Colossal claims costs

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According to new figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), in 2016 insurance payouts were the highest they have been since 2010, with £1 million paid out to travellers each day.

The ABI found that, at £199 million, payments for emergency medical treatment account for over half (54 per cent) of all claims.

The ABI said that, despite the relatively low expense of travel insurance, one in four travellers still travel without it. Ahead of the summer holiday season, the company has highlighted why travel insurance is essential.

According to the ABI’s analysis of claims paid last year by travel insurers, £370 million – equating to £1 million every day – was paid to help 480,000 travellers and their families who needed help abroad. This was the highest amount paid since 2010, the association said, when disruption caused by the Icelandic ash cloud pushed claims costs to an all-time high. The ABI believes the increase in claims costs was mainly due to increasing costs of emergency medical treatment.

The ABI also found that 154,000 travellers needing emergency medical treatment were helped by insurers, at a cost of £199 million. Furthermore, £130 million was paid out on 159,000 claims for cancelled holidays, and £17 million was paid on 83,000 claims for baggage and money lost while travelling.

Lastly, the ABI discovered that the cost of the average annual travel insurance policy is £37, compared to the average medical claim of £1,300 and the average cancellation claim of £816, while single trip policies can be cheaper.

“Travel insurance is not a nice thing to have but should be an essential purchase. Insurers support and help thousands of travellers and their families should the worst happen, paying nearly nine in ten claims that are made,” commented Mark Shepherd, assistant director, head of property at the ABI.

Shepherd’s advice to consumers is to shop around for the policy that meets their needs, and remember that the cheapest policy may not be the best for them.