According to new research for ABTA, UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents, one-quarter of holidaymakers travelled abroad without insurance last year, representing an increase of three per cent compared to the previous year. The research found that 49 per cent of people aged 18-24 and 38 per cent of people aged 25-34 travelled abroad uninsured in the 12 months to May 2017, an increase from the previous year, during which 31 per cent of both age groups travelled abroad uninsured.
The main reason for travelling uninsured, the research found, was travellers’ belief that they did not need it (36 per cent), while 22 per cent said that travelling uninsured was a risk they were willing to take.
With the summer holidays approaching, ABTA has advised those planning to travel to take out insurance to avoid potentially costly medical bills in the event that something goes wrong. “Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without insurance. Often their families have to raise thousands of pounds for their treatment or repatriation and that’s why it is so worrying to see an increase in younger people travelling without insurance,” commented ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer. “Rather than having to resort to the kindness of strangers, holidaymakers should make sure that they have the right insurance in place. I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out an insurance policy this summer.”
Susan Crown from the Travel Aware team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) highlighted that the FCO cannot pay medical bills if holidaymakers are hospitalised abroad nor fly them home. “Take out an appropriate insurance policy and make sure you know what it covers you for. It may feel like an added expense but it’s very worthwhile if you compare it to what you could end up paying if something goes wrong on holiday,” she advised holidaymakers.