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Can you trust Defaqto star ratings? What 5-stars actually means

Can you trust Defaqto star ratings? What 5-stars actually means

If you’re looking for insurance it’s tempting to opt for a five-star rated product, but you could still be left out of pocket.

Sam Richardson

Sam Richardson Updated on 29 November 2018

Searching for insurance isn’t just stressful; it’s plain difficult.

In fact, the average insurance policy’s small print is harder to read than Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment or Stephen Hawking’s a Brief History of Time, researchers from Which? found.

Miss a single line and you could find your travel insurer leaves you stranded in another country, or your home insurer refuses to pay out.

Defaqto’s  Star Ratings system is one of the few ways to cut through the jargon.

Even if you’ve not heard of the company, you may be familiar with the stars and logo (pictured above), which are used extensively by comparison sites and insurers in their advertising.

We talked to the creator of the Star Ratings and head of insight at Defaqto, Brian Brown, to find out how they can help you make a decision.

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How the ratings work

Brown designed the Star Ratings 19 years ago, starting with insurance. “We wanted to try and simplify things on the public side,” he says.

Defaqto is first-and-foremost a business-to-business company – not a comparison site – and doesn’t make money from consumers as such. Instead, it licenses the use of the Star Ratings for companies in their advertising.

Nevertheless, the ratings have become big business. Defaqto’s website boasts that “60 experts spend 400 hours a day collecting and examining information from over 41,000 products”.

According to Brown, every known product on the market gets a rating from one to five stars, no matter how obscure (step forward, Sheffield Wednesday Owls Mastercard, pictured below).

Each February, the company publishes updated Star Ratings.

But what do they actually mean? Is a five-star rating a guarantee the product can't be beaten? Not necessarily, as you'll soon see.

Not about price or service

Defaqto’s ratings are about the product, not the provider and – perhaps surprisingly – not about the level of customer service.

“If you’ve never made an insurance claim, you wouldn’t know what the service was like”, explains Brown “it’d be great if I could get service metric data, but we don’t have it.”

Nor are the Star Ratings about price, or a measure of value for money. That’s a decision the consumer needs to make themselves, Brown believes, comparing it to the decision to buy a BMW over a cheaper model of car.

Defaqto’s team score various features of the product from one to five, the combination of which largely determines what the product’s final rating will be.

However, there are also ‘core criteria’ and the lack of any of these will prevent a product getting a four or five-star rating.

“These are things that a reasonable person would expect to have”, says Brown, giving as examples a courtesy car as part of a car insurance policy, personal belongings cover outside the home for home insurance and cancellation cover for travel insurance.

24 ways to cut your car insurance premiums

What is a five-star product?

Defaqto hasn’t published their core criteria, although last year Defaqto defined the terms that financial services providers must use when describing their Star Ratings.

Five-star products, for instance, must have ‘comprehensive’ levels of cover or features. Such a rating, Brown explains, “is a very good level of features and benefits, much more than a lower rating product”.

However, Brown cautions that a five-star rating “doesn’t guarantee that every [insurance] claim will be paid” and consumers should still check that the policy suits their individual requirements.

Also, bear in mind that Defaqto’s Star Ratings aren’t officially recognised by regulators.

The Guardian reported that , in 2009, the Financial Ombudsman struck down a consumer’s complaint that their five-star-rated travel insurance policy hadn’t covered their airline going bust.

The Ombudsman reportedly dismissed the rating system as ‘puff’.

Furthermore, Brown insists that Defaqto ratings are not all about pushing consumers to go for five-star products.

A low-rated car insurance product could, for example, have a low price whilst satisfying a driver’s legal obligation to be insured.

Where Defaqto goes wrong

Whilst Defaqto’s ratings may be impartial, that doesn’t mean their always correct.

This has become particularly apparent as the company has expanded from insurance to products such as credit cards, where its methodology has lead to some surprising conclusions.

For example,  Sainsbury’s 0% interest Purchase Credit Card – which offers the longest interest-free period in the market – scored just 3 stars.

In some cases, discrepancies in ratings were difficult to explain. No cashback card scored higher than three stars, but Natwest’s cashback-like Rewards Card, which has a fee and offers a far lower rate than the market leader, scored five stars.

Some of these issues derive from Defaqto’s methodology: cards are marked down for high interest rates or fees, despite consumers being able to avoid both expenses by using the card properly.

Brown admitted that an overall rating of credit cards was problematic, given different cards are used in very different ways.

The features that define a good balance transfer card, for instance, are almost completely different from the perks of a good rewards card.

Dreading renewing? How to cut your home insurance costs

Don’t use in isolation

As the credit card debate shows, defining quality can quickly become maddeningly complex.

Yet we depend on Defaqto to avoid terrible products in a world of fake customer reviews, ‘sponsored editorial’ in the media and misleading advertising.

As Brown himself explains, the best way to use Star Ratings is alongside other sources of information.

You can gauge a company’s overall quality of customer service from websites such as Revoo and Trustpilot, providing that company has been reviewed enough times. 

Some industries have designations that ensure a level of quality, such as ATOL protection for travel providers, but other designations, such as ‘FCA-authorised’ , should be seen as a bare minimum.

And, of course, price should always play a role: with so many firms out there, you shouldn’t have to pay over the odds to get a product that works.

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What is a Defaqto Rating?

Tommy Lloyd

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Defaqto is a service that enables you to easily compare a range of financial products from different providers. 

As you’d probably expect, this includes everything from credit cards and mortgages to pensions and investments - but it also has a part to play when comparing medical travel insurance policies. 

So, if you’re here to compare cover, then it’s definitely worth having a read. Here we’re going to explore everything there is to know about Defaqto - and how you can use it to help you compare travel insurance across different providers.  

Specialist Medical Cover

We only work with providers who specialise in covering pre-existing conditions.

No discounts. No pressure. We’ll always show you the best prices from providers.

Who are Defaqto and are they independent?

Yes, Defaqto is an independent service and is used by financial advisors, banks, insurance brokers and comparison sites just like Medical Travel Compared. Although Defaqto are used and trusted by more than 250 different brands, they operate impartially with no bias or affiliation towards any companies or third parties. 

Defaqto is made up of a team of expert analysts who gather the most up to date information about financial products, such as travel insurance. 

This impartial information can then be used to give a comprehensive overview of the market, enabling providers to tailor their offerings responsively and support customers when making purchase decisions. 

Ultimately, the aim is to provide customers with an unbiased rating, designed to help them make wiser choices when comparing things... such as travel insurance!

What do the Defaqto stars mean?

A Defaqto rating is a trusted industry benchmark for the quality of a policy based on a star rating system. Without getting too technical, Defaqto analysts take an unbiased approach to gathering the data around each particular financial product and assign a star rating based on their findings. They will look at the terms and conditions of policies alongside  the quality and comprehensiveness of features and benefits that they provide.

The star rating reflects quality across one to five stars. A one-star rating indicates a basic product with very few features or benefits, whereas a five-star rating is reserved for the highest quality financial offering. 

In simple terms, the star rating system is designed to be a quick way to assess the quality of a proposition at a glance - without a focus on price or provider.

What are the criteria for Defaqto stars?

According to Defaqto themselves, they select the most important features and benefits for each product area to produce the star rating. This in-depth assessment could review anywhere between 40-100 different elements, which are each individually scored - and then subsequently used to calculate the overall score. 

Defaqto keeps its criteria vague, but essentially - these are the things that the customer is likely to deem important as they make a decision whether or not to buy.

Defaqto vs Trustpilot

Defaqto and Trustpilot have one key difference. 

Defaqto is an impartial, independent organisation made up of expert financial analysts. 

On the other hand, Trustpilot is a platform for user-generated customer reviews. 

These reviews are all based on independent experience and can have a big say on how online shoppers behave when making financial decisions. 

Trustpilot, therefore, is arguably just as (if not more) influential than Defaqto. However, rather than using both in isolation, financial organisations can provide better information for their customers by using the two together.

So, if you combine the industry-standard star rating, with real customer reviews you'll get the perfect blend of information that will help you choose the right travel insurance for you.

Is Defaqto reliable?

Can you trust Defaqto ratings?

Provided you’re satisfied with the way in which Defaqto operates - particularly in terms of the methods they use to assess the quality of any given financial product, then you should generally find their ratings pretty useful. 

However, while these ratings are drawn from impartial and intelligent insights, it doesn’t mean they’re always 100% correct. 

There have been some examples of discrepancies in the past - particularly for things like credit cards. 

When you compare travel insurance Defaqto is great, it does all the hard work for you reviewing all the technical information, and giving you the top options.

