A million pounds a day - the cost of mishaps abroad


Travel insurers are paying out £1 million a day to cover the costs of mishaps such as cancelled trips and medical treatment abroad, according to industry figures.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that, last year, its members paid out £365 million to people who needed help when they were abroad. 

The average medical expenses claim paid was more than £1,200, and the average cancellation claim was £800.

The main cost of claims was for emergency medical treatment, with insurers paying more than £196 million on related expenses. More than 166,000 travellers claimed for medical treatment.

Insurers also paid out £128 million to cover the cost of cancelled holidays and £16 million to cover the cost of lost baggage and money while travelling.

The ABI said that, despite the payouts, previous research from travel association ABTA has found that more than one in five people still risk travelling uninsured.

Mark Shepherd, manager for general insurance at the ABI, said: "Holidays are meant to be enjoyable and relaxing, but they can be traumatic for some travellers who become ill or are injured abroad.

"Medical treatment in foreign countries can cost tens of thousands, which is why it's essential to have a travel insurance policy that will cover you, should you need it. Travel insurers pay £1 million a day for cancelled trips or to cover medical costs and offer support during an emergency abroad.

"There is a wide range of policies available, so it's important to shop around to find a policy that meets your needs, and be aware that a cheap policy is not right for everyone."

Here are some travel insurance tips from the ABI:

:: Shop around. Policies vary to suit different needs and the cheapest policy may not cover all that you need.

:: Make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling in Europe. It is not a substitute for travel insurance, but is free and gives access to state-provided healthcare on the same basis as a resident.

:: Act responsibly. Generally, travel insurance policies will not cover accidents if someone has not taken reasonable care or has had excessive amounts of alcohol.

:: Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice and information pages for your destination before you travel.

:: Declare medical conditions.Tell your insurer about any medical conditions when you take out a travel insurance policy.

:: Make sure you take note of your insurer's emergency phone number. If something happens when you're on holiday and you need to make a claim, call your insurer first.