We’re all going on a summer holiday

Are you amongst the increasing number of Brits who’ve already booked their 2014 holidays? Are you ticking off the days until your next break?

Or did you glide through January impervious to the media hype and gloomy weather? Before you’ve even polished off the turkey and packed away the tree you will have been bombarded by TV ads and glossy holiday supplements enticing you with palm trees and sunshine, and the suggestion that you should book early to avoid disappointment. After all, it’s nice to have something to look forward to!

San Giorgio Maggiore Across the Canale di San Marco

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), this year has already seen a 10% jump in the number of people booking early for summer breaks.

So you’ve signed up for the holiday, booked Fido into kennels and can now sit back in eager anticipation, daydreaming of those lazy days and Daiquiris. Job done.

But is travel insurance on your packing list? With travellers having faced the pinch from recent austere times, we’ve seen plenty of debate about whether travel insurance is a necessity or a luxury. (The old sound adage goes that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.)

When we asked our customers recently about their reasons for purchasing insurance, we found that the majority of you place a greater emphasis on cover for personal wellbeing rather than personal belongings…Over half of respondents in our survey (59%) identified health problems and accidents as the primary motivating factor in buying travel insurance, with only 2% buying insurance to cover themselves for loss or theft of personal belongings and less than 1% for travel delay.

Getting to your destination safely is only half the issue of travelling, especially overseas where you can be at the mercy of unknown and potentially costly medical facilities and care. Health woes prior to travel can also trip you up; falling sick a day before you fly can put pay to that trip you’ve been dreaming about all year.

Last summer ABTA teamed up with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to urge holidaymakers to “pack their policy”.  Launching the campaign, ABTA announced that “an alarmingly high” number of Brits travel uninsured thanks to a lack of awareness of the true costs of medical treatment abroad, putting themselves at risk of “sky high medical bills”.

Their stats make for hairy reading. A quarter of Brits (24%) now travel abroad without insurance despite the need for medical assistance to be relatively common. According to the ABTA research 1 in 5 Brits have visited a doctor or hospital abroad. Almost half of Brits (47%) mistakenly believe it would cost £5,000 or less to treat a broken leg in the USA, despite the actual figure being more than eight times than that, costing approximately £40,000.

So wherever you’re planning to travel in 2014, make sure you’ve got everything covered!

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