Why does Defaqto matter for me?

When it comes to travel insurance, Defaqto ratings are generally seen as an important part of the experience when comparing cover across a range of different providers.

The star rating is great because it helps you compare products based on their inclusions and not just the price.

Having the input of a trusted service like Defaqto gives you the peace of mind and assurance that your cover has been matched against criteria highlighting the most important features of medical travel insurance .

Is a low Defaqto rating always a bad thing?

A low rating is not always necessarily a bad thing. 

Let’s not forget - Defaqto ratings don’t take cost, or value for money into account. So, if you’re particularly conscious about price and don’t mind spending less, you probably won’t need to pay as much attention to the rating when shopping around. 

Ultimately, it depends on how much cover you need. You’ll find that the policies with less cover and fewer features will cost less, while the more comprehensive policies (likely to have a higher rating) will be more expensive.

When it comes to travel insurance, our advice would always be to favour cover over cost - particularly if you need specialist cover for pre-existing medical conditions . 

We use Defaqto ratings to help you make the best possible decision when comparing cover from over 30 specialist travel insurance providers if you'd like to give it a go, click the button below!

Rated Excellent

Trusted by thousands of people like you who've reviewed us on Trustpilot.

No phone calls or paperwork. Join millions who've sorted cover online in minutes.

No. We can search for travel insurance quotes for all ages. However, the number of annual multi-trip quotes for older travellers may be limited due to age restrictions imposed by the providers that we search. If you are unable to get an annual trip quote, try a single trip quote instead.

Provided you have the right cover, you can claim against any expenses you incur following a medical emergency in a country whilst on holiday.

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Defaqto star ratings for our travel insurance

We’re chuffed to say that Defaqto have given a 5 Star Rating to some of our travel insurance policies. But why is that even important? And what is Defaqto?

Well, there are many travel insurance products and providers in the market. Knowing which one to choose can be bewildering, as quality and service can vary considerably from company to company. Whilst there are some sites that allow you to compare prices, there are very few that make comparisons on quality – which is an important consideration when deciding which product to buy.

Defaqto lets you find out more about the quality of a financial product, such as insurance. They’re an independent organisation, unaffiliated with any financial company – and their services help you to decide when purchasing financial products online. They have been rating financial companies since 2000 (rather them than us), and they now cover over 60 different financial services.

First, here are the star ratings for our policies

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Our mid-level insurance range. Up to £5,000 for cancellation, £2,000 for baggage and £10 million for medical expenses.

Visit Defaqto to  check the Defaqto Star Rating  for this policy.

For the price-conscious. Up to £1,000 for cancellation, £1,000 for baggage and £5 million for medical expenses.

How Defaqto works

Defaqto use a Star Rating system – which indicates the level of features and benefits on offer to you. Policies with just one or two stars are unlikely to offer the range of benefits that a 5 Star rated policy can provide, and a 5 Star Rating indicates that the policy in question is one of the best products in the market.

The system is deliberately simple, enabling you to view results at a glance; and the unbiased rating is designed to help you to make wiser choices when purchasing financial products online.

How are the stars awarded?

Star Ratings are generated using a scoring system, which Defaqto calls “DNA” – or data numerical analysis. It’s an in-depth form of assessment, which reviews between 40 to 100 features and benefits for each policy – with each one generating a score from one to five.

Once the individual scores are ascertained, they’re added up, which produces an overall score. It’s this score that decides what Star Rating the policy in question will be awarded. Additionally, scores are constantly reviewed and updated, ensuring that results remain as relevant as possible for the consumer.

What are the criteria?

Defaqto don’t disclose their criteria (just think of it as their secret recipe) but they’re based on “which features are likely to be important” in helping you make a decision. Every member of the Defaqto team has extensive experience in the financial services sector, which provides them with the necessary knowledge to determine suitable ratings.

Independent ratings

Defaqto emphasise that they operate completely impartially, with no bias to any particular product or company. They aren’t affiliated with any financial companies or related third parties, and their ratings are completely independent.

This ensures that their star rating system can be trusted when you’re making a decision about what financial product to choose.

Why does it matter?

Having impartial guidance when buying insurance is important. Generally speaking, when you buy insurance, you’re investing in a policy for up to 12 months, which is a long-standing commitment – and it’s a decision you want to get right.

It’s easy to find the cheapest priced product, but harder to establish which product is best for your needs. Whilst price is inevitably a factor when deciding – it certainly shouldn’t be the only consideration!

The unbiased Defaqto Star Rating enables you to easily identify which products are superior in the market. When buying a policy with a high Defaqto Star Rating, you know you’re buying a high-quality product.

Just remember that all Defaqto 5 Star Ratings are an assessment of the product as a whole. This includes all optional “add-on” benefits. If you choose to buy a more basic version of the product in question, this would offer different benefits.

Is a low star rating a bad thing?

The ratings don’t consider value for money, so if you’re price conscious and only want to buy a barebones budget policy then you’re going to get less cover and fewer features; this kind of policy will have a lower star rating, and there’s nothing inherently bad with that. However, if you’re buying a premium product at a higher cost than others, but this product has a low rating then there’s clearly something wrong.

InsureandGo’s star rating

We’re proud to say we have 5 Star Ratings from Defaqto for some of our policies. These ratings establish us firmly as a provider of high-quality, reliable travel insurance services – a reputation we work hard to keep.

All our travel insurance policies have been carefully designed to offer maximum benefit to you, and are continually reviewed, to ensure we continue to offer the best products possible.

* Discount excludes any premium generated to cover medical conditions or optional extras & is automatically applied. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Discount tiers of 5% for premiums between £0-49, 10% for £50-249, & 20% for £250+ apply. Offer ends at 23:59 on 29/02/24. T&Cs apply

  • Unlimited emergency medical expenses available on Black level policies.
  • COVID cover rated Superior by a leading independent UK Consumer Champion.

Free Spirit

Medical Travel Insurance With No Age Limits

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5 Star rating by Defaqto for our 'Super Duper' level of cover

Defaqto Star Ratings

Our ‘super duper’ level of cover gives you 5 star rated protection..

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Free Spirit ‘Super Duper’ level of cover has been awarded a 5 Star Rating from Defaqto for both Single Trip and Annual Multi-trip travel insurance.

We are delighted with this rating as it recognises the wide-ranging cover we offer and, most importantly for our customers, the reassurance that they are buying one of the highest quality offerings in the market.

As we all know, buying the cheapest is not always best, and when it comes to travel insurance if you go for a cheap policy it could be an expensive mistake, especially if you find you are not covered when you come to make a claim.

For peace of mind travel, make sure that your holiday insurance covers you correctly and that it meets your needs.

Click here for a summary of Free Spirit’s levels of cover .

The short video below explains a little more about why a Defaqto 5 Star Rating is so important.

Who are Defaqto?

Defaqto is an independent financial information business who specialise in collecting, researching and sharing financial product information.

Since 1994 they have built a comprehensive, whole of market, financial product information database and become one of the leading providers of financial product information in the UK

Defaqto rate nearly 41,000 products in the General Insurance, Banking, Protection and Wealth sector, including over 2,700 home, motor and travel insurance policies and over 380 current accounts and credit card products.

Defaqto are trusted by more than 250 brands from 200 companies across the financial services industry who use their Ratings and they also appear on the largest price comparison websites.

What is a Defaqto Star Rating?

Star Ratings assess the quality and comprehensiveness of the features and benefits financial products such as insurance and protection policies, current accounts, credit cards and investment products offer.

To help consumers see at a glance where a product sits in the market, Star Ratings give each a rating of 1 to 5.

Defaqto independently rates products across more than 60 categories.

“At Defaqto we believe that consumers should base their financial decisions on more than just the price of financial products. People should think about what they need and then buy a product that meets their requirements. It can have serious consequences when, for example, you take out an insurance policy and find that you’re not covered when you’re in an emergency.”

“Star Ratings help consumers see, at a glance, where a product sits in the market based on the comprehensiveness of features and benefits offered. For each product or insurance policy we assess between 40 and 100 features or benefits as well as the terms and conditions.”

For Free Spirit, it means we can be confident that our travel insurance offers some of the most wide-ranging level of features and benefits on the market.

Find out more at  Defaqto Star Ratings .

