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Be careful when buying travel insurance - avoid Avanti

mutley1 Avatar
3y, 8m agoPosted 3 years, 8 months ago
Here is a bit of advice from personal experience for anyone buying travel insurance.

Make sure you buy it from a big reputable insurer as trying the save the pennies would be the worst thing you can do here.

My mum made the mistake of taking out cheap travel insurance with Avanti insurance and now she is in deep crap as she has taken ill on holiday and they are dragging their feet to validate her claim and provide care under the insurance policy.

They need all sorts of paperwork before they can provide assistance. Don't try to buy the cheapest travel insurance you can as it can cost you your life. £50 saved on a travel insurance policy is not enough to sacrifice your life for.

Always look at who the underwriter to the policy is from the small print as they are the ones responsible for paying the large medical bills. Make sure they are a well known insurer if possible but as a minimum that they are a UK insurer as UK insurers are subject to more stringent standards.

Definately avoid any insurer whose underwriter is Mapfre who were the underwriter to Avanti insurance.
mutley1 Avatar
3y, 8m agoPosted 3 years, 8 months ago
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banned#1
"They need all sorts of paperwork before they can provide assistance. "

thought they had just asked for permission to approach the GP for medical records. I think you'll find this is common practice before they accept liability.

BTW, I trust that they have now received the requested paperwork......

Edited By: csiman on Mar 16, 2013 13:26
#2
csiman
"They need all sorts of paperwork before they can provide assistance. "

thought they had just asked for permission to approach the GP for medical records. I think you'll find this is common practice before they accept liability.

BTW, I trust that they have now received the requested paperwork......


no they now say that they need more medical reports from the hospital and they can't contact the hospital yesterday so they will try again today. they already have one report from the hospital, they said they need an update report.

how many reports do you need to validate a claim? this is the problem with cheap insurer is that they will give you crap claim service and will try to put obsticles in place to get out of paying up. they are not treating this as an emergency when they say that they are providing emergency assistance.

for example, the gp disclosure form, they did not send that until my mum had been in hospital for 2 days and i called them to tell them that my mum is in a serious condition. why did they not send this form straightaway if they knew this was needed?
#3
I wouldn't worry about it, by the time the hospital generate their bill it will all be sorted by this insurance company.


P.S. Don't panic, your savings are safe.
#5
transit
I wouldn't worry about it, by the time the hospital generate their bill it will all be sorted by this insurance company.


P.S. Don't panic, your savings are safe.


problem is that she is in vietnam on holiday and they operate a pay first, treat later. so she has had to pay over £1,000 upfront already as the insurer are dragging their feet and won't validate her claim.

she needs to be transported back to the uk for an urgent operation as the hospital in vietnam does not the facility to do this for an elderly person but the insurer won't fly her back so I may have to do this myself.
#6
list of problems so far

1. when i called them to put in a claim, they said they had no record of the insurance policy as they don't hold records of policies sold on their system. so they said i had to send in the policy papers to them to confirm that my mum had bought a policy with them.

luckily i had a copy of her policy otherwise she'd be stuffed.

2. it took them 2 days to send the gp disclosure form which they said they need to validate her claim, when this should have been sent out immediately a claim was made.

3. they took 2 days to contact the hospital to get a medical report to validate her claim and now they say they need an update report before they can validate her claim.

4. they keep saying to me that they will call me back to let me know what is going on but they never call back.

5. i email them and they have only replied once to my many emails.

6. more than likely they will drag their feet in contacting her gp.

7. they said to me that if my mum needed an emergency operation she may not get re-imbursement if they have not authorised the claim but so far it has been 4 days and they still have not validated her claim. if someone needed emergency surgery, they could have died in a day.

8. when i call them, their tone of voice is one of we are not liable rather than we will help your mother.

the list goes on.
#7
But I love that next to nothing feel? :(

http://www.wekenshop.com/images/durexAVANTIbare.jpg
#8


yes. i will be making a complaint when my mum is back in the uk.
they have been absolutely appalling in their behaviour.
#9
mutley1
transit
I wouldn't worry about it, by the time the hospital generate their bill it will all be sorted by this insurance company.


P.S. Don't panic, your savings are safe.

problem is that she is in vietnam on holiday and they operate a pay first, treat later. so she has had to pay over £1,000 upfront already as the insurer are dragging their feet and won't validate her claim.

she needs to be transported back to the uk for an urgent operation as the hospital in vietnam does not the facility to do this for an elderly person but the insurer won't fly her back so I may have to do this myself.

TBH most countries work this way. I had to do this a few years back. Just had to hand them my credit card and hope for the best.

