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I'm looking to buy a travel insurance and thanks to my EU residency there are plenty of various options: traditional brokers, credit cards, online-only brokers like World Nomads, etc. When picking out an insurance option, the thing that worries me the most is how well each insurance pays up in case I actually need their help. Unfortunately it seems that it's incredibly hard to find a collection of such reviews: either people leave generic "went on trip, nothing happened" comments, or they write fierce stories about how the insurance company "scammed them", with little factual details.

Is there a website that's explicitly dedicated to reviews of how well travel insurance companies work out in case of an actual emergency? Perhaps national regulators publish statistics of how well each company behaves?

To make this narrow enough, I'm only interested in EU-based companies or companies that directly service the EU market.

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The answer is, no, there is not a web site that offers comparisons between travel insurance providers, ranked by claims payouts (whether volume or value, or both).

The only reports that offer industry data are those by the Association of Briish Insurers which, in February 2016, for the first time disclosed the proportion of claims that result in payouts, a statistical analysis, as reported in the Financial Times January 26, 2016 issue by Oliver Ralph:

The UK insurance industry will on Tuesday for the first time reveal the proportion of claims that result in payouts. The data, compiled by the Association of British Insurers, will show how many claims were successful in the motor, home and travel insurance categories.

The data will show that 99 per cent of motor claims are paid, but the figure falls to 87 per cent in travel insurance and 79 per cent for home insurance. The ABI’s analysis covered 6.9m claims (mostly in motor) handled by 19 insurers over 2013 and 2014.

Travel claim rejections were caused by failure to declare pre-existing medical conditions; no substantiation for the loss of items; and the claim being below the policy excess.

That leaves consumers to comparison via such Europe-based web sites as Moneysupermarket.com or Gocompare.com and to review not just prices but, critically important, coverage.

The 23 March 2017 edition of The Telegraph article, Ten reasons why your travel insurance won't pay out (excerpted)

Travel insurance is popular, but research for The Telegraph shows it's riddled with exclusions.

Here are 10 key areas to watch out for.

  • Trekking: Insurers have different rules on the height above sea level of treks that they will cover as standard.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol exclusions are surprisingly common in travel insurance policies – and a major cause of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service when insurers refuse to pay.
  • Missed departure: Missed departure is often featured on a policy's summary document – but it does not necessarily cover both outbound and inbound journeys. Horse riding: Most of the policies reviewed cover horse riding as standard [but not all do].
  • Scuba diving : Scuba diving coverage varies depending on how deep you dive.
  • Medical conditional for 'close' family members: All 15 travel policies provided cancellation or curtailment cover for this scenario, although the level of cover varied. It is worth checking cover for close business colleagues if your holiday depends on a colleague covering for you at work.
  • Excesses: The excess is the amount you have to pay towards any claim – but it is not straightforward. Some policies apply one excess fee per claim, but others will demand an excess payment for every relevant section of the policy.
  • EHIC: The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is free and entitles you to free or discounted medical care in state-run hospitals and medical clinics across the EU as well as in Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Since this helps reduce your medical costs abroad, 12 of the 15 insurers will either reduce or waive their excess.
  • Delay: If sitting waiting at an airport for a delayed flight becomes too much and you decide to cancel your trip – check how long you have waited first.
  • Valuables: If you are taking an iPad, Kindle or laptop away with you – or any other expensive item – make sure you check your valuables limit (assuming the items are not covered by your home insurance).

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