One-fifth of Brits holiday abroad uninsured
by Gill Montia
Story link: One-fifth of Brits holiday abroad uninsured
One in five British holidaymakers are crossing borders uninsured and running the risk of sky-high medical bills.
According to the 2011 ABTA Consumer Trends survey, 21% of Brits abroad with no insurance believe that the UK Government will cover their bills in the event of a mishap, with one in four 15 to 24-year-olds suffering from this particular illusion.
Seventeen per cent of respondents relied solely on a European Health Insurance Card when travelling in Europe, despite the card providing access to basic state medical care only, and a further 26% mistakenly believed that the card covers repatriation costs.
ABTA head of financial protection, John de Vial, describes the findings as “very worrying”, adding: “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.”
Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson, Lynda St Cooke, advises that British travellers who get into difficulties will receive help from their nearest British Embassy or Consulate but only in terms of contacting friends and family, and advice on transferring money from the UK to alleviate their plight.
Hospital bills and flights home for those taken poorly overseas are definitely outside the British Embassy remit.
ABTA’s research also indicates that only 44% of Britons holidaying in the UK purchase travel insurance, leaving the remainder at risk of losing their money should they have to cancel because of illness or redundancy.