Review: Columbus Direct Travel Insurance

Dan Woolley By Dan Woolley

In Summary

Columbus Direct are a well-established travel insurance company, having been around since 1988 with their distinctive St Bernard dog mascot. More recently, they have emphasised their credentials as a provider of travel insurance for skiing holidays through sponsorship of UK giant slalom skier Chemmy Alcott.

You can get a quote at the Columbus Direct website.

Overview of the cover provided by Columbus Direct Travel Insurance policies

Columbus Direct offer travel insurance to cover all of the standard categories: Single Trip, Annual Multi Trip, Pre-Existing Medical and Ski (Winter Sports).

Within most categories, Columbus Direct then offer Bronze, Silver and Gold polices. Gold is the most expensive, and therefore provides a higher level of cover in a number of areas (e.g. holiday cancellation, personal property, medical expenses).

Does Columbus Direct offer travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes. Columbus Direct can offer cover up to the age of 85 for single trip policies, and up to the age of 74 for annual travel policies.

As with all insurance policies for pre-existing medical conditions, it’s important to read through the terms and conditions in advance, to make sure that there is nothing about your personal medical circumstances that could invalidate any potential claim.

How much does Travel insurance from Columbus Direct cost?

With almost all travel insurance companies, the cost of travel insurance varies widely depending on a number of factors, such as the number of people travelling, their age(s), the destination(s) of travel and the duration of stay. But to give you an indication, we obtained the following quotes via the Columbus Direct website.

Annual Travel Insurance, Worldwide – a couple in their 50s

COLUMBUS DIRECT GOLD: cost = £181.27; excess = £50: cancellation = £5,000; baggage = £2,500

COLUMBUS DIRECT SILVER: cost = £111.36; excess = £75: cancellation = £3,000; baggage = £1,500

COLUMBUS DIRECT BRONZE: cost = £67.89; excess = £100: cancellation = £0; baggage = £0

Single Trip to Spain, 2 weeks – one 34yr old woman travelling solo

COLUMBUS DIRECT GOLD: cost = £27.94; excess = £50: cancellation = £5,000; baggage = £2,500

COLUMBUS DIRECT SILVER: cost = £19.27; excess = £75: cancellation = £3,000; baggage = £1,500

COLUMBUS DIRECT BRONZE: cost = £11.22; excess = £100: cancellation = £0; baggage = £0

Like these prices? Get a quote here!

What Columbus Direct Customers Say

Columbus Direct customers gave them an overall score of 4.1 out of 5 in Money.co.uk's Consumer Finance Awards and Reviews. Customers were asked for their feedback in four categories: customer service, flexibility & fairness, product features and value for money. They scored Columbus Direct 4.1 in all categories.

What the Expert Reviews Say

Fairer Finance, a service set up to help consumers choose the best financial products, ranks insurers based on what customers think of the brand, how good they are at handling complaints, and how transparent they are. Of the 25 travel insurance providers reviewed by Fairer Finance, Columbus Direct were ranked 13th, with an overall score of 55%. Fairer Finance state: “Columbus Direct… scores fairly average across the board, leaving it floating in mid-table. There are certainly worse insurers to go for, but there are better ones too.”

In June 2014, the consumer magazine Which? updated a review/comparison table of travel insurance companies: they gave Columbus Direct a score of 58% for customer satisfaction. This put them quite low on the table, behind brands like Churchill and Direct Line, but it is important to note the highest ranking brand (M&S) only achieved 79%.

Defaqto, an independent researcher of financial products, offers star ratings for travel insurance policies. Their ratings are between 1-star (“a basic product, with a low level of features and benefits”) and 5-stars (“an excellent product with a comprehensive range of features and benefits”).

Defaqto rated Columbus Direct's Travel Insurance policies as follows:

ANNUAL Travel Insurance policies

Gold = 5 stars

Silver = 3 stars

Bronze = 2 star

SINGLE TRIP Travel Insurance policies

Gold = 5 stars

Silver = 3 stars

Bronze = 2 star

This article on Columbus Direct Travel Insurance is part of a series of reviews we are featuring on different travel insurance companies and the policies they offer. If you want to get a quote from Columbus Direct Travel Insurance, you can here.

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