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Travel Insurance with Pre – Existing Medical Conditions is becoming more difficult to get as one gets older. I found all the members of staff I spoke …
We were pleased with our Free Spirit travel insurance quote as we thought it would be more expensive with our medical conditions.
Having suffered a small skiing accident in the French Alps, resulting in a fracture to my fibula near the ankle that needed a plate and screws being f…
I wanted to thank Free Spirit for dealing with my travel insurance quote quickly and efficiently. It’s lovely to deal with someone who phones you ba…
As on our previous experience with Free Spirit we again have nothing but praise for your service. The medical questions asked initially were adequate …
I felt it was only fair to say thank you for a job well done on our behalf without much upset. I was gutted that we had to cancel our special cruise a…
I thought I would never get travel insurance with my schizophrenia. Then I looked on MINDs website and found a company that dealt with nothing else. I…
I was very pleased with the service, the lady was most helpful and very pleasant and I felt very at ease with all the questions. I have now passed on …
It was nice to find that my initial enquiries dealt with in a pleasant, efficient manner when I bought an annual travel policy. Though I was sad to ha…
The Claims Manager and staff of Free Spirit, thank you for the first class service I received from you for my insurance claim.
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MISLEADING INDEED

MISLEADING? IN NO WAY DOES IT SAY IT MEASURES THE CUSTOMER SERVICE PROVIDED BY THE BUSINESS. The defaqto star rating only measures the promised content of whoevers policy you are reading about. BUYER BEWARE!

Date of experience : 28 November 2023

Paid for ratings?

I didn't ask for the 'Defaqto' ratings when comparing car insurance or breakdown cover but they always seem to be there like some qualified endorsement of a provider. The 'sales@...' email address on their website might have been a clue. Their high rating of Rescumycar.com was far from my own experience - nothing more than decoration, as it turns out.

Date of experience : 27 October 2023

Do not trust Defaqto as a mark of quality for insurance companies

Please do not accept this companys ratings as assurance an insurance company is good, they are clearly not reliable. I am with Esure and Defaqto give them a 5 star rating even though on all other sites they have a low rating and hundreds of disgruntled customers. We have tried to sort out a non fault claim with Esure since March and we are regularly on the phone for two hours and then they just cut it off. If you look on their social media this happens with most people and there are countless problems which are clearly genuine complaints. There is no way this company is excellent and Defaqto has given it 5 stars

Date of experience : 20 August 2023

I have recently had dealings with two…

I have recently had dealings with two large companies who had high Defaqto ratings and I was totally amazed by their exceptionally poor service. So much so that I wouldn’t trust this rating system at all. Both companies have admitted that their service was not up to standard and offered us apologies and compensation. The companies were Flow Insurance and Purely Pets.

Date of experience : 21 June 2023

Don’t trust defacto, do your research

Admiral given defacto 5 star. Thought I could rely on this. Cracked windscreen not covered which is hardly class as excellent overall cover. Defacto won’t state what makes up different levels of cover meaning it’s a general assessment and you still need to check in detail.

Date of experience : 14 December 2022

What's the point of defaqto

What's the point of defaqto? The car insurance comparison tools give you their rating but then to expand on the reasons why that rating the defaqto website doesn't show any information about it! Useless

Date of experience : 28 August 2023

Do not base purchases on Defaqto alone

I choose insurance taking these ratings in to consideration as how good a product is but if the company behind the product is useless then you suffer. As with the post from Claire I bought Homeprotect( Avanti) house insurance who appointed Graham High group as loss adjusters. They screw every penny out of you and don't sort things properly. Avoid if possible

Date of experience : 22 June 2021

Defaqto, Mini & BMW are are a joke!

Defaqto rate Mapfre who provide Cosmetic Insurance cover for MINI and BMW as good but they are an absolute joke. They ignore all emails, they do not answer the phone and as you’ve paid upfront they are just hoping you give up with the claim. Complained to MINI and BMW who sold the insurance and they say it’s nothing to do with them - REALLY????

Date of experience : 13 October 2020

Defaqto meaningless rating. Currently my wife trying to resolve a…

Currently my wife trying to resolve a no fault claim. Our insurers LV 5 star defaqto rated, reality, they palm out all claims to a third party claim handler. This experience is one of the worst experiences in over 40 years of driving, still ongoing and not even my wife’s fault (she was T boned) Defaqto meaningless, LV not worth one star. Starting to understand why over 2 million drivers are uninsured, the premiums are a waste of money, I pay LV for a service and have an incompetent third party giving me the runaround. If you reply do not ask me to phone you, I am not going to sit listening to musak for 30 minutes waiting to be fobbed off!

Date of experience : 15 September 2022

Their rating’s are worthless!

Over the years I’ve trusted the experience and opinions of others, including slick looking reviewers like Defaqto. On more than one occasion I’ve had very poor experiences with companies rated highly by them. On one such occasion I contacted them to share my experience and was told that their criteria for judging things are not, I think, what a normal person values. So, be careful and don’t place much trust in their ratings!

Date of experience : 18 April 2023

Defaqto does not rate on company's ethics!

Defaqto rating system is very limited. They do not rate ... Regulatory - Ethical - Legal aspects when assessing a company. They do not research the company to ensure that it is adhering to FCA guidelines, or consider how the company treats its customers. They rate only on policy features! A company can also BUY a 5 star rating! When i pointed out the problem for consumers when choosing a company based on the features of a policy alone (Vitality health insurance) i was informed by Tom Whelan; "we are not planning to expand our product reviews." Defaqto needs to update and revise its archaic rating system...and stop selling 5 star ratings!

Date of experience : 21 July 2020

Beware - not a consumer rating

Beware, this isnt a consumer rating, most consumer dont get to contribute to the score. It's nothing like TrustPilot where consumers contribute to the rating. I have asked several time for a link to add my feedback but have never been given one.

Date of experience : 20 February 2023

Reply from Defaqto

Thank you for posting this review. Our Star Ratings provide an at-a-glance expert assessment of the quality and comprehensiveness of financial products and policies. We rate the product or policy, not the provider. We consider several factors, including product changes and market developments, examine any compliance or regulatory impact and hold open discussions with the industry. We then use our research to select the most important criteria to assess, score and give a financial product or proposition a Star Rating of 1 to 5, depending on the features it offers. As we rate the product and not the provider, we do not consider customer service or satisfaction in our scoring criteria.

This is the biggest con ever

This is the biggest con ever ! Do not take any notice of these ratings. I have been selecting insurance providers on these ratings and often paying more due to the higher rating. I selected Home Protect (avoid like the plaque/COVID) for buildings insurance on a second home. I experienced a burst pipe in October and it is now January and I am still nowhere near having it sorted. I don't even know the process/status and they keep getting things wrong (like not assessing the correct room). I called DEFAQTO as I wanted to feedback on this experience only to find out it is nothing to do with customer - they have criteria and look at what the companies offer/do nothing to do with how they actually execute it.

Date of experience : 05 January 2021

What is Defacto?

What is Defacto? What it is not is a rating on price or service. There are plenty of websites that say what it is not but no one is saying what it is. So question what to do measure? they measure "core" something. They update on 1st Feb every year. They do everything EXCEPT tell you what they actually measure . What an absolute con. This is just in industry marketing.

Date of experience : 25 April 2023

They don’t deserve even a 1 star rating…

Defaqto.com don’t deserve even a 1 star rating however it is required to make a review. The reason for this is that, Defaqto is backing GoGirl insurance company to support their scam tactics! They need to look into all these negative feedback from angry customers and understand their frustration with GoGirl insurance! GoGirl is a scam and a fraudulent company operating online only to lure people into buying insurance policies by using big companies as a back up to cover their scam side! Customers be warned don’t be fooled with the star rating from this particular company! Do your research and cover your backs prior to buying any insurance policy. Do not trust star ratings from this company at all!!

Date of experience : 13 June 2021

First Central insurance limited took…

First Central insurance limited took out money from my account without my consent and carried on a policy which was never renewed with them. I noticed their debits and got back in contact with them. They never refunded me my payments which have been taken out of my account and charged me £100 for cancellation fee for me to be able to cancel the policy despite the car insured by another insurer. First Central is one of the worse companies which I have to deal with. They are dishonest, very uncooperative and have a terrible portal which does not even let you log into the account. I will never recommend them to anyone. DISHONEST AND LEAST COOPERATIVE CAR INSURANCE COMPANY!!

Date of experience : 13 June 2022

Poor ratings system

I recently was looking for pet insurance through various comparison sites and found one company that had a 5 star Defaqto review which I thought was good, however when I got a quotation I found it to be more than double that of any other company. I contacted Defaqto and they said they did not base their rating on cost at all, only service. I would therefore not trust ratings from Defaqto as their ratings seem to be somewhat poor as they don't look at a very important feature cost!

