??!
1 photo
Columbus Direct
4.1 from 153 reviews

Read the fine print - carefully

I guess I should have read these reviews before I took out a policy with Columbus. The consensus seems to be that they are reasonably priced and reasonably easy to deal with, until you make a claim !!

We are frequent overseas travellers, visiting Europe and Asia one or twice a year over the past 20 or so years. When our previous annual policy came due for renewal, I found that the premium had almost doubled, apparently because I am now 65. We have used the same Insurer for around 20 years, but have never made a claim

I called the Insurance Council and they gave me the names of a few companies that insure "seniors" at a reasonable cost, and I chose Columbus.

We had to return home from France 2 weeks before our planned return, due to the sudden death of my mother in law. Our claim would have been for costs to change our airfares and one hotel charge for 3 nights (luckily most of the hotels gave us a full refund).

When I rang to see if I could make a claim I was advised that curtailment costs would be covered due to the death of a close relative, but the policy does not provide cover if the relative is over 85.

If you have parents or relatives over the age of 85, look for another insurer - research shows that some other insurers do not have an age limit like this company.

Columbus has my premium for this year, but never again.

Value for Money
Transparency
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Senior
DestinationEurope
Claim MadeYes
Claim Resolution Time<1 week
Claim DateJune 2019
Claim ApprovedNo

Reliable value for money

I have used Columbus Direct several times and have found their policies easy to understand.
I feel that they offer value for money and it is a very easy online system to use with staff readily available to answer any queries.
I will use again

Value for Money
Transparency
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Senior
DestinationAsia
Insurance TypeSingle Trip
Claim MadeNo

Real value for money

Great staff to work with they knew the product and able to tailor the policie to suit me and real easy to set up. I have yet to make a claim. Just read what you're covered for and make sure it's what your want the annual cover for oldies like me is great i can now afford to travel. Thanks

Value for Money
Transparency
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Senior
Insurance TypeMulti-Trip
Claim MadeNo

Excellent service. Great quote. Value for money.

Always helpful on phone explain what's is and what's not included in policy. Excellent rates it's our third time with travel insurance. Haven't had to make a claim hopefully they are just as good if the need arises.

Value for Money
Transparency
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Adult
DestinationNorth America
Insurance TypeSingle Trip
Claim MadeNo

Easiest and fairest.......

have been with Columbus for years. They always send me a reminder when it is time to renew, and the process is always painless. Yes, there are cheaper forms of insurance out there, but I feel Columbus always gives me the best value for money I can find.

Value for Money
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Adult
DestinationAsia, Australia/Oceania, Europe and North America
Insurance TypeMulti-Trip
Claim MadeNo

One of many trips using Columbus Insurance

I always use Columbus because they give good value for money and are quick to payout when required. I travel to Europe from Australia regularly and have had to make a few claims over the years, all without any issues.

Value for Money
Insurance Cover For:Adult
DestinationEurope
Claim MadeYes
Type of ClaimMedical
Claim Resolution Time1-2 weeks

Insurance a must

We have been existing customers for some years now and find filling out the quote form very easy.
Luckily we have not had to submit any claims.And if we do in the future we will know where we stand

Value for Money
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Senior
Insurance TypeSingle Trip
Claim MadeNo

6th time I have used Columbus Direct in 11 years

Always the easiest to arrange and best value policy available
Claiming is a breeze and payment is very fast. I always feel well covered when I travel with Columbus Direct covering me.

Value for Money
Customer Service
Insurance Cover For:Adult
Insurance TypeSingle Trip
Claim MadeNo

Happy to use Columbus Direct

10 or more time we have used Columbus Direct as our travel insurance agent. Always way cheaper than the travel agent quote. Never made a claim. . We go through all the disclaimers then pay . Staff dealing with us always easy to deal with and answer any questions.

Insurance claim madeNo

Essential insurance

We travel quite a lot so always in need of travel insurance . Usually take me off policies but last one was an annual . Have used this company about six times.

