Who does the travel agent work for?

In my experience, travel agents want to give you the best deal, provide handy advice and arrange visas. After organizing a big trip you come away with the impression that they are working for you and I feel uncomfortable about looking elsewhere for travel insurance. However in the last few years I have been offered insurance from a company that scored poorly in Choice’s review of travel insurance policies. So are travel agents just working for whoever offers the best kickbacks? Should the travel agent tell you when offering travel insurance from their default company A that you will get a better deal and less hassle with a claim from companies B and C? I will in future, get a second quote.


That’s a good question. I agree in general most travel agents are working for you, particularly the small business travel agents. And it’s also important that they recommend you get travel insurance - the right travel insurance for you.

But I understand travel agents get 35-40% commission on travel insurance sales. So it’s worth questioning whether the travel insurance they’re offering is best for you.


I seldom use travel agents and never ever accept their travel insurance. In my experience I have always found a better deal by doing a simple internet search. You do however have to read all the small print to make sure you are covered for all the activities you actually might want to do where ever you go and not rely on the convenient tick lists they give you up front. Doing a bit of research can save you money in the long run, and don’t forget you can always go back to the travel agent later if you wish.


That’s a generous kickback. I can see now why the agent can offer me a small “discount” as incentive to sign up to their travel insurance. This nexus between travel agent and insurance company cannot be healthy for competition.


We are lucky that we have Choice which independently reviews a wide range of travel insurance policies, and which ones are cost effective (Member content)…

One just needs to resist the hard insurance onselling by travel agents, as it is unlikely to be the best or cheapest option.

1 Like

Travel agents work for themselves and their commissions. You’re almost always better off doing it yourself (except in the most complex of itineraries). Most of the time if something goes wrong you’re on your own anyway - and adding the travel agent layer makes it much more difficult (as well as extra fees) if you need to change things.