Heather Wheeler MP warns holidaymakers from South Derbyshire against travelling without the necessary insurance

As many as 39% of people from the East Midlands who travelled abroad in the past 12 months did so without the right cover, took part in activities which may not have been covered, or didn’t have any insurance at all, according to ABTA – The Travel Association1.

As peak summer holiday season approaches, new research shows that many British holidaymakers jetting off this year could be putting themselves at risk by travelling without the necessary travel insurance.

Ahead of the summer holidays, Heather is calling on anyone planning a holiday to take out travel insurance which covers their circumstances and the activities they are planning to do. This will avoid potentially costly medical bills should something go wrong.

Breaking down the figures for the East Midlands, 15% of people reported travelling on some holidays completely uninsured in the past 12 months. 24% risked invalidating their insurance by not telling their insurance companies about pre-existing medical conditions or by taking part in activities without checking they were covered under the policy.  An insurer can reject a claim in either of these situations.

The most common reason for not buying travel insurance was that people felt it wasn’t needed with some believing that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would provide sufficient cover. While it is important to have an EHIC when travelling in Europe, it only provides access to state medical care and does not include repatriation to the UK if you are seriously ill. This can be extremely costly should you require an air ambulance, for example.

For those who have travel insurance with their bank, it is a good idea to check that it covers their requirements as there may be restrictions around age, health, destination and activities.

While the average cost of a travel insurance claim is £1,2962, the cost of medical treatment or repatriation can run into thousands of pounds, leaving people vulnerable abroad.

Heather Wheeler MP said:

“It is simply not worth the risk to go on holiday without the right travel insurance. Going without any insurance, or having insurance which doesn’t cover your circumstances, could prove very costly if you were to fall ill or have an accident while on holiday.

I’m asking residents of South Derbyshire to look into travel insurance today if they don’t already have it, and, if you do have insurance, to check before you travel that it covers the your circumstances and the activities you plan to do when you are away.”

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA, commented:

“Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without sufficient travel insurance. While many people are still choosing not to take out travel insurance at all, others are travelling unaware that their insurance policy is not protecting them as they expect.

While not declaring existing medical conditions or taking part in activities that aren’t covered are easy mistakes to make, they can be very costly, leaving holidaymakers and their families with expensive medical bills which run into thousands of pounds.

I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out travel insurance and check that it covers their circumstances and holiday plans.”

Five things you may not already know about travel insurance:

  1. It’s important to have both an EHIC and travel insurance before you travel in Europe. EHICs expire every five years so make sure yours is still valid before you travel.


  1. Always tell your travel insurer about any pre-existing medical condition– if you have an annual policy you must inform your insurer about any changes, even if they seem minor. Don’t be tempted to leave anything out. By not telling your insurer, your insurance policy may be void.


  1. Activities as seemingly safe as cycling may require a higher level of cover. Before you travel, always check with your insurer if you are covered for any activities you may participate in while on holiday.


  1. Travel insurance offered for free through bank accounts or cover offered through credit cards, often provides limited protection. Always check your policy to see if there are any restrictions.


  1. European cover is generally cheaper than worldwide cover; however remember that popular holiday destinations like Turkey, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, where thousands of Brits travel each year, will not be covered by a European policy.