Your Travel Advice

Travel Insurance: Is It Worth The Bother?

travel insurance stats uk

It's a question that many travellers are still asking to this day:

Is is worth purchasing travel insurance?

Unfortunately there isn't a simple answer to this question, but our informative post aims to answer all questions surrounding:

  • Travel insurance statistics and industry provider figures.

  • How much travel insurance companies actually pay out and why.

  • The top 10 travel insurance providers that are worth taking notice.

  • Those for travel insurance vs those who don't buy in to it (literally).

  • How Brits bombarded the Financial Ombudsman with complaints.
  • We recently conducted a survey to 500+ Brits (who love a holiday or two) and we had some pretty interesting answers, particularly regarding travel insurance.

    Do you use travel insurance when heading away on holiday?


    The stats revealed that 82% use travel insurance when going on a holiday, which would surely indicate that the majority of Brits would consider travel insurance to be a meanwhile and needed purchase before jetting off on your holiday.

    After all, it's better to be safe than sorry on your travels, right?

    Well, not everybody sees it that way...

    Who buys travel insurance vs those who don't bother.

    travel insurance stats uk

    In 2017 alone, holiday goers from the UK took over 70 million trips abroad.

    So as you can imagine, travel insurance companies were cashing in on huge amounts of travellers who didn't want to risk going insurance free.

    So, what about those who didn't bother to get travel insurance?

    25 %

    A quarter of all Brits who went on holiday didn't buy travel insurance in 2017 - this is a 3% increase from the previous year.


    Although that still means 75% of travelling Brits did take out travel insurance policies, it also means that 17.5 million holiday goers didn't bother with travel insurance in 2017.

    What's more surprising is the average prices of travel insurance, you'd think with that many travellers opting out of paying for a policy that the prices of a plan would be sky high.

    On average, travel insurance policies cost just £33 annually - and for those aged between 26-30 it only costs an average of £21.

    Did you know? 

    25% of Brits didn't bother with travel insurance in 2017 - although the average annual policy costs just £33!

    Click to Tweet

    Could age be a defining factor?

    As you can see, the largest majority of those that don't take out a policy are between the ages of 18-30, so clearly it's the younger generations who clearly don't feel they need any travel insurance when going away.

    Whereas the the older we get, the more we see the need and benefits of travel insurance, for reasons including:

    • Medical Care - most travel insurance companies recommend £2m of medical cover when travelling abroad, which should always include repatriation in case you need to be flown back to the UK.
    • Personal Liability - if you damage somebodies property or injure somebody, they have every right to claim against you. Therefore it is recommended adding £1m of personal liability cover.
    • Delays - if your flight time is delayed by over 12 hours, you will usually be
      compensated accordingly with food/accommodation etc.
    • Baggageif your luggage or personal possessions are lost, damaged or stolen, the policy should pay out up to £1,500 to help you cover the costs.

    If you require detailed information regarding travel insurance covers, click here.

    Why do millennials take the risk?

    It's no secret that if medical treatment is required when you're abroad the bills you might have to pay could be astronomical (country dependant).

    So that's the burning question, why do millions of travellers choose to ignore travel
    insurance as a priority?

    36 %

    of millennials quite simply felt like they didn't need to "waste money" on travel insurance.

    22 %

    stated that going on holiday without investing in travel insurance is a risk they're willing to take.


    How much are travel insurance companies forking out?

    Unfortunately stats for 2017 on this matter are sparse, but what we do know is that travel
    insurance claims are at their highest since 2010 which was the year of Eyjafjallajökull - the volcanic eruption that cost insurers in excess of £369 million.

    The previous year gives us enough of an indication of just how important travel insurance can be.

    In 2016, £1 million was paid out by travel insurance companies per day. That's £365 million per year - that's the total net worth of the first and third richest footballers in the world - Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

    So, how major were the claims exactly? What was being claimed for?
    travel insurance statistics


    families and individuals claimed on their travel insurance in 2016.

    travel insurance stats

    £196 million

    was paid out to over 166,000 travellers due to  the need for emergency medical treatment.