As for the operation I'm sure there must be much closer place that can perform it if you end up forking out for it. Flying people back is pretty much the last resort for for insurance companies. Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore all have first rate medical facilities.
#10
GAVINLEWISHUKD
mutley1
transit
I wouldn't worry about it, by the time the hospital generate their bill it will all be sorted by this insurance company.


P.S. Don't panic, your savings are safe.


problem is that she is in vietnam on holiday and they operate a pay first, treat later. so she has had to pay over £1,000 upfront already as the insurer are dragging their feet and won't validate her claim.

she needs to be transported back to the uk for an urgent operation as the hospital in vietnam does not the facility to do this for an elderly person but the insurer won't fly her back so I may have to do this myself.


TBH most countries work this way. I had to do this a few years back. Just had to hand them my credit card and hope for the best.

As for the operation I'm sure there must be much closer place that can perform it if you end up forking out for it. Flying people back is pretty much the last resort for for insurance companies. Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore all have first rate medical facilities.


what if they want £10,000 up front and your credit card only had a limit of £1,000?

the whole point of insurance is that they will protect you from this so that you don't have to make certain you got a few hundred thousand pounds in your pocket for medical treatment if you needed it when you are on holiday?
#11
Dear mutley1,

We are sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience with Avanti Travel Insurance. We understand that this post is dated, but we would still like to hear from you regarding your mother's need to make a claim. We genuinely value any feedback regarding all aspects of our policies so that we can ensure the service we provide is continually improved.

Please email your contact and policy details to [email protected] so that one of our customer service representatives can get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can call our freephone number: 0800 066 5604.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Avanti Insurance Limited
#12
Avanti claims department is very efficient. The problem was with the validation process at Mapfre, the Spanish underwriter to Avanti policies, who deals with medical emergencies whilst the insured is abroad and has to go into hospital. Mapfre is also the underwriter to many well known travel insurance policies like Insure and Go.

My mum's claim was finally validated after delays but once validation had been done, the service from Mapfre was excellent. Mapfre medical claims department is based in Ireland which made communication difficult from the UK. I had to consult a UK general surgeon myself to confirm that my mum needed the emergency operation as Mapfre medical panel took a long time to agree with the doctors' diagnosis that the emergency operation was necessary. I also had to agree to pay the hospital £10,000 retainer fee as Mapfre was slow at agreeing to pay for the emergency operation.

If I was not affluent and had £10,000 sitting in my current account my mother would have died. However, Mapfre, did pay this retainer a few hours after I had promised to pay the hospital myself and I was going to make the payment when the banks opened in the morning.

This claim is now resolved so we move on.
#13
Agreed Avanti a joke, we could not travel as our daughter got chicken pox so airline would not allow to fly, got onto a avanti & took 3 weeks to get an answer which said we are entitled to nothing as our family policy has a £150 excess per person (which is not made clear on any policies, £1000 limit is stated as per person but just says excess £150) so this is making the 5 person family policy have a £750 excess, luckily we have only lost the flights @ £560 as we booked accommodation separate & have been able to move that. It was an annual policy we got but now have gone for alternative cover with a aviva insurance for my 2 remaining trips this year after the joke ive had with these avanti cowboys.
#14
JEllis79
Agreed Avanti a joke, we could not travel as our daughter got chicken pox so airline would not allow to fly, got onto a avanti & took 3 weeks to get an answer which said we are entitled to nothing as our family policy has a £150 excess per person (which is not made clear on any policies, £1000 limit is stated as per person but just says excess £150) so this is making the 5 person family policy have a £750 excess, luckily we have only lost the flights @ £560 as we booked accommodation separate & have been able to move that. It was an annual policy we got but now have gone for alternative cover with a aviva insurance for my 2 remaining trips this year after the joke ive had with these avanti cowboys.

It is good to know that you can buy travel insurance from a big reputable insurer like Aviva. When I did a search for travel insurance after the Avanti fiasco, I was surprised to find that the big UK insurers did not do travel insurance but that most travel insurance are sold or underwritten by small never heard of insurance companies.

I have found from this experience that the underwriter to the insurance policy is very important as they are the ones responsible for the big medical bills. So if you buy a policy with Natwest or M&S, look at who is the underwriter in the small print and make sure that they are a well known insurer if possible and most importantly make sure that they are a UK insurer as the FSA will have more stick with a UK insurer than a foreign one like Mapfre, who is Spanish, as UK insurers are subject to more stringent standards.
#15
Well someone has to keep the bad name of dodgy rip off insurance companies dont they, still proving their point of been the 2nd biggest legalized rip off in the country.
#16
JEllis79
Well someone has to keep the bad name of dodgy rip off insurance companies dont they, still proving their point of been the 2nd biggest legalized rip off in the country.