Insurance claim madeYes

easiest insurance purchase ever

Your consultant Andrew was the best I've dealt with when buying travel insurance, easy to set up and his "plain speak" made understanding what I was covered for simple well done Andrew

Insurance claim madeNo

Unknown Quantity yet

We have not made a claim yet --- although we are frequent travellers with an Annual Policy. Therefore we can't comment on the ease of making a claim or service to us. However, we are particularly careful and organised travellers, so this insurance is "just in case". Time will tell.

Insurance claim madeNo

Would Hate To Die

As with all people travelling overseas, we took out a travel insurance policy. It was easily set up and details provided and premium taken.

Then we went off, it was supposed to be just a holiday - but legislation changed and we turned it into a honeymoon. Very exciting that we could finally marry, so off to the US we headed.

Thats when we get to the US and it is COLD. Not just cold, FREEZING. Just freezing. Average temperature in Washington DC and New York was 0. Not the weather we are quite used to in Melbourne.

As a consequence, my husband - who normally embraces the cold (he grew up in Ballarat) got sick. Not just a little man flu - he ended up being diagnosed with Influenza-B. Yes full blown flu and you know, it was killing people around Australia in 2017, but that was irrelevant. So the last week we travelled to Vegas as per our itinerary.

This is where his symptoms first appeared, it wasn't anything special but 24-36 hours in I had need to ring the Emergency Assistance line as we could not regulate his temperature. I had really no idea what to do, this was the first time I had ever seen him sick in the 5 years we had been together. So I ring the Assistance line (in the UK) and that was the start of the ordeal. Useless, what a joke - couldn't assist me at all. He wasn't in a position to move, but you know I thought they may have a contact locally? But no, just ring someone. Thanks mate, perfect assistance.

So after having a 2 minute conversation with a US doctor, they prescribed medication - that was useless and did nothing and all we wanted to do was come home to ensure we managed to get full medical care (at this stage, we still had no idea what was really wrong). So I rang the emergency line again and stated that we just needed to get home to ensure he got complete medical care and again useless. NOTHING. The Concierge MD service wasn't much better, they said that the receipt and the information from the doctor to get home would be OK to cover the change of flights.........which that information took two weeks.

I then rang my travel agent and we managed to get new flights out of LA in a couple of days and that was cool, paid the change fee - and we kept the original flight from Vegas to LAX. And then we had 18 hours in LA to fill, so crashed in a hotel for the day (that's a whole different experience and story) - so we then get home.

Then I lodged. After my previous experience in the Insurance industry and having post graduate degrees, I couldn't decipher the claim form. Seriously, so complicated. Just wrong. I submitted the claim form.

By this stage, we finally knew what my husband had and he was on the mend, nearly three weeks later - if we had taken their advice and stayed in the US due to his illness, it would have cost 10 times more as at that stage we were in LA, you know, one of the cheapest places on earth to live and stay in hotels.

So in the end, what I wanted to state is that I would hate to die having this company assist you with any real illness. Apparently having Influenza-B didn't require us to change flights and come home early to get proper medical assistance. I really would never use this company again. Next time I will just book it via the travel agent, who couldn't have helped enough with this, and then let them deal with it and get the correct assistance.

In a nutshell - Columbus Travel Direct are terrible and never getting another dollar from my husband or I.

Insurance claim madeYes
2 comments
Hi doyd13 – We were sorry to hear about the situation that unfolded on your trip, and your dissatisfaction in how we handled things. Our Medical Emergency Assistance service is there to assist customers as far as possible in the case of a medical emergency. In the first instance customers should seek appropriate medical attention. The assistance service will become further involved where there is a need for hospitalisation or emergency medical repatriation. They can also authorise additional costs for a customer to return home early if it is deemed medically necessary. We appreciate your expectation as to what the policy should provide cover for was different to this and if you would like to discuss your claim with us we would encourage you contact us by email admin@columbusdirect.com.au or by phone on 1300 669 999.I rang the "Medical Emergency Assistance" at least three times. And to state that they weren't helpful at all. In the end when you have someone who isn't movable and you just get very little assistance, it was beyond frustrating. I just gave up as they weren't helpful.

