Holiday giant Going Places has been strongly criticised for the relatively poor value of its travel cover, which excludes legal expenses claims against the tour operator, travel agent and the underwriter White Horse Insurance.

The attack comes as research from internet insurance provider Screentrade shows consumers are paying millions of pounds more than they need for travel cover.

Screentrade editor-in-chief Paul Charles said: “It is outrageous that some travel agents take commissions of up to 60% on their travel insurance.”

David Toser, director of independent loss adjusters Claims Ex, identified a number of alleged shortcomings in Going Places' standard and gold travel cover.

This is despite reassuring claims in its 15-page policy that “there is someone you can fall back on to stop the whole thing becoming a disaster” and “the following pages are your safety net”.

Among the findings made by Toser is that the higher grade gold cover offers only a maximum £300 pay-out for lost or stolen valuables.

No cover is available under the standard policy for personal items lost or stolen after being left unattended in a public place or for items stolen from baggage while in transit.

The legal expenses cover is offered in the form of a loan up to £10,000 (£50,000 under the gold cover) repayable from any compensation awarded.

Complaints are handled by the Dublin-based insurer White Horse and not the Insurance Ombudsman, who can only adjudicate in cases involving UK resident insurers.

Despite this, the policy gives the assurance that White Horse is “an active supporter of the Association of British Insurers' general business code of practice”.

Toser says: “The cover proved to be pretty poor when compared with most other travel policies. These would generally have higher cover limits and provide proper legal expenses cover rather than a loan.”

He said travel insurance customers would be better off buying their cover from a reputable broker rather than Going Places.

But, he stressed many customers often lost out because they did not read further than the first page or so of the policy document.

A spokeswoman for Going Places said its travel insurance offered an appropriate level of cover.

She added that if its cover was unsuitable, customers could seek alternative insurance or take advantage of its seven-day cooling off period and claim a refund.