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The FCO Urge Holiday-makers to “Pack their policy”

With many people looking forward to their summer holiday it is interesting to know that 24% of Brits travel abroad without any travel insurance and this figure is even higher for 15-24 year olds at 48%.  This is a real concern as in 2011/2012 3,793 Brits were hospitalised abroad which works out as 10 per day.1

Armed with these worrying statistics the ABTA and FCO are urging travelers to “pack their policy” as part of their “ know before you go” campaign.2

False sense of security

Research by ABTA and the FCO1 found that 16% of people felt that travel insurance was unnecessary as the UK government would foot the bill if they needed treatment abroad and 17% believed that the European Health Insurance Card made travel insurance surplus to requirements within the EU.

Reading the policy documentation

Even more concerning is that whilst 82% of young people surveyed said that they would engage in more risky activities whilst on holiday such as sky diving, quad biking or jet-skiing, only 45% checked that their insurance would cover such pursuits.  Even older holiday makers don’t check the small print on their policy; 50% didn’t check that they were covered before engaging in adventurous activities.

With an increasing number of people buying insurance online it is important to stress that you should always read the documentation of any insurance policy to check what you are and are not covered for to avoid nasty and expensive surprises. The FCO reports1 that the average medical claim from holiday insurance is £914 but costs can be much higher.  The average post office personal accident claim is for £7,500 and repatriation from some EU countries by air ambulance can cost £16,000 and would not be covered by the European Health Insurance Card.


Travel insurance can also cover you against theft of your passport or baggage.  Nearly 30,000 British passports are stolen each year and with the increase in devices such as smart phones, Kindles and iPods being taken on holiday, the average tourist is a major target for theft. Petty crime is on the rise in EU countries with high levels of youth unemployment such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy3.

Tourists need to keep their wits about them especially in crowded tourist hot-spots where pick pocketing is rife.  They should also check that their travel insurance covers personal items, items stored in cars and the maximum cover per item.

1. FCO (2013) Travel Insurance Facts. Available from: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/206692/Insurance_Infographic_v5.pdf

2. FCO (2012)Know Before You Go. Available from: abta.com/news-and-views/press-zone/brits-unaware-of-medical-costs-abroad

3. Hunter (2013) Tourists warned on travel insurance as European crime soars. Available from: www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/insurance/10115060/Tourists-warned-on-travel-insurance-as-European-crime-soars.html

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