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The £370 million reason why travel insurance is essential

Do travel insurers pay out? How often do British travellers need to claim on their travel insurance policies? Jaw-dropping data from the Association of British Insurers proves that travel insurance is more important than ever. 

The ‘it-will-never-happen-to-me’ way of thinking: as British an institution as tea and cake. And of course when there’s an exciting holiday to look forward to, it’s easy to slip into the mindset that unexpected mishaps are what happen to other people - not you.

The problem is that to everyone else, you are those other people.

Travel insurance claims: more common than you may have thought

The Association of British Insurers has revealed how frequently British travellers needed to claim on their travel insurance policies in 2016. Get ready for a shock. On average British travellers received more than £1 million per day in payouts across the course of last year.

£370 million was paid out to British travellers in total in 2016. That’s the highest amount since 2010, when the volcanic ash cloud billowing into the atmosphere from Iceland caused widespread travel disruption.

480,000 British travellers and their families had to make a claim during or after their holidays last year. Yet an estimated one-in-four British travel-lovers are still going away without travel insurance.

The spiralling cost of emergency medical treatment

ABI argues that the growth in claims cost was due to the increasing costs of foreign medical treatment. There were 154,000 claims for emergency medical treatment, accounting for 32% of the total number of claims (mirroring our own research). Yet the £199 million payout for medical claims accounts for 54% of the total claims cost. In other words: medical treatment accounts for less than a third of the claims, but more than half of the cost.

Conclusion? Foreign medical bills are expensive.

Ah, but you don’t have medical conditions. You are as fit as a fiddle. Well our recent survey revealed that people rarely require emergency medical treatment due to the sudden deterioration or relapse of an existing medical condition. Our survey found that 53% of people required treatment after falling ill on holiday, while a further 18% required treatment after falls, trips or slips.

The money paid out to British travellers last year included a £100,000 claim for treating an abscess in the USA as well as a £16,000 claim for the treatment of a fractured leg following a motorcycling accident in Thailand. The average payout for medical claims was £1,300.

>> Why EVERYONE (even you) needs medical cover in their travel insurance

All aboard? Not quite...

159,000 claims (33%) were related to cancelled holidays, with travel insurers paying out £130 million to cover the cost. The average fee paid out for each claim was £816.

It’s always a good idea to take out a travel insurance policy with good cancellation benefits as soon as you have booked your holiday. That way you won’t be left out of pocket if something unexpected forces you to rethink your plans.

Loss or theft or possessions and money

It’s natural to let your guard down a little on holiday. But doing so can be costly. 83,000 (17%) of claims in 2016 related to the loss or theft of baggage and cash. (Again the ABI’s data is broadly similar to our own findings.)

>> Tips for keeping your possessions safe on holiday (and the items most likely to go missing)

Don’t take the risk...

480,000 travel insurance claims from British travellers in 2016.

An average of £1 million paid out every single day.

Those are some alarming figures.

You can pick up a travel insurance policy for the same price as a couple of glasses of wine in the departure lounge. Even if you have medical conditions, World First can give you comprehensive cover at a price that’s fair - leaving you to travel in confidence without worrying about something unexpected leaving a terrifying crater in your savings. Get an instant quote online at

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2 Responses to The £370 million reason why travel insurance is essential

  1. Willits says:

    If previous medical conditions are not the major problem why do you ask info on operations completed 6! or more years ago and then load up the premium.

  2. wftristan says:


    Thanks for your comment

    It’s really important that we get as many medical details as possible when doing a quote so we can give you as accurate a quote as possible hence why some people get frustrated when we cant just give them an instant quote.

    Its certainly not so we can load up a premium but to ensure you as our customer have the correct cover in place.



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