Medical Emergency

Whilst i was overseas i got hit by a motorbike and was rushed in an ambulance to the hospital, my brother who was with me at the time called the Columbus emergency line who paid in full my surgery costs in a timely fashion. Highly Recommend!

Insurance claim madeYes

Fantastic customer service - no stress claims

We took out a policy for going overseas while pregnant. Unfortunately at the end of our trip we encountered some serious unexpected complications. We called immediately to get advice on our situation, were provided with fantastic recommendations and straight forward information about what documentation would be required to assist the claim. Couldn’t have thanked them enough for helping us to achieve the best possible health outcomes for me and baby by accessing early medical intervention.

Insurance claim madeYes

Easy to buy but hard to claim

I bought a multi-trip travel policy for our family and thought I'd researched it fairly well by using an insurance comparison site.
I was happy with the price and the website was easy to use.
On our last trip overseas our son was hospitalized so we put in a claim.
The claim was rejected due to having a pre-existing medical condition.
When I then compared policies around this medical condition, the requirements of whether it needed to be declared varied significantly between insurance companies. And Columbus Direct was one of the stricter policies.
So the lesson I learnt was to always declare any possible medical condition of everyone travelling on the policy no matter how serious you think it might be. Also, I lost trust in Columbus Direct. I made a significant effort to investigate the policy and what it covered. But they have designed their policy to make it harder to claim than other insurance companies. They should have highlighted those differences when people are buying the policy.
You are better off paying slightly more and going with a more reputable company that doesn't make these kind of choices.

Insurance claim madeYes
1 comment
Hi Rich – Thanks for taking the time to review us. We were very sorry to hear about your son’s hospitalisation on your last trip. We were also concerned to read that your expectation regarding cover for your son’s pre-existing medical condition was different to what we could provide. Making sure our customers understand what we do and don’t cover, including our requirements around disclosing medical conditions, is extremely important to us. To make buying travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions as straightforward as possible, in-depth medical screening forms a key part of our quote process. We also have a dedicated page with FAQs around the topic (https://www.columbusdirect.com.au/travel-insurance/pre-existing-medical-conditions/). If you think there is more we can do to help customers better understand our cover in this regard, please do get in touch with us to discuss.

Seem good until you claim!

My wife and I took out a one month worldwide policy for a multi-part trip in October 2017. I have used Columbus for over 10 years, and at least 15 different trips I have records for, and always liked their clear and easy website for purchasing policies. I'd never actually made a claim until this time. Then I discovered what they are really like! Trust me, you want to avoid them!

Firstly, there's the delays. It took 2 weeks of contacting them to even get a claims form emailed to us. Then the processing delays kick in. Weeks pass with no updates. Then finally, the questions begin. Receipts aren't enough poof of costs incurred - please provide bank statements; you must provide a medical diagnosis report; you must provide flight details that exactly align with the dates the policy covers (god forbid you have a policy that extends a day beyond your return!). And still no sign of a conclusion. This is for a AUD$200 claim for minor medial treatment in Oman, over 3 months ago - I'm now having to try and contact the medical centre there for a diagnosis report for an hour of treatment. I've spent hours and hours on completing Columbus' myriad array of forms and emails, all clearly intended to drive you away in confusion and weariness. I probably won't ever get my money from these crooks, but I can do my upmost to hit their business by alerting everyone I know (and those I don't!)

