July 30 2014 Latest news:

A large number of travellers are running the risk of sky-high medical bills when travelling abroad through not taking out travel insurance.

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Despite recent high-profile cases highlighting the significant risks of failing to holiday either with any travel insurance or inadequate policies, one in five people fail to prepare properly.

And it’s not just a question of money – for badly-planned travel insurance can hit you both in the pocket and be detrimental to your health.

Abta, the travel association, revealed the figures in their 2011 consumer trends survey. Lots of travellers mistakenly believe the government will cover their bills in the event that something 
goes wrong.

Others think travel insurance is unnecessary when travelling in Europe if they have a European Health Insurance Card.

John de Vial, Abta head of financial protection, said: “It is very worrying that so many people are putting their health and finances at risk by travelling abroad without insurance.

“Many wrongly assume that it is the Foreign Office’s responsibility to pay for their hospital bills, particularly younger travellers.

In the current economic climate customers should be careful to purchase insurance at the time of booking their holiday to obtain cancellation cover for redundancy as well as any potential illness prior to travelling.”

Lynda St Cooke, of the Foreign Office, said: “We remain very concerned at the numbers of people travelling without comprehensive travel insurance and then ending up severely out of pocket.

“If British travellers get into difficulties overseas, there are things the nearest British embassy or consulate can do, including contacting friends and family for them, and giving them information on how to safely transfer money from the UK.

“But consular staff cannot pay hospital bills for British travellers, nor fly them home if they run out of holiday money.”

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