.
The best way is to buy separately from a 3rd party
I recommend researching and buying travel insurance from a 3rd party.
This separates the purchase and allows you time to fully understand what you are buying. You will have a better selection of plans, and often get better pricing due to this competitive selection.
Sometimes what you are buying is not actually travel insurance, but another concept called ‘travel protection’. This type of purchase is totally different from insurance, and should be avoided as well.