Date of experience : 09 September 2019

cant access it ...not accurate in my…

cant access it ...not accurate in my experience ...only one star on trust pilot says it all

Date of experience : 08 September 2023

Ratings are worthless don't trust defaqto

Ratings are worthless, leads you to trust a brand which behave in an underhand manner to bleed you of your money.

Date of experience : 02 April 2023

is this simply a stitch up

you know you see Defaqto 5* and think "oh that should be good" well think again here is a little story. Aviva insured our vehicles 4/5 for last 12 years and proudly charged us healthy sums but then ofc we have Defaqto 5* rated cover. My wife had a no fault collision on the motorway and escaped within a whisker of death with a lot of luck, divine intervention and character. this was 10 days ago. We do not yet know if car is a write off [hit by 40 foot arctic and push along the carriageway] here is the rub NO ONE IS TALKING TO US FROM AVIVA and there is a massive conflict of interest because they insured the driver who is at fault. We have legal cover but only if we use their appointed solicitors who will be the same for the guilty party. My wife now has no car to continue doing her job as a key worker during this pandemic Aviva know this but do not do anything they have called once and that was to ask me to get my wife out of bed to speak to them about giving me authority to discuss the claim [yes i am on the policy as a named driver] DEFAQTO YOU NEED TO REDUCE THE AVIVA STARS AND GET REAL THIS CAR INSURANCE BUSINESS IS BECOMING LEGALISED THEFT

Date of experience : 04 November 2020

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Why a 'five-star' travel insurance rating is worthless

N atWest's travel insurance was one of the main reasons that I, like so many other of the bank's customers, have an Advantage Private account. For an annual fee of £240 it says it is "packed with exclusive features", chief among them its five-star Defaqto-rated annual worldwide travel insurance, which the bank claims is worth £160 alone.

Last year, I put it to the test. I took my family to Canada on holiday – only to be stranded by the collapse of Zoom Airlines. But instead of the insurance kicking in and returning us home, NatWest refused to pay out. To my surprise – and cost – it said the insurance did not cover the failure of a scheduled airline.

Furious, I took my case to the Financial Ombudsman. Surely, I argued, "five-star" had to mean that it was a fully comprehensive policy that would cover me in most eventualities – such as, in my case, a scheduled airline going bust. After all, NatWest proudly displays its five-star rating prominently over its literature for the Advantage Private account.

A year later, I have finally had my complaint judged by the ombudsman. He has found in favour of NatWest, and I won't be getting any compensation. But the reason why I've been rejected makes for interesting reading. The ombudsman, it appears, thinks that the five-star ratings that financial companies use to promote their products are entirely meaningless.

"I do not consider that there is any common agreement as to what the phrase means. In my judgment the term "five-star" has no specific meaning and amounts to nothing more than "puff"," wrote ombudsman Reidy Flynn in her judgment.

I contacted the ombudsman's office to discuss the lack of logic, but it declined to comment. Its basic judgment is that the Natwest Advantage Private bundled account with its five-star travel insurance was not obliged, in any way, to cover for the failure of an airline, or any other transportation company. I should have read the small print, no matter how small.

My complaint had made the following points: that it was unreasonable that a five-star policy did not cover airline failure – any normal person would expect to have such a thing covered if they were travelling abroad; that it was unreasonable that such an exclusion would not be on the list of "significant exclusions" at the front of the policy; and that it was unreasonable that it should be buried in the small print.

I had tried to find out, prior to travelling, whether this point was covered but could not get through to NatWest on the phone, or find the relevant documents on its website. I could not find the documents at home, either, although NatWest insists they were sent. So I relied on the "five-star" rating, thinking it sounded good.

I have since learned that across the insurance industry not many policies cover airline failure. But the Post Office does, and that's not an obscure little company. It would have cost £1-1.50 per person for NatWest to cover their policy holders for a year against airline failure. Was it reasonable to expect them to have done so for its premium account customers? You might think so, but NatWest did not, nor did the ombudsman.

Defaqto was bemused by the ombudsman's comments. "I am surprised it has couched it in those terms," said its head of research, Brian Brown. "Our ratings are independent but do not purport to offer any kind of legal guarantee of what a product may contain. People should check the details."

He denied that banks and insurers pay a fee to Defaqto to use their ratings, implying the company was biased towards issuing "five-star" ratings. He added that the company only issued five-star ratings on 10-12% of products and no comnpany pays to appear in its analysis. The bulk of its revenue comes from a business-to-business database it compiles and sells to banks and insurers.

Perhaps, though, if the ombudsman service thinks five-star ratings are meaningless and "puff", it, or another authority, should move to ban them? That's the only conclusion a reasonable person could reach.

  • Travel insurance
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Defaqto Rating Explained

author image-sarah

You might've heard or seen the word Defaqto mentioned or noticed their ‘ratings’ on certain financial products, but do you know what Defaqto actually is or what a Defaqto rating means?

We explain in our guide here.

What does Defaqto mean?

Defaqto meaning: Defaqto is an independent financial product analysis service that thoroughly researches financial products and services before giving them an unbiased star rating, between 1 and 5 stars.

Predominantly, Defaqto is a business-to-business service and companies in the financial sector like banks and insurers can buy a licence to use Defaqto’s star ratings when advertising their financial products.

Because Defaqto has such a credible reputation for independently assessing and reviewing products, using Defaqto’s ratings to sell a financial product is a great way for companies like insurance providers to reassure consumers of their product’s worth and value.

What do Defaqto stars mean?

Defaqto stars are a rating for financial products and services and the number of stars reflect how good or bad a product or service is.

The lowest rating of 1 star indicates a product is very basic with very few benefits or features and is altogether a bit naff.

The highest rate of 5 stars means that a product or service is one of the best on the market.

Big businesses in the financial sector like insurance companies and banks pay to use Defaqto’s star ratings to advertise their products like insurance policies, current accounts and credit cards.

What does Defaqto rate?

Defaqto rates over 14,000 financial products including:

  • 10,000 policies for home , vehicle and travel insurance
  • 1,500 other types of insurance
  • 1,000 credit cards and current accounts
  • 1,000 policies for life and protection insurance
  • 600+ wealth and pension products

Defaqto ratings are only supposed to apply to an individual financial product and not to a company as a whole.

How does the Defaqto website work?

At the top of Defaqto’s homepage, there are linked tabs for financial industry businesses and professionals who use Defaqto’s business-related services, namely:

Financial Advisers

Banks & insurers, fund managers, insurance brokers, comparison websites.

For consumers, there are separate tabs in the header of the homepage providing links to the rating pages for the most common types of financial products (click on a link to visit the appropriate star ratings page):

  • Defaqto car insurance star ratings
  • Defaqto home insurance star ratings
  • Defaqto travel insurance star ratings
  • Defaqto credit card star ratings
  • Defaqto current accounts star ratings

All other types of Defaqto insurance and financial product ratings (including Defaqto pet insurance) are found under the “All star ratings” box.

On each industry’s star ratings page, Defaqto lists all of the star-rated financial products they have analysed and lists the highest 5 star rated products first, then subsequently in alphabetical order. You can also use a search box to search for a particular provider’s product(s).

Is Defaqto reliable?

Defaqto’s tagline is “facts, not opinion” as unlike price comparison sites, Defaqto’s star ratings are based on the “quality and comprehensiveness of features and benefits of financial products,” not the cost.

Defaqto is not paid to give biased views on financial products but is paid by businesses to use their star ratings when advertising.

Defaqto claim their experts independently analyse and research financial products and state their ratings are not based on a product’s price or personal opinion (unlike personal consumer reviews); they only relate to the quality of a product.

However, back in 2009, the Guardian reported on a case where a Defaqto 5-star rated NatWest travel insurance product did not pay out . The claimant reported the failure of the insurance product to the Financial Ombudsman and a Judge ruled in NatWest’s favour. The judge dismissed the claimant’s argument that he was misled by the insurer’s 5-star Defaqto rating saying that “the term ‘five-star’ has no specific meaning and amounts to nothing more than puff.”

We conclude, therefore, that despite a financial product having a Defaqto 5-star rating, you should not solely rely on this rating when assessing which product to purchase. You should still take into account customer reviews and ratings and shop around on comparison sites for the best deals.

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We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

Chubb Travel Insurance Review: Is It Worth the Cost?

Anya Kartashova

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

What does Chubb travel insurance cover?

Chubb travel insurance plans, chubb multi-trip/annual travel insurance, which chubb travel insurance plan is for me, how to get a quote from chubb, what isn’t covered by chubb travel insurance, is chubb travel insurance worth it.

