Younger travellers most likely to go abroad uninsured
ABTA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are warning about the dangers of travelling overseas without travel insurance as new research* released today by ABTA reveals that 22% of people now travel uninsured. Alarmingly, the number of people who stated that they had taken an overseas trip without travel insurance in 2014 has risen from 19% in 2013. This worrying trend is being driven by younger travellers with over a third (35%) of 16-24 year olds and 36% of 25-34 year olds saying that didn’t take out insurance.
Younger people are significantly more likely to risk travelling overseas without insurance; this is driven by a number of different factors:
They think the Government will pay
One in five (19%) of 16-24 year olds and almost a quarter (23%) of 25-34 year olds think travel insurance is unnecessary as the UK Government will pay for their treatment if they fall ill overseas. The FCO will provide consular assistance to sick and injured UK citizens but will never pay medical bills.
They rely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
A quarter (25%) of 16-24 year olds and 23% 25-34 year olds say they don’t need insurance in Europe when they have a European Health Insurance Card. Although useful to have, EHIC cards have their limitations. They are only accepted in state not private hospitals. Standards in state hospitals can be lower than in the UK and not all state medical services throughout the European Union are provided free of charge. In addition if an air ambulance back to the UK is required, the costs will run into thousands of pounds as this is not covered by the EHIC.
They don’t want to spend money on insurance
Three in ten (29%) of 16-24 year olds and 31% of 25-34 year olds say that cost is the principal reason they don’t take out travel insurance. With comprehensive annual policies available for as little as £60 and the potential for medical costs to run into thousands of pounds, this is very much a false economy.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “It is a worrying trend that we are seeing an increase in the number of people travelling overseas uninsured. Younger travellers are driving this increase through a mixture of misunderstandings and a desire to save money. Comprehensive travel insurance is available for relatively small amounts and medical bills can quickly mount up to thousands of pounds, so travelling uninsured can prove to be a very costly mistake.”
Sher Houston from the Know Before You Go Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We want people to enjoy their holidays but our research shows young people are risking thousands of pounds in medical bills by travelling without an insurance policy that covers them for everything they want to do abroad – including the more risky activities they wouldn’t usually try at home. The FCO cannot pay medical bills if you are hospitalised abroad or fly you home. Take out a comprehensive insurance policy and check what it covers you for. It may be an added expense at the time but it’s a worthwhile investment if you compare it to what you could end up paying if something goes wrong on holiday”.
For more information visit www.abta.com/travelinsurance
Notes to editors
*Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2001 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2014. Fieldwork was conducted in July 2014.