Financial tech firm Revolut has launched a pay-per-day travel insurance policy that is automatically triggered by geolocation technology in your smartphone.

Cover starts from 99p per day while travelling in Europe. 

But is this really the future of travel insurance – getting rid of the need to take out a policy ahead of a trip? 

Geolocation: The tool uses your smartphone location to trigger cover automatically

Geolocation: The tool uses your smartphone location to trigger cover automatically

Here’s everything you need to know about this ‘smart’ travel insurance policy. 

Who’s the provider?

Revolut is a ‘digital challenger’ – which calls itself a banking alternative – and it has already branched out into some unusual new areas, including a cryptocurrency trading via its app. But it’s now set its sights on disrupting the travel insurance market.  

Its policies are underwritten by Thomas Cook Money, issued through its White Horse Insurance brand.

What’s included? 

It only offers medical and dental cover, so you won’t get baggage or cancellation insurance and the policy on’t extend cover beyond basic pre-existing medical conditions. This is all reflected in the seemingly cheap starting price of 99p per day in Europe. 

Other Revolut services

The company already offers two ‘bank account’ options – a free and premium version costing £6.99 per month.

They give you an account number and sort code, let you make payments and can accept salary deposits but they are not current accounts. 

Importantly, they are only a prepaid card in effect – with no FSCS protection.

Client funds are stored under a segregated account with Lloyds however.

Similarly to the likes of Monzo and Starling Bank, accounts can be opened via its app and offer perks including fee-free spending and withdrawals abroad (up to £200 or £400 per month depending on which account you have).

The app categorises your transactions and lets you send money instantly using mobile numbers.

A unique perk, however, is that users can send money to 120 different countries without loading the exchange rate. 

As already mentioned, other strings to the two-year old bank alternative’s bow include cryptocurrencies support, device insurance and loans.

Policies come with a £75 excess to pay and £15 million of medical cover and £300 of dental cover, which only covers immediate pain relief. 

It covers you for emergency rescue, additional transport and accommodation costs for you and one relative or friend and any children who has to remain behind with you. 

It will also pay out for return travel if you cannot use your booked transport. 

Cover starts when you leave your home country, or you activate it via the app while abroad and it lasts for 40 days continuously or ends when you return home. 

There is a list of medical conditions covered automatically but any others are excluded if they existed when you bought the cover, booked the trip or at the start of the trip.

How does it work? 

Instead of paying an annual premium or taking out a policy that covers one trip, Revolut charges for each day you travel.  

The tool uses your smartphone to pinpoint your location and automatically switches cover on when you are abroad, with different fees according to where in the world you are. 

Users can also upgrade cover for winter sports or add people on the go instantly through the app. You can read more about the policy limits and pricing below.

So how much will you pay? 

Cover costs from 99p to £1.50 per day with Revolut but how much you pay depends on where you travel and your age (see table below).

Its research claims the average customer spends 13 days each year abroad – anyone using a pay-per-day policy would therefore handover £12.87 each year, only paying for the days they are abroad.

Geographical coverage Age  Cost  Cost to add a child     Cost to add winter sports
Europe 18-70 99p 50p    75p
71-84 £5.50 50p   £4.00
North America 18-70 £1.50 50p    £1.25
71-84 £12 50p    £8
Rest of World 18-70  £1.25 50p    £1
71-84 £8 50p    £5.50
Global annual cover 18-70 £30 £10    £25

Of course, for those who travel more frequently, or outside Europe, the cost may not stack up against a standard annual travel policy from another insurer, so there is an annual cap of £30 per year.

Alternatively, you can choose to pay the £30 upfront for a global annual policy, but this is only available if you are under 71 years old.

Those with one of the bank’s Premium ‘bank accounts’ (costing £6.99 per month) get the same cover for free. Though it has to be pointed out that these accounts are more of a prepaid card than current account and are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation scheme. See box above right for more information.

What happens if you lose your phone?

Cover kicks in when your mobile connects to the internet abroad to provide your location to Revoult. But what happens if your phone breaks, gets lost or stolen or runs out of power?

Instant: Update your cover levels instantly

Instant: Update your cover levels instantly

Activate: Start your policy with a single tap

Activate: Start your policy with a single tap

Smart: You can update your cover levels and take out cover within the Revolut app 

Revolut says: ‘Once you are connected to the internet we will continue to cover you until you reconnect to the internet back in your home country – so if the worst happens to your phone, your insurance will remain active until you get in touch with us to cancel the insurance. 

‘In order to meet our conditions of cover, you will need to connect to the internet (via WiFi or GPS) within the first eight hours of landing and make sure that you take your phone on holiday.’

Therefore, you won’t be covered unless it logs your location initially. 

Who can take out a policy? 

It covers anyone under the age of 84 years of age. But if you want to take out annual cover you must be under 70. 

The policy documents stipulate you must not be travelling against medical advice. 

If you do have a complicated medical history this is likely not the policy for you.   

This is Money’s verdict:

It’s an interesting concept, most likely designed for millennials or younger travellers who want basic cover. 

A pay-as-you-go approach does seem to make more sense than shelling out for a whole year only to travel for a fraction of it. But the are some dangers in only opting for basic cover, despite the convenience.  

We asked Brian Brown, head of insight for banking and general insurance at Defaqto, for his expert view. He said: ‘This new policy is quite restrictive compared to most travel policies on our system. In comparison with other providers, there are around a dozen single-trip policies that are medical cover only (out of 943 policies).’

Aside from the limits of cover, Brian also saw some potential problems with the policy. There is no medical screening, just a list of pre-existing conditions covered – everything else is excluded and you have no way to be medically screened.

Brown continues: ‘There is no curtailment cover – i.e. if your trip is cut short due to illness you will not be compensated for any lost holiday costs (although it will pay for travel costs to get you home if medically necessary, or if you miss your return flight). 

‘Personally, I think the Revolut concept is quite novel, and pay-as-you-go pricing (99p a day) is reasonably cheap for shorter trips, although for trips to Europe it is no cheaper than more fully featured policies. For longer trips this becomes a bit pricier, and you’d be better off with a more traditional annual travel policy.’

‘If this appeals to anyone it will be for the younger, frequent traveller, who books everything by credit card so can cope with the cancellation risk, but who wants the reassurance of having medical cover.’

‘I can also see concerned parents getting their kids to turn this on with their Revolut account, just as a backstop in case the kids forget to buy their own travel insurance. 

‘Many parents will ensure their children have Revolut cards anyway when they’re abroad, because it’s a really convenient way of sending them cash when they run out.’ 




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