Chubb is a property and casualty insurance company that operates in 54 countries and territories. Its executive offices are in France, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Besides property and casualty insurance, the company also offers personal coverage and supplemental health insurance, life insurance and travel insurance. Chubb travel insurance is underwritten by ACE Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Depending on what type of coverage you’re looking for, Chubb offers several different travel insurance options. It offers annual policies as well as single-trip plans for trips to domestic and international destinations.

Coverage ranges across:

Accidental death insurance .

Emergency evacuation insurance .

Lost luggage insurance .

Travel medical insurance .

Trip cancellation insurance .

Trip interruption insurance .

» Learn more: The best travel insurance companies

Three single-trip travel insurance plan options are available: Travel Basics Plus, Travel Essentials Plus and Travel Choice Plus.

These are comprehensive travel insurance plans that include medical coverage as well as trip protections, such as trip delay, baggage delay and baggage loss.

Here's how coverage varies across the plans.

All three plans offer an optional car rental collision coverage add-on that covers up to $35,000 (with a $250 deductible). This add-on includes damage caused by collision, vandalism or weather and does not include theft.

» Learn more: When to buy travel insurance

Chubb single-trip plan cost

Below is how much a 35-year-old traveler from Utah would pay for travel insurance for a 10-day trip to Argentina valued at $2,500.

defaqto travel insurance ratings

The least expensive of the options, the Travel Basics Plus plan will set you back $124.62. The Travel Essentials Plus policy comes in at $150.73 and provides more coverage. The most expensive plan, Travel Choice Plus, costs $215.13 and includes the most coverage with higher limits.

All plans include a $7 policy fee.

» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now

Chubb also offers multi-trip or annual travel insurance plans to those who take multiple trips per year. Three policies are available: Travel Basics 365, Travel Essentials 365 and Travel Choice 365.

Below are the coverage limits for annual travel insurance plans offered by Chubb.

Chubb annual plan cost

Below is how much a 35-year-old traveler from Utah would pay for an annual travel insurance policy from Chubb.

defaqto travel insurance ratings

The most affordable option of the three, the Travel Basics 365 plan, will set you back $141. The Travel Essentials 365 policy will set you back $233, and the Travel Choice 365 policy costs $449.

If you’re seeking coverage for one trip: Look into the single-trip travel insurance plans, such as Travel Basics Plus, Travel Essentials Plus and Travel Choice Plus.

If you’re traveling extensively: For travelers who take multiple trips per year or who are constantly on the road, an annual plan, such as Travel Basics 365, Travel Essentials 365 and Travel Choice 365, will provide a more economical solution.

If you hold a travel rewards credit card: Take a look at your card’s benefits guide and determine what kind of trip protections, if any, are offered by your credit card. Pick a travel insurance plan with perks that don’t overlap with what is already covered.

» Learn more: 10 credit cards with travel insurance

To get a quote from Chubb for an individual or family travel policy, start on it's website . Decide whether you need a single-trip plan or an annual plan, and click on “Get a quote.”

Select between a domestic or an international policy and confirm that you’re a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old by checking the respective box. Enter your travel destination, state of residence, travel dates, the initial trip deposit date and the number of travelers.

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Then provide a couple of more details, such as the primary traveler’s age and the cost of the trip.

defaqto travel insurance ratings

The quotes for each plan will be displayed on the next page.

For an annual policy, select your state of residence from the dropdown menu, pick a coverage start date, enter the traveler’s age and click “Get quote.”

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Like most insurance providers, Chubb publishes a list of exclusions to its coverage. Below are some of the situations not covered by Chubb travel insurance:

Intentional self-inflicted injuries or suicide.

Normal pregnancy or elective abortion.

Participation in professional athletic events.

Mountaineering.

War, acts of war or participating in a civil disorder, riot or resurrection.

Operating or learning to operate an aircraft.

Being under the influence of drugs or narcotics.

Traveling for the purpose of securing medical treatment.

Traveling against a physician’s recommendation.

» Learn more: Can you get a refund on travel insurance?

If you look online, Chubb travel insurance reviews are mixed, but they also include car, home and business insurance, not the company’s travel insurance branch specifically.

In any case, before you purchase a plan, we recommend not only comparing prices but also reading policy terms to make sure you understand what's covered so your claim will be accepted should you need to file one.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

1x-5x Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

1x-2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

30,000 Limited-time offer: Earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

defaqto travel insurance ratings

  • Great value cover for medical conditions
  • Flexible policy options to suit your plans
  • Easy medical screening - online or by phone
  • Get your policy in as little as 5 minutes
  • Friendly UK customer service
  • Over 30 years of industry experience

It's official: Our Superior policy is among the highest quality offerings on the market

Why should you pay for travel insurance that only half protects you? With Travel Insurance 4 Medical you don't have to. Our Superior policy has received the maximum 5 Star Rating from Defaqto. That means it ranks among the most comprehensive travel insurance policies on the market. So you get peace of mind to see the world in confidence. It's good to know you are properly covered, isn't it?

What is a Defaqto rating? (And why does it matter?)

When you are paying for an insurance policy, you have a right to expect a clear explanation of what you are covered for. Unfortunately comparing different policies can sometimes be difficult. That's where Defaqto comes in. You see, Defaqto rate insurance products from 1 to 5 based on the quality and comprehensiveness of cover. And we are delighted to say that our Superior policy has received the maximum 5 Star Rating.

Why does that matter? Defaqto is a totally independent financial information business. Each year their 60 analysts gather in-depth information on over 43,000 UK financial products. In the case of insurance, Defaqto carefully scrutinises the level of protection that different policies provide. And because their research is based on facts rather than opinions, it's easy for consumers like you to compare the market and have confidence that the policy you choose is right for your plans.

You can find out more at www.defaqto.com .

Our cover goes further, so you can too

From the sensational sights of Sugar Loaf Mountain to the mouth-watering spice markets of Marrakesh, there's an awful lot to explore out there. Our single trip cover makes it easy to take off at a moment's notice. Or for just a little extra you can enjoy annual cover that gives you the freedom to travel anytime for a whole year on one policy. Perfect if you think you may be taking more than one holiday over the next twelve months. Either way, it's official: you can travel in confidence with Travel Insurance 4 Medical. Ready to see the world?

U.S. News takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

Travel Insurance for Europe: 4 Best Options for 2024

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Allianz Travel Insurance »

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Travelex Insurance Services »

defaqto travel insurance ratings

Generali Global Assistance »

defaqto travel insurance ratings

WorldTrips »

Why Trust Us

U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Best Travel Insurance for Europe.

Table of Contents

  • Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Travelex Insurance Services

You almost certainly will want travel insurance for Europe, mostly because the high cost for international trips is worth protecting against travel delays and trip cancellations. Since your U.S. medical coverage will not apply overseas, you also need international health insurance that covers surprise medical expenses and medical evacuation.

If you're searching for the best Europe travel insurance that money can buy, consider the following plans and all they have to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most people need travel health insurance at a bare minimum when traveling to European destinations like France, Italy or Switzerland, as well as additional countries inside and outside of the Schengen area. After all, U.S. health insurance plans do not provide coverage for medical emergencies overseas, and the same is true for government health plans like Medicare. Check out our article on whether your health insurance covers international travel .

Other benefits built into Europe travel insurance plans can also protect the money that's been spent on airfare, hotel stays, Europe cruises and tours. For example, travelers can benefit from having coverage for trip cancellation, trip delays, lost or delayed baggage, and more.

Every travel insurance policy is unique, so you'll want to read over individual travel insurance plans to see what they protect against. That said, the bulk of travel insurance plans for trips to Europe provide the following coverages:

  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption
  • Travel delays
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay coverage
  • Medical expenses
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Rental car damage

Some travel insurance plans also offer additional or optional coverage for sports equipment or sports equipment delays, missed connections, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), adventure sports and more.

Some visitors to countries in the Schengen area are required to have a visa for short stays that can last for up to 90 days within a timeline of up to 180 days. However, this is not the case for American citizens, who can stay in Europe for up to 90 days at a time without meeting specific visa requirements.

The U.S. Department of State also notes that American citizens who want to stay in Europe for more than 90 days should reach out to the country they plan on visiting to inquire about their visa process.

If you live in a country that requires a Schengen visa, you are required to purchase Schengen visa insurance that pays for overseas medical expenses. This coverage must provide at least 30,000 euros in protection against medical expenses that result from hospitalization, emergency treatment and repatriation of remains in the case of accident or death.

