Almost half of British holidaymakers have avoided insurance: report

Despite current political events, horror stories of stranded, ill or injured holidaymakers and sky-high medical bills, almost half of British holidaymakers (46 per cent) have gone on holiday without travel insurance. That’s according to new research from travel price comparison site TravelSupermarket.

Both choice of destination and age of the traveller affect tourists’ purchase decisions. Looking at Brits’ 30 most popular holiday destinations, they are least likely to buy insurance when traveling to major European cities closest to home. Only half (51 per cent) purchase cover for a trip to Dublin, for example. Similarly, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of travellers to Europe’s clubbing capital, Berlin, feel secure enough not to bother with holiday cover. Meanwhile, a fifth chance it when travelling to the major European cities of Brussels (22 per cent), Paris (21 per cent) – both just a few hours’ train journey from London.

Risk Maps – Where We Don’t Buy Insurance

Destination Percentage Not Purchasing Insurance


1.    Dublin 41%
2.    Berlin 26%
3.    Brussels 22%
4.    Paris 21%
5.    Milan 21%


Las Vegas, the notorious party town, is the destination where Brits are most likely to buy insurance, with 90 per cent of travellers making sure they are covered. Vegas is followed closely by New York, with 85 per cent of travellers ensuring they are insured for their time in the Big Apple. Marrakech comes in third, with 80 per cent of people making sure they have purchased travel insurance before landing in the Moroccan city.

Hot Spots – Where We Buy Insurance

Destination Percentage

Purchasing Insurance

1.    Las Vegas 90%
2.    New York 85%
3.    Marrakech 80%
4.    Athens 80%
5.    Seville 80%

Twenty per cent of young people (aged 18-24) say that they never buy insurance, while 70 per cent those aged 65 over people will ‘nearly always’ purchase it. Men are the most likely to chance it, with 51 per cent acknowledging they had travelled abroad without cover, compared to just 40 per cent of women.

Of the people who say that they have travelled without insurance, the main reasons cited were excess charges, which 10 per cent of holidaymakers thought made buying insurance ‘not worth it’. Other reasons offered were ‘policies expiring without realising’ (eight per cent), while seven per cent simply ‘couldn’t be bothered’.

Exploring the motivations for purchasing insurance, 51 per cent of holidaymakers who have purchased it cite ability to cover medical bills or other costs related to injury or illness as their key concern. Those aged over 65 were the most worried about this, with 63 per cent admitting it is their primary purchase driver. The younger generation, those aged 18-24, were the most concerned with the potential theft of travel documents and money, with 22 per cent saying that it was their main reason for buying insurance (compared to the national average of just seven per cent).

Of those holidaymakers who purchase insurance, most do so at the time of booking (45 per cent), and almost a quarter (24 per cent) have an annual policy. Nearly a fifth (19 per cent) leave it until a couple of days before they depart – covering themselves against costs associated with theft and illness during their trip, but potentially leaving themselves vulnerable if they have to cancel their trip due to an unforeseen event which occurs before they’ve bought their insurance.

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