FCO report highlights need for travel insurance

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Statistics have been released by the FCO in a report entitled ‘British Behaviour Abroad’ that make it clear why travellers need to take out adequate travel insurance when they go on holiday.

It features incidents from FCO offices across the world from April 2009 to March 2010, highlighting common problems that Brits experience when they are travelling abroad.

The most common incident faced by travellers abroad involved lost or stolen passports. However, there were also lots of avoidable problems including arrests due to drink and drugs: in all, 944 Britons were arrested for offences related to drugs.

Significantly, the report also highlighted problems with medical treatment and repatriation due to inadequate insurance or the failure to take out any travel insurance whatsoever.

Startlingly, the report revealed that 19% of travellers go abroad without any kind of travel insurance. It also revealed that most Britons spend longer cleaning their homes than researching the local laws of the country they are visiting.

It listed a number of cases to highlight the problem of travelling without insurance. One of them involved a man who drowned in Brazil and his family had to pay £10,000 to repatriate his body because he didn’t have insurance.

Another incident involved a 19-year-old man who had an accident on a moped in Asia and had to pay £20,000 to be repatriated. In this case he did have insurance, but the small print stated that he needed a licence to ride the bike.

The Foreign and Commonwealth minister, Jeremy Browne, said that “helping out Britons in trouble abroad is part of our job, but we can't get you out of jail or pay your hospital bills”.

He advised that carrying out a bit of preparation, such as taking out travel insurance and checking the FCO website before leaving, could help to minimise the risks of travelling abroad.


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