  • Allianz Travel Insurance: Best Overall
  • Travelex Insurance Services: Best Cost
  • Generali Global Assistance: Best for Medical Emergencies
  • WorldTrips: Best for Groups

Optional cancel for any reason (CFAR) and preexisting medical conditions coverage available

Kids 17 and younger covered for free

Lower coverage amount for medical expenses than some providers

  • $100,000 per traveler in coverage for trip cancellation
  • $150,000 per traveler in coverage for trip interruptions
  • $500 in coverage for eligible trip changes
  • $50,000 in emergency medical coverage
  • $500,000 for emergency medical transportation
  • $1,000 toward baggage loss or damage
  • $300 in coverage for baggage delays of 12 hours or more
  • $800 in protection for travel delays (daily limit of $200 applies)
  • $100 per insured person per day in SmartBenefits coverage for eligible delays
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Concierge services

Optional CFAR and preexisting medical conditions coverages available

Kids 17 and younger are covered for free

Many coverages cost extra

  • 100% of trip cost for trip cancellation (up to $50,000)
  • 150% of trip cost for trip interruption (up to $75,000)
  • $2,000 in coverage for trip delays of five hours or longer
  • $750 in coverage for missed connections
  • $50,000 in coverage for emergency medical expenses ($500 dental sublimit included)
  • $500,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation
  • $1,000 in coverage for baggage and personal effects
  • $200 for baggage delays of 12 hours or longer
  • $200 for sporting equipment delays of 24 hours or longer
  • $25,000 for accidental death and dismemberment coverage
  • 24/7 travel assistance
  • 100% of the insured trip cost for financial default of a travel provider (maximum of $50,000)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage for preexisting medical conditions (maximum of $50,000)
  • Cancel for work reasons coverage
  • CFAR insurance
  • Car rental coverage worth up to $35,000
  • $50,000 in additional emergency medical coverage
  • $500,000 in additional coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation
  • Adventure sports exclusions waiver
  • $200,000 in coverage for flight accidental death and dismemberment

CFAR and preexisting medical conditions coverages available

High coverage limits for medical expenses and evacuation

CFAR coverage only reimburses at 60%

  • $1,000,000 coverage limit for emergency medical evacuation and transportation
  • $250,000 coverage limit for medical expenses ($500 limit for dental emergencies)
  • 100% of trip cost for trip cancellation
  • 175% of trip cost for trip interruption
  • $1,000 per person for travel delays ($300 per person daily limit applies)
  • $2,000 per person in coverage for baggage and $500 for baggage delays
  • $2,000 per person in coverage for sporting equipment and $500 for sporting equipment delays
  • $1,000 per person in coverage for missed connections
  • Air flight accident AD&D coverage worth $100,000 per person and $200,000 per plan
  • Travel accident AD&D coverage worth $50,000 per person and $100,000 per plan
  • $25,000 in coverage for rental cars
  • 24-hour travel support

Discounts for groups of five or more

Potential for high coverage limits for medical expenses

No coverage for trip cancellation

Available coverage limits vary by age

  • $5,000 for local burial or cremation
  • Up to $25,000 in AD&D coverage
  • $100,000 in coverage for emergency reunions
  • $10,000 in coverage for trip interruption
  • $1,000 for lost checked luggage
  • $100 in coverage for lost or stolen passports or visas
  • $100 in coverage per day for travel delays of at least 12 hours (two days of coverage maximum)
  • Up to $25,000 in personal liability coverage

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is a travel writer who has created content about travel insurance, family travel, cruises, all-inclusive resorts and more for over a decade. She has visited more than 50 countries around the world and has an annual travel insurance plan of her own. Johnson also has experience navigating the claims process for travel insurance plans and has successfully filed several travel insurance claims for trip delays and trip cancellations over the years. Johnson works with her husband, Greg, who is licensed to sell travel insurance and owns the travel agency Travel Blue Book .

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defaqto travel insurance ratings

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Personal Finance

Best cruise travel insurance.

Best Cruise Travel Insuranc

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Take a mental snapshot of an American on vacation, and you may imagine them on a cruise. The cruise industry is, in fact, booming. Companies such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival are posting record earnings. Travelers are enjoying more destinations, greater amenities, and more choices than ever before.

If your upcoming travel plans include a cruise, you owe it to yourself to consider travel insurance. These are costly trips, and they’re often complex, with multiple legs of travel and international destinations. Insurance can provide peace of mind that, should your travel experience include some hiccups, your wallet won’t take too much of a hit.

Comparison of the best cruise travel insurance companies

Our recommendations, best for spontaneous travelers: aig travel guard.

AIG

AIG Travel Guard

Why we like it : AIG offers multiple travel insurance options suitable for cruises. Its Essential plan provides a competitive 100% reimbursement of travel costs for trip cancellation or interruption, along with $15,000 of medical expense coverage. And if you decide at the last minute to book a cruise, AIG Travel Guard might be the policy for you. Its “Pack N’ Go” plan helps you save by eliminating trip cancellation coverage. You do enjoy the security of 100% reimbursement for trip interruption, $15,000 of medical coverage, and up to $500 for missed connections.

  • The Pack N’ Go plan is ideal for those making last-minute cruise plans.
  • Policies are underwritten by AIG, a multinational insurer with an AM Best A rating .
  • $15,000 medical expense coverage with the Essential plan is lower than some competitors.

Best for annual plans: Allianz Travel

Allianz

Allianz Travel Insurance

Why we like it : If you’re planning multiple trips (including one or more cruises) in the coming year, you might want to look into an annual travel insurance plan. Allianz Travel could be a good choice for that. The company offers a wide range of travel insurance options, including three levels of an annual plan. Its Basic annual plan includes $20,000 of emergency medical, $100,000 of medical transport, and $600 of travel delay coverage.

  • Multiple annual plan options, in addition to single-trip travel insurance plans.
  • 24-hour hotline and concierge service included with plans.
  • Annual Basic plan does not include trip cancellation coverage.
  • Does not cover trips longer than 45 days.

Best for pre-existing medical conditions: Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Insurance

Why we like it : Berkshire Hathaway offers generous coverage levels for trip cancellation and medical expenses. It’s also the only insurer in our review to automatically waive the pre-existing medical condition exclusion. So, provided you meet certain criteria in the contract, you can embark on a cruise with a medical condition such as a chronic disease. Other insurers may offer this waiver, but only as an option.

  • Offers cruise-specific travel insurance plans.
  • Only insurer in our review to cover those with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Value plan (its most basic plan) offers only $15,000 of medical expense coverage.

Best for concierge services: Generali

Generali Global Assistance

Generali Travel Insurance

Why we like it : Generali has three travel insurance plans. Its standard plan provides a generous $50,000 of medical expense coverage on top of 100% reimbursement for trip cancellation and 125% reimbursement for trip interruption. What sets the company apart, however, is its concierge service. Customers can contact Generali for assistance with their travel plans, including sightseeing, air travel, and hotel reservations.

  • Extensive list of concierge services included with all insurance plans.
  • Generous $50,000 medical coverage, plus telemedical services included with all plans.
  • Does not offer cruise-specific coverage packages.
  • Most expensive company in our review.

Best for cruise-specific plans: Nationwide

Nationwide

Nationwide Travel Insurance

Why we like it : Choosing a cruise-specific insurance plan means you get a set of coverages that you know provide the protection you need while on your vacation. Nationwide offers not just one, but multiple levels of cruise travel plans. Its Universal level (which is the entry-level plan) provides 100% reimbursement for trip cancellation, $75,000 medical expense coverage, $500 for missed connections, and $1,500 for lost or stolen luggage.

  • Multiple cruise-specific plans.
  • Covers up to $75,000 for medical expenses.
  • Cancel-for-any-reason coverage only available with the highest-level Luxury plan.

Best for medical expense coverage: Seven Corners

Seven Corners

Seven Corners

Why we like it : Having adequate medical coverage is crucial when you’re on a cruise. While your personal health insurance may cover you for many domestic travel situations, it may exclude incidents that happen on board a ship or at an international port of call. Those looking to maximize their medical coverage should check Seven Corners . Its Basic plan includes up to $100,000 worth of medical expense coverage, along with up to $250,000 for medical evacuation.

  • Highest medical coverage limits of any of the companies we reviewed.
  • Covers up to $250 per day for a missed cruise connection.
  • Basic coverage plan does not include pre-existing medical conditions.

Best for basic plans: Travelex

Travelex

Travelex Travel Insurance

Why we like it : Travelex does not have cruise-specific insurance plans in its line up. But it does offer multiple packages plus options allowing you to customize coverage. And it might be a good choice for someone looking for an affordable travel insurance plan for a cruise. The company has been in business for more than 25 years, and in 2016 became a subsidiary of the Zurich Insurance Group, one of the world’s largest multinational insurers.

