Review: Explorer Travel Insurance

Dan Woolley By Dan Woolley

In Summary

A travel insurance specialist, Explorer offers single trip and annual policies. A number of Explorer's Travel Insurance policies have been positively reviewed by Which? magazine, and have won 8 of their Best Buy Awards.

You can get a quote for travel insurance at the Explorer website.

Overview of the cover provided by Explorer Travel Insurance policies

Having removed their lower-cost policies from the market following a strategic review, Explorer appear to be focusing on the "higher-value" end of the travel insurance market – offering polices with good levels of cover and low excess fees. So while Explorer will not be topping the price comparison tables anytime soon, they would be a good option for any travellers who want the extra peace of mind that comes with higher levels of cover.

Explorer offer a variety of travel insurance policies: Single Trip, Annual Multi Trip, Winter Sports (single trip), Cruise and Backpacker. Their single trip policies do not have a maximum age limit, with the exception of a policy including Winter Sports cover – which is available to those 70 or under. The maximum age for annual trip policies is 79 and Backpacker policies are available to customers aged 44 and under.

Does Explorer offer travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes. Explorer have two policies which offer cover for a number of pre-existing medical conditions: Platinum and Platinum MediPlus.

Explorer Platinum featured in a Which? magazine review (2014) of best rate travel insurance for those with specific medical conditions.

How much does Travel insurance from Explorer 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 Moneysupermarket.com

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

EXPLORER GOLD: cost = £114.56; excess = £150: cancellation = £1,500; baggage = £1,000

EXPLORER GOLD PLUS: cost = £130.78; excess = £125; cancellation = £2,500; baggage = £1,500

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

EXPLORER GOLD: cost = £10.54; excess = £150: cancellation = £1,500; baggage = £1,000

EXPLORER GOLD PLUS: cost = £12.18; excess = £125; cancellation = £2,500; baggage = £1,500

Medical Conditions: 1 month in Spain, 70yr old with diabetes

EXPLORER PLATINUM: cost = £43.10; medical cover = £10M; cancellation = £5,000

Until the end of 2013, Explorer offered Silver and Bronze policies, which were comparable to the "economy" options offered by some of their competitors: policies that are inexpensive, but provide relatively low cancellation cover along with a high excess. (See the examples below for more information on this).

Explorer no longer offer the Silver and Bronze policies, which suggests they have decided to focus on the higher-value end of the travel insurance market. The travel insurance polices now available from Explorer are: Gold, Gold Plus, Platinum and Platinum MediPlus

Explorer’s policies don’t appear at the top of price comparison tables – does this mean they’re poor value?

No, this is not necessarily the case. Some policies top the price comparison tables with low prices, but this can be because of the level of cover they actually provide when making a claim. For example, some of Explorer’s competitors offer ‘economy’ policies that have a cancellation limit of £500 and an excess of £300. To illustrate the impact of this here are two example results of a claim made against that competitor’s policy:

• Cancellation claim for a holiday costing £250 – this is less than the £500 cancellation limit so at a glance you might expect a pay out. However the £300 excess means the customer pays the first £300 of any claim. So in this case, the customer covers the £250 claim and the policy would not pay out.

• Cancellation claim for a holiday costing £600 – again the customer pays the excess of £300. This leaves another £300 of claim remaining which is below the £500 of cover purchased, so the policy pays out £300.

• Cancellation claim for a holiday costing £1,000 – again the customer pays the £300 excess leaving £700 of claim. The policy pays out the next £500 but then stops as its cancellation limit has been reached. The remaining £200 is covered by the customer.

By comparison, Explorer’s Gold policy (their cheapest policy) has a £1,500 cancellation limit and £75 excess. So in keeping with the examples above:

• For a cancellation claim on a holiday costing £250, the policy would pay out £175 (versus £0 above).

• For a holiday costing £600, the policy would pay out £525 (versus £300).

• For a holiday costing £1000, the policy would pay out £975 (versus £500).

These stark differences in pay out illustrate why it is important to review limits when buying travel insurance.

What We Say

We have chosen to work with Explorer for several of our exclusive group offers, as we believe they offer a comprehensive and competitive , especially for long stay, skiing and backpacking policies (click the link to join the group).

Explorer's policies are underwritten by SOLID - a Swedish insurer who have previously been praised for their no-nonsense approach to insurance. SOLID are an experienced travel insurance company and are behind a number of travel insurance brands in the UK including AllSafe and Insurefor.

What the Expert Reviews Say

Explorer Travel Insurance is listed by Which? as providing among the best value European single trip policies for those over 80 with a good level of cover.

Defaqto (an independent researcher of financial products) claim to analyse every travel insurance policy on the market. They give products Star Ratings that indicate how they compare to other policies in terms of the features and benefits they offer (i.e. it does not consider price). On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, Defaqto scored Explorer's Travel Insurance policies as follows:

ANNUAL POLICIES

Platinum = 3 stars

Gold Plus = 2 stars

Gold = 2 stars

SINGLE-TRIP POLICIES

Platinum = 4 stars

Gold Plus = 3 stars

Gold = 2 stars

This article on Explorer Travel Insurance is part of a series of reviews we are featuring on different travel insurance companies and the policies they offer.

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