Medical payouts top list of travel insurance claims for 2017

Insurers paid out more than £1 million every day last year in travel insurance claims.

Figures released today by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveal medical expenses still make up a majority of the £385 million claims paid.

This is despite a significant rise in cancellation claims – from £130 million to £145 million, an 11% difference.

Travel insurance claims increased by 30,000 year-on-year to 510,000, equivalent to a claim for every minute of 2017.

The ABI says medical expense continues to be the most expensive type of claim, with an average of nearly £1,300 and many claims climbing to the tens of thousands of pounds.

The cost of medical treatment abroad can be incredibly costly. One Brit required £90,000 of treatment for a fractured rib and punctured lung, whilst another required a £20,000 payout to treat a blocked intestine. Even a smaller injury, such as damage to a knee ligament, cost as much as £3,800 to treat.

Cancellation claims increased largely because of notable airline disruption and restrictive bad weather at home and abroad.

Overall, medical expenses accounted for 52% of claims costs, cancellations 38% and lost baggage or money 4%.

Key statistics from the ABI:

* 510,000 claims made in 2017 costing £385 million – more than £1 million every day. * This represents a year-on-year increase of 30,000 claims and £16 million.
* 159,000 travellers requiring medical treatment were supported by insurers costing £201 million.
* £145 million was paid out on 174,000 claims for cancelled holidays (up from 159,000 in 2016), whilst 86,000 people received £17 million of support following their baggage being delayed and money lost whilst travelling.

Charlie Campbell, ABI’s Policy Adviser for Travel, said: “Travel insurance acts as your guardian angel when overseas and should be an essential element of your holiday shopping list. Insurers are paying out £1 million every day to cover the unexpected costs of illness, injury or cancellation.

“Medical expenses can often cost tens of thousands of pounds, whilst the large increase in cancellation claims shows just how important it is to purchase your cover as early as possible. Our question to consumers today is: can you afford to not have travel insurance?”

Sharrocks’ managing director, Alan Doucy, added: “It’s sound advice to make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling in Europe, but this is no substitute for proper travel insurance.

“The EHIC will give you access to state healthcare, but it won’t cover all medical costs or if you needed emergency repatriation home.

“And it won’t help if you travel outside of Europe.”

He added: “We recommend our clients get travel insurance well in advance to protect against cancellations. It shouldn’t be last minute and it’s not an optional extra – it’s a must.”

Sharrocks’ expert advisors can match you with the best policy to suit your health and your holiday.

Contact us on (, visit or call 01795 580800 to get your quote today. dreamstime_m_22064706


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