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Monday, June 29, 2009

Qatar Travel Insurance: Update

At the airport
Once again, it seems, half the population of Qatar are getting ready to leave the country. If you are like me, your thoughts may turn to everything that has gone wrong in the past, or nearly went wrong, or could go wrong in the future... In any case, as we have not done a post on travel insurance for Qatar residents since 2007 , here is an update.

Qatar Travel Insurance

We last looked at this in 2007 in our post Qatar Travel Insurance, when we recommended Columbus Direct. At the time we felt Qatar Insurance Co., though far cheaper, did not offer sufficient cover. In addition, Qatar Insurance are rather inflexible - having booked and paid for travel insurance you can not change the dates of the insurance; your only option is to take out a new trip.

Qatar HSBC Travel Insurance

Another alternative is HSBC travel insurance. They offer travel insurance for "around" QAR20 a month, offered via the AMG Memsa insurance company. This does seem to be excellent value. However, I don't think the maximum cover ($50,000) is really sufficient - the British Foreign Office say that air ambulance back to the UK can cost up to £45,000 (currently around $75,000). However, if you feel $50,000 is sufficient you can ring them on +974 442 4722.

World Nomads

A major factor in my own choice of travel insurance is ease of booking. I don't want to have to visit HSBC or Qatar insurance, find a parking space, walk through the summer heat and then sit around twiddling my thumbs for an hour. So one insurance company I am checking out this year, again on recommendation, is World Nomads, which can be booked online, came to me recommended by a friend and are also the chosen providers for Lonely Planet.

This company offer rather better coverage, with a maximum cover of $300,000. Family cover is rather more expensive than some of the other options, coming to $314 for a two month vacation. One thing I liked about the policy was that you can cover longer holidays. I also really liked the interface, which was extremely quick and very easy to use.

However, reviews of the company on The Review Center have been rather mixed. It is difficult to know with reviews - I found one user complaining (on a different review site) because his lost binoculars hadn't been replaced; obviously this would not be greater than the excess. I also found no mention of legal fees on their website.

Columbus Direct

For the same period of time (two months) Columbus Direct offered insurance for a family of four (two adults two children) for $405. Annual insurance came in at $356.29, but only up to 60 days. As always with Columbus, it is difficult to find out how much they cover you for, which is silly because it is actually very generous. When I finally rang them (no reply to my email) they offered $10 million in travel insurance and $10,000 in legal expenses.

(Update - Columbus Direct have now replied to my email, telling me that you have to go through the quotation system before you can details of coverage.)

The website isn't as easy to use, but for the additional cover I think I will go with Columbus this time. Again, reviews have been mixed - just be careful to take any receipts for medical treatment.

Your Thoughts?

If you have any alternatives you could recommend, please leave them below! (Affiliate/self promotional links will not be published - we want genuine customer recommendations.)

Also see: Life Insurance in Qatar

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