24th October 2014
One in five holidaymakers are travelling overseas without travel insurance, with ABTA blaming the lack of insurance on regulatory changes.
A total of 22% of people now travel abroad uninsured, an increase from 19% in 2013, according to travel association ABTA.
The trend is being driven by younger travellers, with 35% of 16-to-24 year-olds and 36% of 25-to-34 year-olds failing to buy insurance.
Younger people take the risk as they believe the UK government will pay for their treatment and rely on the European Health Insurance Card to cover the cost of any treatment. A total of 29% of 16-to-24 year-olds and 31% of 25-to-34 year-olds sad they do not want to spend the money on insurance and cost is the principal reason they don’t take out travel insurance.
However, ABTA argued that comprehensive annual policies are available for as little as £60 while medical costs can run into thousands of pounds.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, blamed the falling take up of travel insurance on changes to regulation in 2007.
‘It is a worrying trend that we are seeing an increase in the number of people travelling overseas uninsured,’ he said. ‘Younger travellers are driving this increase through a mixture of misunderstandings and desire to save money.
‘ABTA and its members have expressed concern that the regulations mean fewer travel businesses are selling insurance at the point of sale, and ultimately this appears to have resulted in fewer holidaymakers taking out the appropriate insurance.’
In 2007 regulations around the sale of travel insurance as an ancillary product were introduced. The Treasury widened the powers of the financial ombudsman to look at travel insurance providers and the financial regulator was also given power to scrutinise travel agents who sell insurance. The changes were based on fears that holidaymakers were being sold cheap insurance policies that were not offering the cover they needed.