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Nearly a third of young British holidaymakers shun travel insurance despite the risks of big medical bills

03 July 2013

Nearly a third (30%)* of young British travellers could be putting themselves at risk of hefty medical bills by failing to arrange travel insurance for their trips abroad.

The new research from comparison site Gocompare.com also revealed that nearly a third (31%) of 18 to 24 year old travellers believe that they don't really need travel insurance when abroad and 46% don't always remember to arrange travel insurance for their holiday.
Half (50%) of the 18 to 24 year olds who responded to the survey also believe that insurers hardly ever pay out for travel insurance although only 4% had actually had a claim turned down themselves.
Just over 1 in 10 (11%) British holidaymakers will go abroad this year without taking out travel insurance despite the risk of incurring big medical bills and in the most severe cases, the sky high cost of medical repatriation. Examples of actual claims made through travel insurers on the Gocompare.com panel include:

  • One night in a ward of a private Spanish hospital - £800
  • Treatment for a broken ankle in Tenerife - £7,000
  • Treatment for multiple injuries after being hit by a car in Greece - £21,000
  • One night in an intensive care unit in the USA - £7,000
  • Jet air ambulance from the Canaries to the UK - £23,000
  • Jet air ambulance from the West Coast of the USA to the UK - £53,000

Caroline Lloyd, travel insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "The cost of medical treatment abroad can easily run into hundreds if not thousands of pounds and even an EHIC doesn't protect you from big medical bills in participating countries if you're taken to a privately run hospital or clinic rather than a state run medical centre.
"Young tourists who don't have travel insurance and are unfortunate enough to have a major accident or fall seriously ill abroad may find themselves stuck thousands of miles from home, clocking up massive medical bills with no way to get home. The British Government will not foot the bill for repatriating ill or injured holidaymakers so young people without travel insurance may have to rely on their friends and family to raise the thousands of pounds it will cost to get them transferred back to a UK hospital by air ambulance.
"When you consider that a 20 year old holidaying in Europe for a week in July can get £10m of medical expenses cover with just a £50 excess for as little as £6.51** it's pretty clear that skimping on your travel insurance just isn't worth the risk."
For more information on travel insurance, Gocompare.com has created a range of guides that available at: www.gocompare.com/travel-insurance/guide/

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Notes to editors:

On the 19th-23rd April 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,015 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*Applies to 18-24 year olds who have travelled abroad in the last 5 years.

**A 20 year old travelling for one week in July 2013 with European cover was quoted £6.51 for ERV Express Lite cover offering £10m medical expenses cover, £750 baggage cover and £1000 cancellation cover, all with a £50 excess. Assumes no pre-existing medical conditions.