By the way I got the same problem with the excess being more than quoted in the policy and being applied twice for the same claim but as they had paid a huge medical bill I did not pursue it.
#17
Yeah, we have family policy so when the excess says £150 they times it by the 5 people so the excess actually turns out to be £750. Seen as our flights cost us £559 that means we get nothing back. I will be getting a different policy for all other travel this year as it was supposed to be an annual policy but with a £750 excess anytime i need to claim ill be looking elsewhere & will never use or advise Avanti again, big claim? Nice one buddy hope you got every penny you could the dodgy b**tards.
#18
Dear JEllis79,

JEllis79
Agreed Avanti a joke, we could not travel as our daughter got chicken pox so airline would not allow to fly, got onto a avanti & took 3 weeks to get an answer which said we are entitled to nothing as our family policy has a £150 excess per person (which is not made clear on any policies, £1000 limit is stated as per person but just says excess £150) so this is making the 5 person family policy have a £750 excess, luckily we have only lost the flights @ £560 as we booked accommodation separate & have been able to move that. It was an annual policy we got but now have gone for alternative cover with a aviva insurance for my 2 remaining trips this year after the joke ive had with these avanti cowboys.

I am genuinely sorry to hear that you are so unhappy with the claim you have had to make on your Avanti Lite policy and would have been more than happy to discuss this matter with you directly on our Freephone number 0800 066 5604.

We do ask our customers to declare that they have, or will, read the policy wording and terms and conditions upon buying any Avanti Travel Insurance Policy (these were emailed to you on 17 January 2014). When you chose the policy you did online, you would have been given the option to make the policy excess-free for less than £16 per person after you were notified of the standard excess that would be payable per person per claim, which as you are aware is £150 per person.

Avanti in no way intentionally tries to be misleading, or dodgy cowboys. We welcome constructive feedback in order to make future customer's journey more enjoyable and hassle-free. For example, we have changed the underwriters of our policies due to feedback received from other customers. We also pass on grievances to the claims company.

If there is anything else we can clarify for you regarding the actual travel insurance policy, please feel free to contact our UK offices free on 0800 066 5604 or you can email [email protected]. The claims company's contact number, once again, is 0843 208 2031.

Thanks,

Avanti Travel Insurance
#19
Thanks for the reply, i did book this insurance through money supermarket (also another company i will never use again after this experience) & got the lite plus policy that was slightly more expensive so i though would have been slightly better should anything go wrong. At no point was i offered the chance to waive the excess, i presume due to me booking through money supermarket & not avanti, also since looking on the actual avanti website after having all this trouble i have since noticed there is a deluxe policy that waives all the excesses that had i been told this when booking as it was only £50 more i would have done but thats what i get with using the comparison sites & just getting thrown the cheapest options.
Anyway i will from now be getting alternative insurance for all my travel for the remainder of the year with a proper company like direct travel insurance or aviva who i have previously used many time & i have never had any problems anywhere near like this & a company that doesnt hide an extra £600 in charges in the small print.

Thanks.
#20
Woo hooo, Reply just as expected......

Dear Mr Ellis,

Further to our correspondence dated 24 February, we have now completed our investigation and can respond more fully regarding the issues you have raised.

Our understanding of your complaint is that you contest the decision to decline the claim submitted as not exceeding the applicable policy excesses.

Having reviewed the file, we note that you were unable to travel as planned due to the illness of Kaitlyn Sinclair. A claim was submitted in respect of non-refundable flight costs.

The total value of the flights was £559.92, excluding the cost of the ‘No show’ letter, and as the policy is subject to an excess of £150 per person under the Cancellation section, the claim does not exceed the applicable excesses and has been declined.

If we may refer you to the policy wording you will see that page 9 details the The Significant Covers applicable to the Lite Plus Annual Multi Trip Cover. The Policy limits and Exclusions column states that “An excess of £150 (or £40 if only a deposit has been paid) per person applies.”

We would take this opportunity to advise that we are claims handling agents assigned by Underwriters to deal with claims under the policy on their behalf. As such, we are required to do so in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy. Following our full review of your claim, our enquiries indicate that the claim has been assessed correctly, and that the decision to decline the claim is correct. Accordingly, we regret that we are unable to overturn this decision.

We must advise that we are not in a position to comment on the provision of information regarding the policy cover that may have been available to you at the time of purchase. Therefore, in the event that you have any queries in this respect, we would suggest that you contact Avanti directly.

