Insurers give gay couples an even break

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Gay couples and unmarried heterosexual partners can often have problems getting the discounts available to the married on annual travel insurance policies, writes Steve Lodge. These discounts often amount to a couple paying just one-and-a-half times the single person's rate.

Worldwide Travel Insurance, in Tonbridge, Kent, is offering a policy which gives gay people and the unmarried the same discounts as the married - meaning a couple pay pounds 89 for its standard annual policy compared with pounds 65 for a single person. Its new policy also offers discounts - on its usual price for a family - for single-parent families.

Sacha Bonner-Williams, a director at Worldwide, said: "Such discrimination is clearly wrong. Gay couples are more likely to have a dual income and no dependents and as a result have the means to take more than one holiday a year," - thus making them potential buyers of annual policies. She said Worldwide has not experienced higher claims from gay people than from the married, so it saw no reason to discriminate by charging higher premiums.

The company offers two versions of its policy: the standard policy does not have winter sports cover and is for any number of trips of up to 31 days long; the super version includes 17 days' winter sports cover and trips of up to 62 days. The super version costs pounds 75 a year for individuals, pounds 109 for couples.

WorldCover Direct is another insurer that offers gay couples and the unmarried the same discount as the married. Couples must be resident at the same address, in which case its standard rate is pounds 110, compared with pounds 75 each if the couple bought separately.

Freddie Townsend of insurance brokers Torview in Wallington, Surrey, said some travel insurers are loathe to insure gay men at all, while on car insurance gay people are also excluded from the discounts available for being married.

q Contacts: Worldwide Travel Insurance 01732-773 366; WorldCover Direct 0800-365 121; Torview Insurance Services 0181-395 4411.