  • Basic plan includes reimbursement of up to 100% of costs for trip cancellation and interruption.
  • Upgrades include cancel for any reason, sports equipment, and other coverages.
  • Does not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

Methodology

We reviewed travel insurance plans from several leading providers. While most of these providers offer multiple plans, our study focused on each company’s most economical offering . We noted coverage levels, and options that would make each company appealing for a traveler preparing for a cruise. Our policy cost information is based on actual quotes for a family of four (two adults, two children) on a seven-day trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, at a total trip cost of $10,000.

How to choose a travel insurance company for a cruise

The good news is that when it comes to travel insurance , you have many choices. The bad news is that, well, you have many choices—and it can be difficult to sort through all of them. So, when looking for coverage for an upcoming trip, start by considering the following:

You may already have some coverage

If you use a credit card to pay for your trip, check to see if it includes some travel insurance. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards , for example, provide trip cancellation, trip interruption, and other coverages.

Some companies offer cruise-specific coverage

While a cruise-specific plan is not really necessary, it may make getting the coverage you need much easier. Berkshire Hathaway’s cruise insurance plan includes specific coverages such as cruise disablement and diversion that anticipate some of the potential problems that are unique to a vacation at sea.

Your medical insurance may exclude cruise travel

Your private medical insurance plan may be very limited when it comes to being on a cruise. It’s rare, for instance, for medical insurance to include incidents that happen outside of the United States. You’ll want to understand what your plan does and doesn’t cover, and consider this when choosing your travel insurance medical coverage.

Look for optional coverages that fit your needs

Our review has focused on companies’ most economical travel insurance plans. But be aware that many companies offer optional coverages that allow you to customize your cruise travel insurance policy to your specific needs. These options may include adventure sports coverage, rental car coverage, or cancel-for-any-reason coverage.

Shop around

As our review shows, the cost of a policy varies among insurance companies. Be sure to shop around to get the best combination of coverage and price. All of the cruise travel insurance companies in our review offer fast online quotes.

You can also use services such as Travelinsurance.com or Squaremouth . They make comparison shopping easy by allowing you to get quotes from multiple travel insurance companies.

Which factors determine the cost of travel insurance for a cruise?

Several factors affect the amount you pay for travel insurance for a cruise. These include the following:

  • Traveler age: According to insurer Berkshire Hathaway , older travelers are more likely to cancel their trip and file a claim.
  • Number of travelers: While a single policy can cover multiple travelers, those additional travelers will drive the cost of the policy.
  • Trip cost: Expensive cruises cost more to insure than cheaper cruises.
  • Trip length: A longer cruise costs more to insure than a shorter cruise.
  • Plan and coverage options: A basic plan with minimal coverage levels and no optional coverages will cost less than a “deluxe” plan with higher amounts of coverage and options such as “cancel for any reason.”

TIME Stamp: Protect your cruise investment with travel insurance

A cruise can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It can also be a costly and complex trip that can set you back financially if something goes wrong. You can protect your vacation investment with cruise travel insurance. Many companies offer travel insurance that is reasonably priced and that provides peace of mind so you can enjoy your vacation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What insurance is best for a cruise.

The best travel insurance for a cruise will depend on your needs and budget. Our review covers travel insurance from several providers. Each offers multiple plans and coverage options at different price points, with some offering cruise-specific insurance plans.

Do I need extra travel insurance for a cruise?

Cruises are often complex trips requiring a significant financial outlay. A snag in your travel plans could result in losing any nonrefundable payments. Your credit card might provide some travel insurance. But if that’s not enough to cover those nonrefundable payments, you should consider buying extra travel insurance.

When should I buy trip insurance for a cruise?

There are advantages to buying travel insurance long before you leave on a cruise, and advantages to buying it shortly before you leave. Buying well before means you have time to investigate plans thoroughly. Buying shortly before you leave means you may know more details about your trip, such as the weather.

Does travel insurance cover cancellation of a cruise?

If a cruise line cancels a cruise, it typically offers passengers a refund, according to USA Today . It may also reimburse for any related travel expenses, such as airfare.

Travel insurance primarily covers situations in which you decide to cancel—for example, if you get sick prior to departure or have a death in the family. It provides reimbursement for expenses that are not refundable. Some plans do, however, offer limited coverage for delays or cancellations that are the fault of the cruise operator.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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Allianz Travel Insurance review: Is it a good option for your next trip?

With plenty of options to choose from, allianz likely has the right coverage for your trip..

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Travel insurance can offer peace of mind — and financial protection — when you travel. Whether you want minimal coverage for emergencies or are looking for a more comprehensive plan, Allianz Travel Insurance probably has an option that will work for your situation.

CNBC Select breaks down the types of coverage Allianz includes in its policies, the features it offers and other providers you should consider.

Allianz Travel Insurance review

Other insurance offered, how it compares, bottom line, allianz travel insurance.

The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

Policy highlights

10 travel insurance plans make it possible to customize your coverage. For families, Allianz's OneTrip Prime package covers children age 17 and younger when traveling with a parent or grandparent.

24/7 assistance available

  • Trip cancellation benefits can reimburse your prepaid, nonrefundable trip payments if you have to cancel your trip for one of the covered reasons stated in your plan documents. 
  • Limited coverage for risky sports

Allianz Travel Insurance is a global insurance provider. It partners with airlines, travel agencies, resorts, credit card issuers and other companies to offer worldwide travel coverage. The insurer currently offers 10 trip coverage plans, giving travelers plenty of options that range from single-trip plans to plans that cover all your travel for a year.

For example, OneTrip Prime provides trip cancellation/interruption, emergency transportation, baggage loss or delay and other key benefits for a single trip up to 180 days. AllTrips Executive, on the other hand, is a multi-trip plan designed for business travel with higher trip cancellation and interruption limits and coverage for business equipment. You can also opt for OneTrip Rental Car Protector if you need primary car rental coverage against collision, loss and damage.

These plans let you easily tailor your insurance to your situation. Here are the types of coverage that Allianz Travel can include in your plan:

  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption
  • Emergency medical (this covers medical and dental emergencies that happen during your trip)
  • Emergency medical transportation
  • Baggage loss/damage
  • Baggage delay
  • Travel delay
  • Travel accident
  • SmartBenefits℠ (this includes automatic and no-receipts payments for trip delays and no-receipts claims for baggage delays)
  • Change fees (this coverage can reimburse you for the fees the airline charges when you have to change the dates of your flight)
  • Loyalty program redeposit fee coverage (with this coverage, you can get reimbursement for frequent flyer mile redeposit fees if your trip is canceled or interrupted)
  • 24/7 hotline assistance
  • Concierge services
  • Rental car collision damage waiver
  • Existing medical condition (this benefit waives the pre-existing medical condition coverage exclusion)

The types and limits of coverage benefits you can get vary by plan.

Many travel cards provide travel insurance benefits . To avoid duplicate coverage, go through your card's terms and conditions and see what your issuer already offers.

One of the features that helped Allianz Travel land a spot on our list of the best travel insurance is the Cancel Anytime benefit. Included with OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier plans, Cancel Anytime can reimburse 80% of your unused, pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs if you have to cancel your trip for just about any unexpected reason.

Additionally, the insurer offers 24/7 global assistance to refer you to a prescreened hospital during your trip.

Policyholders can also use the TravelSmart TM  app and check for flight status updates, the latest travel advisories and restrictions for their destination, local emergency services and hospitals and more. The app allows travelers to pull up their protection plan whenever they need and file a claim online.

As of writing, Allianz Travel doesn't advertise any discounts. That said, discounts aren't as common with this type of coverage, especially compared to home and auto insurance .

Allianz is a large global company offering a wide range of financial products and services. In the U.S., that includes travel insurance, life insurance and business insurance.

Allianz Travel can be a solid choice if you're looking to purchase travel insurance. However, it's always a wise idea to compare multiple options to ensure you're getting a good deal.

For instance, AXA Assistance USA travel insurance is also a good provider. You can pick from three plans with the most affordable one starting at just $16, according to the company's website. The most comprehensive option is the Platinum plan which comes with the option to cancel for any reason.

AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance

AXA Assistance USA offers several travel insurance policies that include travel interruption, trip cancellation, and the option of cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage.

Travel Guard® Travel Insurance also offers a selection of plans, ranging from last-minute options to an annual travel plan. Or you can request a specialty plan, but you'll need to speak to a representative to do so.

Travel Guard® Travel Insurance

Travel Guard offers a variety of plans to suit travel ranging from road trips to long cruises. For air travelers, Travel Guard can help assist with tracking baggage or covering lost or delayed baggage.

