Holidaymakers at risk by not taking out insurance -

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New research commissioned by shows that millions of holiday makers don’t buy travel insurance when they travel overseas and many also risk having claims turned down because they fail to declare medical conditions when they do buy travel insurance.

Costs of travel insurance with and without medical problems

Cost of travel insurance with and without medical problems

Travellers need to choose their insurance carefully and make sure they know what is and isn't covered and answer any questions asked truthfully.

Almost three million people go on holiday without buying travel insurance. Without insurance travellers risk being left out of pocket if something goes wrong.

And almost 30% of people who have common health conditions, such as, diabetes, asthma or epilepsy, are unaware that they need to declare their medical conditions when they buy travel insurance.

This is of real concern because it could cost thousands of pounds for medical treatment on holiday overseas - the average cost of travel insurance medical claims is around £2,000. For example, it could cost up to £100,000 for a heart attack or stroke in the US, or £10,000 to £20,000 for an injury or allergic reaction in the EU.

However, there is good news for holiday makers in that some travel insurers will actually cover a medical problem without charging an additional premium. Or if premiums are increased, it may not be as expensive as people might expect. And of course it will mean that they will be able to claim back the cost of medical expenses if they are taken ill on holiday.

Beth Macer, travel insurance expert at, says:

"Few of us have a perfect medical history. But as a result of failing to declare medical problems when we buy travel insurance millions of people face having medical insurance claims turned down for medical treatment and repatriation The good news is that it may not be as expensive as people think to be covered for their medical problems."

"Travellers need to choose their insurance carefully and make sure they know what is and isn't covered and answer any questions asked truthfully."

"With you can quickly and easily search for the right insurance policy taking into account your medical conditions. Other online travel insurance searches don’t take your medical conditions into account when giving you quotes. So what you actually end up paying may be much higher."

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1.    36,160,000 holidays made overseas in 2012 by UK residents from Office of National Statistics Overseas Travel and Tourism Monthly Release December 2012 ( From research 7.8% of people don’t buy travel insurance. The number of people that don’t buy travel insurance for a foreign holiday is: 7.8% x 36,160,000 = 2,820,480.
2.    From research 29.9% of people are unaware that they had to declare their health condition when buying travel insurance.
3.    Example costs of medical treatment overseas from Association of British Insurers ( July 2010 and April 2011, and Foreign & Commonwealth Office ( Feb 2013.
4.    From research 11.4% of people rarely read the small print when booking travel insurance.

The market research was carried out for by Atomik Research using an online survey of 1,000 men and women aged 18 to 65.

Table Notes: Premiums for 40 year old for travel - 15th March to 22nd March 2013 from Comparable cover.

a)    Controlled with Insulin. Non-smoker. With high blood pressure controlled by 1 medicine. Dose has been increased in last 6 months and on medication to reduce cholesterol. No unplanned hospital admission in last year.
b)    Loses consciousness during fits. 1 to 3 fits in last 6 months. Controlled with 1 medication. No unplanned hospital admission in last year. First fit 6 to 12 months ago.
c)    Slipped disc affecting back and neck that interferes with daily life in last 5 years. 1 medicine. No unplanned hospital admissions in last 2 years, 6ft and less than 18st 6lb. Has seen osteopath in last 5 years. No pain relief patches in last year.

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Michael Ward
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