Increase in holidaymakers buying travel insurance

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Last week the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) reported a staggering 1 in 5 British holidaymakers travelling abroad fail to purchase travel insurance. The results revealed by the ABTA Consumer Trends Survey 2010 were announced at the Travel Convention in Malta last week. These results were collected online from a representative sample of 2,028 consumers in September 2010.

This number of holidaymakers without travel insurance is quite concerning, largely because of the impact the lack of travel insurance can have on travellers’ bank accounts. Travel insurance comes into it’s own when receiving medical treatment abroad as this can often be extortionate and travellers may not be able to afford these costs without insurance. Insurance is also needed to cover travellers financially for cancellation or curtailment of the holiday and loss or theft of personal belongings.

Although 1 in 5 holidaymakers is still too large a percentage of travellers who risk no insurance, there is evidence to suggest the percentage of holidaymakers purchasing insurance has actually increased since 2007. A report by Aviva (formally Norwich Union) in September 2007 suggested 25% of holidaymakers did not possess travel insurance for a holiday abroad. Therefore there has been a 5% increase over the past 3 years in the number of holidaymakers who purchase travel insurance. This increase in the amount of consumers purchasing travel insurance may be due to travel events which occurred earlier this year that impacted holidaymaker's travel plans and highlighted the importance of travel insurance.

The first event was in April of this year when a volcanic eruption in Iceland led to the cancellation of all flights in and out of the UK for a few days. After the event many travellers lost out financially as they either did not have travel insurance or their insurance did not cover them in the event of a natural disaster. As a result holidaymakers were made more aware of the need for travel insurance and the importance of reading insurance policy documents carefully to make sure they would be covered for such an event. Following this event a large amount of travel insurers have now actually amended their policy documents so they now specifically cover claims caused by an ash cloud as a precaution for travellers should it happen again.

Another factor which may have led to the increase in the number of holidaymakers buying travel insurance may have been the numerous BAA strikes during the summer months this year. These events led to holidaymakers being delayed, stranded or disappointed if their flights were cancelled. The strikes did increase traveller’s awareness of the uncertainty of holidays and the necessity for travel insurance.

Therefore the turbulent travel events of 2010 increased consumer’s awareness of the need for travel insurance and this may be what has led to the 5% increase in holidaymakers purchasing travel insurance in the last 3 years.

Sources:

ABTA - ABTA Survey reveals 1 in 5 travelling uninsured , published 18th October 2010.

Aviva - UK: Pack your policy - Study reveals a quarter of Brits are uninsured on holiday, published 29th May 2007


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