We naturally regret that you have had cause for complaint and realise that you may be disappointed with the outcome, but hope the above helps to explain matters in more detail.

We can confirm that this email represents our final decision in this matter
#21
so really from the avanti reply that was sent to you..... you didnt read your policy.it had me worried reading this as my parents have just taken out a 3 month policy for a long holiday and my mum has a heart condition.
#22
dillonsbone
so really from the avanti reply that was sent to you..... you didnt read your policy.it had me worried reading this as my parents have just taken out a 3 month policy for a long holiday and my mum has a heart condition.

tell your mum to carry her passport and her insurance policy in her bag with her every where on her travel. a friend of ours had a heart condition and he and his wife went on holiday to paris. whilst out and about sightseeing, they left their passport and travel insurance policy in the hotel safe as they did not want to lose it whilst out and about in case their bag got stolen.

he had a heart attack and when the ambulance arrived they would not treat him but demanded to see his passport and his travel insurance which he did not have with him and so he died without getting any treatment as the ambulance crew refused to do anything or to take him to a hospital until they see his papers.
#23
We have been with avantii travel insurance 3 yrs now .never made claim until this yr .and spent 6days al ln hospital .was told it wouldn't be a problem with avanti it went really well . I was told pleased we went with them. Now we have been waiting for our claim back ln EEngland to be dealt with was told pleased it wouldn't was told it was being seen to that was march . Hope we hear soon carole fee
#24
We are having the same problem with my mom currently stuck in Turkey in hospital and 9 days down the line, we don't know if they are going to pay the bill.
The hospital say my mom can fly home on Thursday, but we are still waiting for avanti to validate the claim, as if it not stressful enough.
she is very upset and just wants to come home.
We have contacted the British consulate.
I've heard other people that have been taken ill abroad and have had no problem with other insurance company's.

Julie carter
#25
carts102
We are having the same problem with my mom currently stuck in Turkey in hospital and 9 days down the line, we don't know if they are going to pay the bill.
The hospital say my mom can fly home on Thursday, but we are still waiting for avanti to validate the claim, as if it not stressful enough.
she is very upset and just wants to come home.
We have contacted the British consulate.
I've heard other people that have been taken ill abroad and have had no problem with other insurance company's.

Julie carter

Sorry to hear this. I know how you feel. We had a horrible time as the hospital was demanding money before they would carry out an emergency operation and Avanti said that they needed to validate the claim so we were stuck in the middle.

The hospital said that they have never had to wait so long for money to come through from any other insurer. They said that with other insurers, the payment promise would come through within a day or two whereas 2 weeks down the line, Avanti still did not promise to pay them as they were still trying to validate the claim, waiting for hospital, GP reports and their medical panel reports....

Hope your mum gets things sorted out ok. Let us know the outcome.
#26
We are still waiting for them to validate the claim after ten days, they want more tests done which will bump the bill up.
We could be looking at £20.000 bill we could end up paying and my mom stuck in Turkey and hospital will want paying.
Never been so stressed!!
#27
carts102
We are still waiting for them to validate the claim after ten days, they want more tests done which will bump the bill up.
We could be looking at £20.000 bill we could end up paying and my mom stuck in Turkey and hospital will want paying.
Never been so stressed!!

Julie, would you like to send your contact details to me at [email protected] and I will get our technical manager to look into this for you? We don't deal with claims, but we can contact the claims company on your behalf.

Roxanne
#28
They have refused my mom claim after 11 days of waiting. Now we have to pay it ourselves and get her home.
#29
carts102
They have refused my mom claim after 11 days of waiting. Now we have to pay it ourselves and get her home.

sorry to hear that. if you think your mum has a valid claim then persue it when she is back in the UK. hope you have enough money to pay the bills.
#30
Yes, we are having trouble with Avanti.
We were going to the Isles of Scilly for a week but my son was knocked down by a van on the way to the ferry terminal in Penzance and spent 3 days in hospital, after which we returned home.

