One in five travellers do not take out travel insurance, according to recent ABTA survey. Reporting the results of the 2011 ABTA Consumer Trends survey at The Travel Convention in Palma, ABTA said that the reason for this statistic may be that many Brits mistakenly believe that the UK government will cover their bills. Twenty-one percent of respondents overall, and 25 percent 15-24 year olds, think that this is the case.
Seventeen percent also believe that travel insurance is unnecessary when travelling in Europe if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which provides access to basic state medical care, and a further 26 percent mistakenly believe that an EHIC card will cover their repatriation costs.
John de Vial, ABTA’s head of financial protection said; “It is very worrying that so many people are putting their health and finances at risk by travelling abroad without insurance. Many wrongly assume that it is the Foreign Office’s responsibility to pay for their hospital bills, particularly younger travellers. In the current economic climate customers should be careful to purchase insurance at the time of booking their holiday to obtain cancellation cover for redundancy as well as any potential illness prior to travelling.”
Lynda St Cooke of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office added; “We remain very concerned at the numbers of people travelling without comprehensive travel insurance and then ending up severely out of pocket. If British travellers get into difficulties overseas, there are things the nearest British Embassy or Consulate can do, including contacting friends and family for them, and giving them information on how to safely transfer money from the UK. But consular staff cannot pay hospital bills for British travellers, nor fly them home if they run out of holiday money.”
Less than a half of consumers, 44 percent, purchased travel insurance for trips within the UK, while 68 percent think that travel insurance is more important for trips abroad than in the UK.