Almost 10m Brits travelled without the correct insurance cover in the past 12 months, says the Association of British Travel Agents 

In the past 12 months, almost 10m Brits who travelled abroad have gone without the correct travel insurance cover took part in activities which were not covered, or simply went without any insurance at all.

New research from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) shows that many British holidaymakers jetting off this year could be putting themselves at risk by travelling without the necessary travel insurance.

According to the report, more than a fifth (22%) of people reported to not travelling with any insurance at all, over a quarter (27%) have failed to inform their insurance companies of pre-existing conditions, or have not checked to see if the activities they were taking part in while away were covered.

ABTA is urging holidaymakers to take out travel insurance which covers their circumstances and the activities they are planning to do, which will avoid potentially costly medical bills should something go wrong.

According to the report, the most common reason for travelling without insurance was that people felt they didn’t need it.

For almost a third of people who didn’t buy travel insurance (29%), the cost was a barrier and 15% said that they received insurance through their bank account, but ABTA urged people to make sure their coverage is sufficient for their planned activities.

While the average cost of a travel insurance claim is £1,296, the cost of medical treatment or repatriation can run into thousands of pounds, leaving people vulnerable abroad.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive said: “Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without sufficient travel insurance. While many people are still choosing not to take out travel insurance at all, others are travelling unaware that their insurance policy is not protecting them as they expect.

“While not declaring existing medical conditions or taking part in activities that aren’t covered are easy mistakes to make, they can be very costly, leaving holidaymakers and their families with expensive medical bills which run into thousands of pounds.

“I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out travel insurance and check that it covers their circumstances and holiday plans.”

Susan Crown from the Travel Aware team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “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. It’s important to know that the FCO cannot pay medical bills if you are hospitalised abroad nor can we fly you home.

”Make sure to take out an appropriate insurance policy and know what it covers. It may feel like an added expense but the costs of not being insured could be many thousands of pounds. We’d like to see all British holidaymakers enjoying their holiday safe in the knowledge that they are covered if anything goes wrong”.