Global Claims Services, who are dealing with it, are very obstructive and seem to not understand the claim we have submitted. They keep asking to see cancellation invoices when we have been very clear that we are claiming for stuff we had to pay there and then because of my son's accident. And they pulled the "per person" excess trick on us as well so we claimed for £1,036, got £36 back and had to pay £40 for a doctor's note. However I have since discovered that the policy I actually bought had an excess of £150 per person, not £250, so they have been trying to pull the wool over my eyes there as well! All the more frustrating because my mother in law, who came with us, had a different insurer and had her claim paid out in less than a week. With these people I have been waiting 6 weeks.
#31
Sooooo glad I read the reviews.Was just about to use these cowboys.I thought the price quoted was too good to be true..BYE BYE AVANTICLUB.!!!
#32
Hi yes we paid the bill and managed to get my Mum home.
IMO I would stay clear from this insurance company as they try any loopholes they can to get out of paying up!!!
Terrible experience we've had with them!!
Worst insurance company I've come across, forewarned for armed as they say.
#33
Just wanted to add my comments as another disgruntled Avanti customer.........
We got a good deal and a good price for our cover and were more than happy with everything until we had to make a claim.
The Insurance cover is not good. They will quibble, play with words and use any and every trick they can in order to not pay you a penny if you have the misfortune to need a claim.
I will not insure with them again. It may be cheap but if they don't pay then it isn't worth the paper it is written on.
Good luck in getting any money if you do need to claim.
#34
Had to cancel a holiday due to sudden and shocking cancer diagnosis of one of the party a few weeks before we were due to travel and Avanti dragging their feet asking for a breakdown of package holiday repeatedly although tour company told them there isn't such a thing. The insurance company covering the other travellers have accepted the medical certificate and booking and cancellation forms but not Avanti. I definitely as a doctor myself would advise to avoid this company for travel insurance.
#35
Avanti is an Absolute joke we were due to fly to turkey however 4 dayz before our holiday my 15 month old son was rushed to hospital and was seriously ill with double sided pneumonia he nearly died however because i had taken him to the gp 2 weeks earlier with a cold avanti decided i already knew my son was about to get criticlly ill and spend some time in hospital so now will not pay out ther a joke i am now seeking legal advice this was an expensive holiday at 2500 i am fuming with the whole thing all i can say is avoid avanti at all costs!!!!!
#36
Hannah2314
Avanti is an Absolute joke we were due to fly to turkey however 4 dayz before our holiday my 15 month old son was rushed to hospital and was seriously ill with double sided pneumonia he nearly died however because i had taken him to the gp 2 weeks earlier with a cold avanti decided i already knew my son was about to get criticlly ill and spend some time in hospital so now will not pay out ther a joke i am now seeking legal advice this was an expensive holiday at 2500 i am fuming with the whole thing all i can say is avoid avanti at all costs!!!!!

sorry to hear this. it was lucky that you did not go to turkey then your son fell ill there and had to go into hospital as then you would struggle to get the medical bills paid by Avanti like I did and the hospital would not release your son until the medical had been paid by yourselves.

it could have ran into thousands. my mum's bill and repatriation cost Avanti £20K - £30K in total and Vietnam was a cheap country for medical bills.
#37
Hannah2314
Avanti is an Absolute joke we were due to fly to turkey however 4 dayz before our holiday my 15 month old son was rushed to hospital and was seriously ill with double sided pneumonia he nearly died however because i had taken him to the gp 2 weeks earlier with a cold avanti decided i already knew my son was about to get criticlly ill and spend some time in hospital so now will not pay out ther a joke i am now seeking legal advice this was an expensive holiday at 2500 i am fuming with the whole thing all i can say is avoid avanti at all costs!!!!!

Hannah2314, please feel free to call our Technical Manager, Tracy Dennis, directly on 01376 560064. Although we do not handle claims, Tracy will be more than willing to look into this further for you.
#38
GerN1
Had to cancel a holiday due to sudden and shocking cancer diagnosis of one of the party a few weeks before we were due to travel and Avanti dragging their feet asking for a breakdown of package holiday repeatedly although tour company told them there isn't such a thing. The insurance company covering the other travellers have accepted the medical certificate and booking and cancellation forms but not Avanti. I definitely as a doctor myself would advise to avoid this company for travel insurance.

GerN1, please feel free to contact Tracy Dennis, Avanti's Technical Manager on 01376 560064. She will be happy to speak to the claims handlers on your behalf.
#39
Go with M&S. They paid out a claim of £12000 within two weeks when we were unable to go on holiday due to a heart attack. Excellent service.
#40
Please excuse the threadomancy, but I find this story alarming. I had assumed that if I pay for travel health insurance and I am injured or fall ill, that there would be NO delay in receiving medical treatment. Ambulance > hospital > surgery. I expect my insurance to at minimum give me the same peace of mind as if I were in the UK being treated by the NHS.

Avanti blame Mapfre; well my message to Avanti is, I don't care, I still won't take out insurance with you. YOU cannot be trusted. A delay of even a few hours could be dangerous, and for an elderly woman to not receive treatment for days is appalling. Avanti put that woman's life at risk.

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