ABTA, the UK’s trade association for tour operators and travel agents, recently revealed some worrying new research. They found that 25% of those jetting abroad in 2016 travelled without insurance, which represents an increase of 3% on the previous year.
The research unveiled 18 – 34 year olds to be the biggest culprits. 49% of 18 to 24-year-old holidaymakers in 2016 travelled abroad uninsured, as did 38% of those between 25 and 34 years of age. This is an increase of 31% when placing both groups together compared to the previous years’ results.
Why Are Travellers Going Uninsured?
The research found that 36% of respondents believed they did not need to invest in insurance when they went abroad. This was the main reason people gave as to why they holidayed uninsured however, 22% gave a more worrying answer. This fraction of people stated travelling uninsured was a risk they were willing to take.
Why Should Holidaymakers Invest in Travel Insurance?
Whether indulging in some winter sun or travelling for a number of months comprehensive travel insurance is a must. Taking out insurance helps you avoid costly medical bills and guarantees you the best level of care if something does go wrong when you are abroad. ABTA Chief Executive Mike Tanzer commented, “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.” He continues, “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 is part of the Travel Aware team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also known as the FCO. They promote the UK’s interests overseas and support citizens and businesses globally. Ms Crown highlighted that the FCO are not able to fly holidaymakers home or foot any medical bills on an individual’s behalf. Her advice to holidaymakers is, “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.”
Director of Expatriate Group, Lee Gerry, commented, “What many people don’t realise is that the EHIC doesn’t provide full cover against the cost of treatment overseas. For instance, the cost of treatment to be transferred to a hospital in your home country would likely be out of your own pocket and can run to many tens of thousands of pounds.”