Thursday, 8 August 2013 7:58 AM
With the summer holidays well underway and an estimated 14 million Brits travelling abroad from July to September, ABTA – The Travel Association – is urging them to take out travel insurance if they haven’t already done so.
Research has shown that the number of Brits travelling abroad without insurance is on the rise, even though one in five (19 per cent) Brits have visited a doctor or hospital abroad and over two in five (42 per cent) think the contents of their suitcase would be worth more than £500 for a two week holiday.
Further research carried out for ABTA by ComRes shows that over half (57 per cent) of MPs think that government should do more to encourage people to take out travel insurance. Conservative MPs are the least likely to feel that government should do more to encourage people to take out travel insurance with 49 per cent agreeing with this statement, compared to 61 per cent of Labour MPs and 68 per cent of Liberal Democrat MPs.
ABTA’s research also suggests some MPs may hold government responsible for the decline in the number of people taking out travel insurance. 1 in 5 (18 per cent) MPs believe that it is government regulation of travel insurance that has resulted in fewer customers purchasing travel insurance. Two in five (38 per cent) older MPs, think this is the case.
MPs are more likely than the general public to take out travel insurance when they travel abroad (80 per cent) always take out a travel insurance policy). However, many MPs appear to be unsure what travel insurance covers them for. Compared to 17 per cent of the general public, a quarter (25 per cent) of MPs think the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a suitable substitute for a travel insurance policy, when in reality it only provides access to basic state medical care and will never cover the costs of repatriation to the UK nor lost or damaged belongings. One in five MPs (19%) also mistakenly think that purchasing a flight or holiday on your credit card is a substitute for travel insurance, with 42 per cent of London MPs believing this. Credit cards typically only provide protection for certain aspects of your booking and won’t cover full medical expenses or repatriation.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive commented: “It is alarming that the number of people travelling abroad uninsured is on the rise and so it is good to see MPs acknowledging that government should do more to address this. In recent years government legislation has made it more difficult for travel businesses to sell travel insurance, which we believe has contributed to the rise in numbers travelling uninsured. Medical bills can run into thousands of pounds, so government must do all that it can to encourage people to take our insurance and make it easy for them to get the right kind of cover for their needs.”
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