Almost a third of long-haul holidaymakers admitted to touring India without any travel insurance, more than to any other destination.
That’s one of the findings of a new survey by the Post Office which also revealed that nearly one in five travellers who travelled to India on their last long-haul trip encountered difficulties during their visit.
29 per cent of travellers to India set off without adequate insurance while 18 per cent who visited the country faced problems during their holiday.
The research found that the next four most common destinations where people were most likely to travel without insurance were Dubai (23 per cent), Kenya and Mauritius (both 22 per cent) and Sri Lanka (21 per cent).
Mauritius and Sri Lanka were also countries where travellers encountered problems with 21 per cent of holidaymakers to Mauritius and 23 per cent of those visiting Sri Lanka reporting issues such as theft and injury. Indeed, India, the Indian Ocean and Africa were the destinations where health, injury and theft issues arose most often.
In contrast, travellers ran into far fewer problems in countries that are not considered ‘risky’, such as the USA and Canada (six per cent and five per cent respectively).
“It is worrying that the countries where holidaymakers are most likely to travel without insurance like India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius are also ones where our research found that more problems occurred that might lead to medical treatment or loss of valuable belongings,” said Paul Havenhand, head of insurance at Post Office.
“If you are planning a winter sun trip to an exotic destination, it is vital to ensure you are comprehensively covered to ensure that you have peace of mind when travelling far away from home. Avoid cheap travel insurance deals that could leave you exposed when problems occur.”
Under 35s most likely to travel without insurance
The Post Office survey revealed that it is younger people who are most likely to put themselves at risk by travelling long-haul without insurance. A third of under-35s admitted to travelling without the requisite cover.
Considering that the Telegraph reports that the average claim under a long-haul holiday insurance claim is £4,859, failing to take out adequate travel insurance could leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket. This is particularly true if you are heading to a ‘risky’ destination such as India or Africa.
For those who had taken out holiday insurance and went on to make a claim, the biggest single reason was illness that required medical treatment (35 per cent). Almost as many (31 per cent) needed treatment for accidental injury, while one in five travellers needed treatment for an injury caused by sports.
The study found that another 15 per cent needed to be repatriated to the UK because of illness and 15 per cent needed transporting by air ambulance – one of the most expensive items claimed for.