Money matters — so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox.  Sign up here .

With 10 available plans to choose from, Allianz Travel makes it easy to get the right travel insurance coverage for your upcoming trip. Multi-trip plans are also available for those who frequently travel, including for business. Still, we recommend gathering several quotes and comparing plans before you purchase travel insurance. Just like with any financial product, it pays to shop around for this type of coverage.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every travel insurance review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of travel insurance products . While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

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COMMENTS

  1. Star Ratings

    Star Ratings | Defaqto Travel Our independent ratings are the quick way to understand the quality of your insurance policy. Our experts choose between 30 and 100 features and benefits, against which every policy/product in the market is scored. Then apply a simple rating of 1 to 5, so you can see, at a glance, how they stack up.

  2. Star Ratings

    Defaqto Star Ratings Be guided by the stars. Expert, unbiased ratings, not opinions. Find a Star Rating Home Star Ratings What are Star Ratings? With more than 25,000 financial products to choose from, making the right decision is harder than ever.

  3. Defaqto Rating Explained

    What is a Defaqto rating and how can it help you choose travel insurance? If you've come across a Defaqto rating when comparing insurance products and wondered what it meant, we're here to help. This guide will answer what does Defaqto mean, how the ratings work and how they can influence your insurance policy decisions. Written by Rebecca Goodman

  4. What is Defaqto rating for travel insurance?

    - Confused.com Home Travel insurance Travel insurance guides What is Defaqto rating for travel insurance? Written By Alice Campion Senior Writer 7 min read | Updated on 13/06/2023 Our expert panel reviews all content. Learn more about our editorial standards and how we operate .

  5. Can you trust Defaqto star ratings? What 5-stars actually means

    Defaqto's ratings are about the product, not the provider and - perhaps surprisingly - not about the level of customer service. "If you've never made an insurance claim, you wouldn't know what the service was like", explains Brown "it'd be great if I could get service metric data, but we don't have it."

  6. Defaqto Ratings For Travel Insurance

    Defaqto Star Ratings, which range from 1 Star to 5 Stars, provide an expert assessment of a product's quality. These ratings apply to the product itself, such as the actual travel insurance policies, rather than the provider, the policy's price, or the level of customer service provided. Understanding the Star Ratings:

  7. Defaqto Ratings Explained

    A Defaqto rating is a trusted industry benchmark for the quality of a policy based on a star rating system. Without getting too technical, Defaqto analysts take an unbiased approach to gathering the data around each particular financial product and assign a star rating based on their findings.

  8. How Defaqto Star ratings can help you choose travel insurance?

    We're really pleased that Defaqto has given a 5 Star Rating to some of our travel insurance policies. But why is that important? And what even is Defaqto? While you can compare prices for travel insurance on a number of websites, very few of them compare quality - which is an important consideration when deciding which product to buy.

  9. Defaqto Star Ratings for Our Travel Insurance Policies

    Defaqto star ratings for our travel insurance We're chuffed to say that Defaqto have given a 5 Star Rating to some of our travel insurance policies. But why is that even important? And what is Defaqto? Well, there are many travel insurance products and providers in the market.

  10. Defaqto Star Ratings

    Defaqto Star Ratings Our 'Super Duper' level of cover gives you 5 Star rated protection. Free Spirit 'Super Duper' level of cover has been awarded a 5 Star Rating from Defaqto for both Single Trip and Annual Multi-trip travel insurance.. We are delighted with this rating as it recognises the wide-ranging cover we offer and, most importantly for our customers, the reassurance that they ...

  11. Defaqto Reviews

    The defaqto star rating only measures the promised content of whoevers policy you are reading about. BUYER BEWARE! Date of experience: 28 November 2023 Useful Share Zahid Anwar 27 reviews GB 5 Dec 2023

  12. General Insurance

    A Defaqto Star Rating reflects the level of features and benefits offered within a financial product, helping you make a more informed decision about which product suits your needs. ... Travel insurance. 5 Star rated Premier policy, given by Defaqto for being one of the most comprehensive insurance products on the market. Our Premier policy at ...

  13. Our Defaqto Rating

    Our 5 Star products We're very proud of the 5 Star ratings that the following products have been given: Car Insurance and Multi Car Insurance Business vehicle insurance (including van insurance) Home Insurance Life Insurance Company pension Health Insurance

  14. Defaqto ratings at GoCompare

    Check out independent star ratings and product information from Defaqto to help you choose. You can use Defaqto information when comparing car, home, pet and travel insurance with us. Helps you find the policy that fits with your lifestyle and budget easily. Go.Compare is here to help you make the right choice when it comes to your insurance ...

  15. What is a Defaqto Rating?

    A Defaqto 5-Star home insurance policy might be based on the fact that it includes extra features like lock replacement and legal protection cover, while Defaqto travel insurance could be given a 5-star rating for its extensive cancellation cover or protection against a missed pre-booked flight.

  16. Star Ratings

    88% of people are more likely to choose a Defaqto rated product* Guided by the stars - our Star Ratings help consumers and financial professionals make smarter financial decisions by giving them an at-a-glance view of a financial product's quality and how comprehensive it is. *Defaqto consumer research 2021 Highly recognised

  17. Why a 'five-star' travel insurance rating is worthless

    For an annual fee of £240 it says it is "packed with exclusive features", chief among them its five-star Defaqto-rated annual worldwide travel insurance, which the bank claims is worth £160...

  18. 9 Best Travel Insurance Companies of February 2024

    AIG Travel Guard - Best for Add-Ons. HTH Travel Insurance - Best for Long-Term Insurance for International Travel. TravelInsurance.com - Best for Comparing Travel Insurance Quotes. Reviews of the 9 best travel insurance companies of February 2024: Allianz (Best for Business Travel), AIG (Best Add-ons) and Travelex (Best for Families).

  19. Defaqto Rating Explained

    10,000 policies for home, vehicle and travel insurance; 1,500 other types of insurance; 1,000 credit cards and current accounts; 1,000 policies for life and protection insurance; 600+ wealth and pension products; Defaqto ratings are only supposed to apply to an individual financial product and not to a company as a whole. How does the Defaqto ...

  20. Trip cancellation travel insurance

    The cost of trip cancellation insurance. You can expect the premium for a typical travel insurance policy with trip cancellation coverage to run from 4% to 8% of your covered trip's cost ...

  21. Chubb Travel Insurance Review

    Below is how much a 35-year-old traveler from Utah would pay for an annual travel insurance policy from Chubb. The most affordable option of the three, the Travel Basics 365 plan, will set you ...

  22. Our Defaqto Rating

    Our Superior policy has received the maximum 5 Star Rating from Defaqto. That means it ranks among the most comprehensive travel insurance policies on the market. So you get peace of mind to see the world in confidence. It's good to know you are properly covered, isn't it? What is a Defaqto rating? (And why does it matter?)

  23. Battleface Travel Insurance Review 2024

    Methodology. For our Battleface travel insurance review, we analyzed the average cost for each travel insurance policy for trips to popular destinations for various traveler profiles: Couple, age ...

  24. Travel Insurance for Europe: 4 Best Options for 2024

    100% of trip cost for trip cancellation (up to $50,000) 150% of trip cost for trip interruption (up to $75,000) $2,000 in coverage for trip delays of five hours or longer. $750 in coverage for ...

  25. Best Cruise Travel Insurance

    100% of trip cost. Trip interruption. 125% of trip cost. Medical expense. $50,000. Why we like it: Generali has three travel insurance plans. Its standard plan provides a generous $50,000 of ...

  26. Insurers

    Learn more about our Star Ratings or Defaqto Matrix. Find out about Defaqto Compare

  27. Bennetts Celebrates 14 Years of Defaqto 5-star Rating

    Defaqto, a highly regarded independent financial information and ratings provider, has consistently recognised Bennetts as a trailblazer in the insurance industry, awarding the coveted 5-star rating for 14 years. This accomplishment reflects Bennetts' dedication to delivering excellence and understanding the unique needs of the motorcycle ...

  28. Star Ratings

    Star Ratings | Defaqto Travel insurance (annual) Our independent ratings are the quick way to understand the quality of your insurance policy. Our experts choose between 30 and 100 features and benefits, against which every policy/product in the market is scored. Then apply a simple rating of 1 to 5, so you can see, at a glance, how they stack up.

  29. Allianz Travel Insurance Review

    Cons. Limited coverage for risky sports. Allianz Travel Insurance is a global insurance provider. It partners with airlines, travel agencies, resorts, credit card issuers and other companies to ...