Insurance claim madeYes
1 comment
Hi Paul – Thank you for leaving us such detailed feedback and for choosing us to cover your trips over the last 10 years. We are very sorry to hear about the trouble you experienced with your recent claim, and we regret that our service on this occasion has fallen short of your expectations. Your frustration at the amount of paperwork involved in filing your claim is certainly understandable. While we can assure you that we only request information that is needed to assess your claim, we clearly haven’t done a good enough job of explaining why we are asking you to provide the requested information. We were also sorry to hear you felt your claim wasn’t processed fast enough and that you didn’t receive updates as often as expected. Our claims team works to defined timelines and service levels, and we would like to investigate on your behalf whether these have been met. If you would like to discuss any of the above, then please do let us know – our customer care team would be happy to give you a call. Alternatively, you can call us on 1300 669 99 99. We are available 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

Excellent Service

Very easy to set up...only took 2 minutes and it was completed...I have always used Columbus Travel for all
my Travel Insurance when going Overseas...I feel I get good value and protection when travelling

September 12th 2018 Update: Easy to use

I have been using Columbus for all my travel insurance for the last 14 years and will continue to do so.

Insurance claim madeNo

We always end up using Columbus

Like most people when we travel we do our homework on insurance. Even when other companies offer "specials" they still don't beat Columbus for value and protection. I feel confident that Columbus will be there when I need them, even though I have never had to claim. There process is easy and there information is relevant to making my trip hassle free.

Insurance claim madeNo

I cannot understand people travelling overseas without insurance.

When I compared other travel insurance and pointed out that I had used you many times before, the price offer was better than the other quote from the travel agent.

Insurance claim madeNo

Page 1 of 8

Questions & Answers

Does your travel insurance policy cover the age over 80 years old?
2 answers
Hi T C – thanks for your question. We can cover travellers up to and including the age of 84 on our single trip policies. Our Annual Multi-trip policies and some sports cover add-ons, however, are only available to those aged under 70. You can enter your trip details and travellers’ ages into our online quote engine at https://travel.columbusdirect.com.au to check what cover is available. Alternatively, feel free to give us a call on 1300 669 999 to discuss your situation with our customer care team in Sydney. We hope you find what you’re looking for!Yes it does but charges extra $ because the customer is 80 yrs and older. They also have strict exclusions.

Do you offer cruise cover? What about the clause stating that you cannot make a claim in regards to delay due to weather? What if the cruise could not go due to severe weather conditions- would this be covered? Thanks.
1 answer
Hi there – Yes, we do offer cruise cover. Travelling by cruise is actually included as standard with all our international policies – you’ll just need to make sure you select the correct area of cover, taking into account any international waters your ship sails into. Our policies do provide certain cover for a travel delay of at least 6 hours due to adverse weather conditions. However, if your cruise company decided to cancel the cruise altogether due to severe weather, unfortunately there would be no cover. It might be worth confirming your cruise operator’s conditions for such events, as they may entitle you to a refund and/or the option to reschedule your cruise. To find out more about our cruise cover, you may want to take a look at the Cruise Travel Insurance page on our website (http://www.columbusdirect.com.au/travel-insurance/cruise-travel-insurance/), which includes a question-and-answer section. If you have further queries, we’d be happy to answer them – just give us a call on 1300 66 99 99.

Your website (http://www.columbusdirect.com.au/travel-insurance/annual-multi-trip/) says "Up to three kids (aged 2-18) and up to two infants (under 2 years) can be covered FREE when travelling with their parent or grandparent." - but your PDS makes no mention of this. In addition, your application forms only allow a total of 3 people to be listed on the policy. How do I ensure my kids are actually covered, and in an event, convince a foreign medical establishment they are insured?
1 answer
Hi Matt, we’re sorry to hear you encountered this issue. To clarify, our pricing does indeed include standard cover for a number of dependent children at no additional cost, however for cover to be in place they do need to be named on the policy. In your case we note that there was an issue with the handover process from the comparison website you were referred from, which didn’t prompt you to enter details for your children. We have since been in contact with them to ensure they apply a fix to prevent any repeat. We understand your policy has now been updated to include details for all family members and hope you all enjoy your trip.