    ​Did you know? 

    According to @BritishInsurers, the average travel insurance medical expense claim was £1,200 in 2016.

    Click to Tweet
    travel insurance stats 2018

    £128 million

    was the sum paid out to 160,000 people for cancellations - with the average
    cancellation claim being £800.

    travel insurance baggage stats

    £16 million

    was paid out to at least 87,000
    for losing baggage or money whilst travelling abroad.

    What are the largest known travel insurance payouts?

    As mentioned previously, the average claim for travel insurance medical expenses is £1,200. Despite this being the average figure, paying this much isn't always the case.

    For example, the healthcare system in the USA is known for being very expensive for visitors to the country, and with 3.8 million visitors from the UK alone making trips America each year, it's easy to imagine just how much brits end up forking out on medical bills whilst visiting.

    Here are the three biggest known claims from Brits in recent times - this should give you an inkling into how much of a necessity travel insurance actually is.

    travel insurance statistics

    1. £760,000

    is the biggest known claim by a tourist
    visiting the USA
    who had to be flown back to the UK as he
    required treatment for a stroke - he was taken back via air ambulance.

    travel insurance stats

    2. £250,000

    is the second largest known claim by a tourist visiting the USA who required treatment for a brain haemorrhage and broken shoulder due to a nasty fall off his bicycle.

    travel insurance claim stats

    3. £136,000

    is the third largest known claim by a tourist visiting Chile who was bitten by an insect which caused severe complications - amounting his medical bills to over £100,000!

    Going off the highest known claim of £760,000, it would actually somebody earning the average UK wage 25 years to pay off such a humongous bill.

    A survey carried out by the Financial Ombudsman Service over a 7 year period also
    indicates that  the number of complaints from Brits regarding travel insurance claims had risen dramatically during 2017:

    As you can see, the number of travel insurance complaints to the FBS rose overall during the period of years shown above, even though we see a pretty consistent number of complaints during a three year period (2014 - 2016).

    2017 stands out with reaching almost 3,200 complaints regarding all aspects of travel insurance, and the smallest number of complaints were found during 2010 with over 1,000 less than last year.

    Many travellers have been unlucky in racking up thousands in medical bills when travelling abroad, the medical rate depends on the country you're visiting and their current health care policies - be aware of this before deciding to ignore travel insurance!

    Who are the best travel insurance companies?

    It can often be both difficult and daunting when it comes to choosing a travel insurance provider.

    How do I know who's the best to go with? Which providers should I trust?

    The guys over at Bought by Many put together a brilliant article that summarises the top 10 travel insurance companies (excluding travel insurance provided by banks) to take notice of in 2018, based upon a combination of:

    • Expert reviews from independent sources.
    • Score ratings taken from the consumer magazine, Which?.
    • Score ratings from Fairer Finance - they provide consumers about the quality of
      companies they can buy from.
    • Awards that the companies may have won.

    We recommend that you read the full article here or for a quick summary, see below:

    colombus direct travel insurance
    marks and spencers travel insurance
    saga travel insurance
    lv travel insurance
    staysure travel insurance
    aa travel insurance
    direct line travel insurance
    churchill travel insurance
    post office travel insurance
    age uk travel insurance

    * please note that saga and age uk are for over 50's only.


    To conclude, we hope that our article on many aspects of travel insurance has been helpful and will help you to pursue the right decision when it comes to insuring yourself and your belongings when travelling abroad.

    In our article we have provided:

    1. Results of our consumer survey that outlines the percentage of travellers who always use travel insurance.
    2. An in depth review of industry statistics surrounding those who choose travel insurance against those who never bother taking out a policy.
    3. Figures to back up age being a defining factor as to whether people invest in travel
      insurance or not.
    4. How much travel insurance companies pay out on average and some of the most famous cases we know of.
    5. The Financial Ombudsman report regarding the amount of travel insurance complaints from UK holiday goers.
    6. The top 10 travel insurance companies based upon a combination of expert and
      consumer reviews, financial ratings and company awards received.

    Have your say in the comments below!

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