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ESSENTIAL READING FOR TRAVEL & HEALTH INSURANCE PROFESSIONALS


DECEMBER 2014 • ISSUE 167


Cover gaps highlighted


Thousands of over 50s with existing medical issues are at risk of big hospital bills when abroad because they have no travel insurance cover, or alternatively they have inadequate insurance that does not cover their conditions, according to a specialist insurer in the UK


Risky rebellion PLOTKIN


New research from the Post Offi ce has shown that gap year travellers are not taking the necessary precautions to aid them in staying safe and healthy while on their trips


Almost half (47 per cent) of gap year travellers are not getting the vaccinations they need to prevent illness and infection around the world, according to research from Post Offi ce Travel Insurance. This is particularly worrying as one in six (15 per cent) admitted to travelling without insurance. Yet the risk of health problems occurring whilst away is very real, with one in fi ve (20 per cent) saying they


fell ill on their trip and a further nine per cent saying they were injured. Last year alone, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Offi ce (FCO) assisted with 3,599 cases of British holidaymakers being hospitalised. Thailand, a popular destination for backpackers, has seen incidences of hospitalisation requiring consular assistance increase by a third on the previous year, with road traffi c accidents in particular to blame.


Gap year fi nances Many travellers are not properly fi nancially prepared to go on their gap year either, with travellers who needed to fi nd extra money


1


needing an average of £483 from friends, family, or fellow travellers to continue on their holiday. Of those who ran out of money, 54 per cent said they had not budgeted enough, a quarter (23 per cent) said they had to pay for extra fl ights, 11 per cent had to recover from a theft and eight per cent had to pay for medical treatment of an illness or injury. This extra money is part of an average total outlay of £3,683 for each traveller. The spend of a gap year peaked about 15 years ago, when young people invested an average of £4,110 in their time away. Despite the costs and risks involved with travelling


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Research by Saga Travel Insurance shows that around 16 million over 50s have ongoing medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma or osteoarthritis, and almost half a million of these people have become ill on holiday due to their condition in the last three years. However, one in 10 had no travel insurance to claim on, while close to one in 30 discovered they were not covered by their travel insurance policy because of their pre- existing conditions. The survey of 10,000 over 50s shows that almost 30 per cent consider factors such as price over whether the cover they get will meet their actual requirements. While many more over 50s take out travel cover than younger holidaymakers (UK Foreign Offi ce data says that 48 per cent of 15-24 year olds travel without cover), one in seven over 50s gamble with their health and fi nances by not taking out travel insurance. Roger Ramsden, chief executive of Saga Services, commented: “Whilst older people tend to follow the advice of the Foreign Offi ce


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