The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has reminded holiday makers that they should take out appropriate holiday insurance before travelling to avoid facing huge bills if they suffer illness or injury while abroad. 

The message from the FCO follows new research they carried out which showed that only 2% of over-55s stated that their biggest concern when going abroad was taking out the correct travel insurance. A number of other things came top of people’s lists as their biggest concern including airport security (20%), getting to the airport (18%) and waiting for luggage (11%).

The FCO research found that of the 72% of people aged over-55 who plan to travel abroad next year, half of these have a pre-existing medical condition. The FCO is advising holidaymakers to ensure they are adequately covered and to give a full detailed account of their medical history to insurers.

The FCO also warned that although the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives UK travellers access to state medical care in other European countries, it does not cover additional costs such as transporting a patient back to the UK or any additional accommodation cost that occur because of illness or injury.

Clare Campbell, solicitor in Leigh Day’s travel litigation team, said:

“For those unfortunate enough to suffer illness or injury while on holiday, having the right insurance in place can make all the difference.

“In some cases, even suffering a relatively minor injury on holiday can cost thousands of pounds in the absence of the correct insurance cover, with the price of medical treatment abroad varying significantly depending on which country you are travelling to.

“It is very important when considering insurance policies to pay particular attention to the exclusions section – to understand what you are not covered for under the policy. Some people don’t realise until it is too late that their travel insurance won’t cover them for certain activities, geographical areas or pre-existing medical conditions.”