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Travel Insurance in UK
Travel insurance offers protection for people on holiday or when travelling away from their home. Everyone wants their holiday to be enjoyable but unfortunately, there can be problems. Insurance can cover the cost of health care abroad, lost or stolen belongings and for the holiday itself if sickness or other problems force the cancellation of a trip. Travel insurance may seem like an optional extra but, as hundreds of thousands of people find each year, it buys more than peace of mind.
In UK, travel insurance is available to people of all ages. The typical travel insurer provides single trip cover up to around age 85, whereas annual cover up to around 73. There are also many specialists and some mass market insurers who provide travel insurance to any ages. In 2009, there were around 66 different policies available for people aged 85 and over, and 23 annual policies.
In 2011, 26.2 million travel insurance policies were bought by consumers and 0.7 million claims were made, resulting in £1.1 million paid to customers each day. Customers paid an average of £24 for annual travel insurance and £35 for single trip cover. Customers making a travel insurance claim received on average £594 in 2011. In 2012, travel insurers paid out more than £1 million in claims everyday, of which 56% were for medical expenses(compares to 33% in 2004). The average cost of a medical claim in 2012 was £900, over £200 higher than the next type of claim reported (cancellations claims are the second highest) and nearly 50% higher than in 2004.

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Factors determined travel insurance premium

A person’s age is an important factor in helping travel insurers to determine the level of risk they pose. This is because the primary function of travel insurance is to cover the potentially very high cost of a policyholder needing emergency medical treatment or repatriation following accident or illness while abroad. Futhermore, evidence shows a strong link between a person’s age and their health. As a result, older travellers are more likely to make a claim against their travel policy than younger people, and their claim is likely to be more expensive:

  • Travellers aged over 65 are three times more likely to make a travel insurance claim than those aged 35, and people over 85 are eight times more likely.
  • The average claim made by a person over 65 is nearly three and a half times more expensive than one made by a person under 50.
  • The combination of increased cost and frequency of claims means that customers in their 80s are around eight to 12 times more risky than customers under 65.

Pre-existing medical conditions such as disability, health condition or illness, or have had one in the past could affect your premium and the level of cover available. An insurer’s assessment of risk is based primarily on claims experience built up over many years. Evidence shows that medical history can affect the likelihood of the person making a claim and the potential cost of that claim.
It is important that you tell your insurer about your health history. If you disclose something that has not cause any problems for some time, or it doesn’t increase your risk of making a claim, your premium will not be affected. But if you had a condition before your trip and didn’t tell the insurance company, your insurer may not pay for medical treatment or the costs to get you home if you are sick from this. To make sure this doesn’t happen, tell the insurance company about any changes to your health before you go. They will reassess the situation and confirm whether or not the condition would be covered.
Finding travel insurance when you have had certain medical conditions can be difficult, but cover is normally available and many insurance companies are now looking at cases individually rather than refusing to insure everyone who has had a particular illness or excluding it from the policy. When shopping around, remember that specialist insurers are likely to have more claims data relating to their area of expertise, helping them assess those risks more accurately. Where insurers do not have this experience, certain conditions may be excluded, or they may be unable to offer cover at all. A specialist travel insurance broker and some health support groups may also be able to help you find the cover you need.
You need to check the policy covers you for the amount of time you are away and also for your destination. You can chose policies which last a fortnight or for all travel within a year. You can travel insurance for trips within Europe, further afield or world-wide. If you are planning to go to more dangerous parts of the world or take part in activities like skiing which are more likely to lead to injury, you have to make sure the policy covers you. The cost of policies will reflect how long you are away, where you go, what you intend to do and the amount of cover you want. It is important that you choose a policy which meet all your needs.

Interesting facts about British travellers

24% of British travellers holidaying abroad in 2012 were uninsured, out of which 48% of them were between the age of 15 to 24 years old. This is risky considering 82% of young Brits admit to taking part in more adventurous behaviour when on holiday.
16% of consumers mistakenly believe that travel insurance is unnecessary as the UK government will pay for treatment abroad. Men are 8% less likely than women in taking up travel insurance.
In 2011/2012, a total of 3,793 British people were hospitalised abroad. This means 70 British people were hospitalised per week or 10 people per day. Yet 48% of don't realise people that without travel insurance they’d be liable to pay for their own medical bills abroad. And 78% admitted they wouldn’t have the means to pay £10,000 to cover hospital bills of an uninsured loved one abroad.
17% of travellers wrongly assume that when travelling in Europe, they don’t need insurance because they have an EHIC. While 26% think the EHIC will pay for repatriation.
An EHIC is valid for all medically-necessary care within the EU and the EEA and should be accepted by all state hospitals. However the FCO strongly recommend that travellers should also have comprehensive travel insurance, as an EHIC only covers necessary care and won’t cover things such as repatriation to the UK in the case of a medical emergency.


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