Give More Priority to Adequate Travel Insurance, Says FCO

The Foreign Office is urging holidaymakers to put adequate travel insurance higher up their list of priorities when travelling

Getting to the airport on time, navigating airport security and waiting for their luggage are all bigger concerns for holidaymakers, said the FCO, which revealed that its research showed that insurance is bottom of the list of their main concerns.

Only two per cent of the travellers surveyed were stressed about remembering to take out appropriate travel insurance, it said, while 20 per cent were worried worried about getting through airport security. With 72 per cent of over-55s planning to travel abroad next year, half of them with pre-existing medical conditions, the FCO said it was vital holidaymakers understood the cost of not being adequately insured.

It said that one in 20 of over-55s had knowingly not declared a medical condition due to the increased cost of their travel insurance, but pointed out that it can cost as much as £90,000 for an air ambulance following a heart attack or stroke in the US, or £80,000 for an air ambulance due to a fractured hip in Thailand.

FCO Consular Director Julia Longbottom said: “Arranging travel insurance should be at the top of your holiday essentials before heading overseas. Travellers are losing thousands of pounds in medical bills and their families are having to find the money to help cover the cost or even repatriate them.

“Having the appropriate travel insurance in place will help ensure that you get the support you need, should something go wrong overseas. It can make all the difference and allow you to relax and enjoy your holiday. Please travelinsured.”

When purchasing insurance travellers with pre-existing medical conditions are advised to:
• Answer questions about their medical history fully and honestly.
• Read policy documents carefully, including the small print, so that you understand what you are and are not covered for.
• Think about the destination you are travelling to – the price of medical care can vary from country to country, which will be reflected in the price of insurance.
• Think about using specialist insurers or brokers.
• Where relevant, think hard about whether choosing a policy that excludes treatment related to your condition(s) is safe, even if it is cheaper.