Review: Top Dog Travel Insurance

Dan Woolley By Dan Woolley

In Summary

Top Dog are competitive on price, and their Platinum Travel Insurance policy has a 5-Star rating from Defaqto.

You can get a quote at the Top Dog Insurance website.

Overview of the cover provided by Top Dog Travel Insurance policies

Top Dog Insurance provide single trip and annual multi-trip policies up to age 85, long stay policies for trips up to 12 months, and gap year policies for trips up to 18 months. Their policies automatically cover participation in over 100 sports and activities, including bungee jumping, scuba diving, white water rafting and water sports (though some other types of activities do require additional cover); those aged 65 or under have the option of extending a policy to cover winter sports.

Does Top Dog offer travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions?

Unlike other travel insurance companies such as Staysure, Top Dog do not advertise themselves as specialising in medical travel insurance; however, all of Top Dog’s travel insurance policies offer the option to declare and include cover for existing medical conditions.

How much does Travel insurance from Top Dog 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 married couple in their 50s

• ECONOMY: cost = £61.84; excess = £300; cancellation = £500; baggage = £750

• STANDARD: cost = £116.98; excess = £100; cancellation = £1,500; baggage = £1,000

• PREMIER: cost = £142.64; excess = £50; cancellation = £5,000; baggage = £1,500

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

• ECONOMY: cost = £8.52; excess = £300; cancellation = £500; baggage = £750

• STANDARD: cost = £12.97; excess = £100; cancellation = £1,500; baggage = £1,000

• PREMIER: cost = 15.13; excess = £50; cancellation = £5,000; baggage = £1,500

Pre-existing Medical Conditions: 1 month in Spain, one 70yr old man with diabetes

• STANDARD: cost = £29.14; medical cover = £10M; cancellation = £1,500

• PREMIER: cost = £29.97; medical cover = £10M; cancellation = £5,000

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, like many other providers’ cheaper options, the Economy option for Top Dog has a cancellation limit of £500 and an excess of £300. To illustrate the impact of this here are two results of a claim made on the Economy policy:

• Cancellation claim for a holiday costing £250 – this is less than within the £500 cancellation limit so at a glance you might expect a pay out. However but the £300 excess means the customer pays the first £300 of the 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 the claim left. 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.

What We Say

Top Dog’s policy documents are among the longest in the travel insurance industry, at a little over 25,000 words. And when it comes to travel insurance, more small print is not always a good thing.

Top Dog are owned by Citybond Holdings, a UK-based travel insurance broker, who have been trading since 1983. While this may seem reassuring, Citybond and the travel insurance companies they own (along with Top Dog, Citybond also own Flexicover) do not have a perfect reputation for customer satisfaction. This is not to say that Top Dog will not offer good cover in the event of a claim – but you may wish to read through the details of your policy carefully.

Bought by Many members have found that Top Dog can offer good value for some medical conditions such as diabetes. Prices will vary according to the severity of the condition as well as the usual factors such as destination, age of travelers and so on.

What Top Dog Customers Say

Top Dog’s customers rated them 3.9 out of 5 in Money.co.uk's Consumer Finance Awards and Reviews. Customers were asked for their feedback in four categories: they scored Top Dog 4.0 for customer service, 3.8 for flexibility & fairness, 3.9 for product features, and 3.8 for value for money.

What the Expert Reviews Say

In a June 2014 article, The Observer newspaper reported that Top Dog’s policy cover is “underwritten by Mapfre, which has a below average record on complaints handling [according to] Fairer Finance”. (Fairer Finance is a service set up to help consumers choose the best financial products. It ranks insurers based on what customers think of the brand, how good they are at handling complaints, and how transparent they are.)

The Observer article also reported that in the last six months of 2013, the Financial Ombudsman received 310 complaints about Mapfre, which is one of the largest Spanish insurance companies. Overall, Fairer Finance rated Top Dog 19th out of 25 providers that they reviewed, giving them a score of just 16%.

Separately, 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 Top Dog’s Annual Travel Insurance policies as follows:

Platinum = 5 stars

Gold = 4 stars

Premier = 3 stars

Economy, Silver, Standard = 2 stars

Bronze = 1 star

Defaqto scored Top Dog’s Single Trip Travel Insurance policies as follows:

Platinum = 5 stars

Gold = 4 stars

Premier = 3 stars

Economy, Silver, Standard = 2 stars

Bronze = 1 star

This article on Top Dog 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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