New Study Reveals Who Really Buys Travel Insurance

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For Immediate Release

April 26, 2006

New Study Reveals Who Really Buys Travel Insurance

Education and Destination Are Influencing Factors

The more educated a traveler is, the more likely they are to buy travel insurance.    Consumer traveling outside North America are three times more likely to buy travel insurance than are those traveling within North America.  And most travelers who take a cruise or travel by ship (70%) buy travel insurance.

These are among the findings of a recent consumer survey commissioned by the US Travel Insurance Association.   The 2006 Travel Insurance Consumer Survey was conducted online among 850 individuals who had taken at least one leisure trip of one night or more in the last 12 months.

Other survey findings are:

  • Consumers who buy travel insurance generally have a larger traveling party, take longer leisure trips, and spend more money on trips.
  • Purchasers of travel insurance have a higher average household income than non-purchasers.

Additional differences between those who purchase travel insurance and those who don’t are:

Reason for travel Purchasers of travel insurance tend to travel for recreational purposes whereas non-purchasers are more likely to visit friends and relatives.

Sources of Information used for trip planning –  People who purchase travel insurance use more sources of information to plan their trip, while non-purchasers rely more on friends and relatives as information sources.

Booking the trip – Those who purchased travel insurance were more likely to use a travel agent, whereas non- purchasers were likely to book online with the company providing travel.

Travel Agents Play Key Role

Survey findings revealed that travel agents play a significant role in the decision to purchase travel insurance.  Consumers who plan their trips through travel agents are twice as likely to purchase travel insurance as those who book their travels independently.  In fact, 77% of people using a travel agent to book their vacation bought travel insurance, according to the UStiA survey.

Why People Buy Travel Insurance

According to the survey 96% of those who buy travel insurance say that it is important to have.  When asked why, the top three reasons are: peace of mind, protection against the unexpected and concern over losing the financial investment in a trip.

Within these categories survey respondents most frequently cited the following motivating factors:

  • My trip was expensive.
  • I wanted protection for unforeseen events.
  • I want the peace of mind that travel insurance offers.
  • I want to get money back if I had to change my trip.
  • I had to pre-pay my trip.

Notably, about 20% — or one out of every 5 persons — purchasing travel insurance have actually filed a claim at some point.  Of those, 73% have a favorable opinion of their travel insurance experience, and 26% neutral, with only 1% having an unfavorable opinion.

The “If” Factor

Even among non-purchasers, two-thirds say conditions could arise that would cause them to buy travel insurance, according to survey results.   Reasons cited as possible motivating factors were terrorist acts, age, unforeseen events, traveling to foreign countries, lost baggage concerns, weather, and protecting the cost of the trip.

Most People Unaware of Medical Evacuation Services

The survey revealed that, while a majority of those who do not purchase travel insurance were familiar with flight insurance, and nearly half knew about trip cancellation insurance, the vast majority were unfamiliar with other types of coverage including  travel health insurance, baggage insurance and medical evacuation insurance.  Even among those who purchase travel insurance only 50% were aware of medical evacuation insurance.

According to Jon Ansell, UStiA president, the survey findings reinforce the importance of educating consumers about the various types of travel coverage available to them.

About UStiA

The US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) promotes fairness, integrity and a commitment to excellence in the travel insurance industry.  Its mission is to educate the public on travel insurance while maintaining high industry standards.  Formed in 2004, the UStiA is a non-profit association of insurance carriers and allied businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and assistance.  In 2004, UStiA member companies provided travel insurance policies to more than 17 million people.

Travel insurance is available from travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, hotels and resorts, and insurance brokers as well as through the internet.  For more information on UStiA visit http://www.ustravelinsurance.org.

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