Quarter of people would skip travel insurance for a six-month trip around the World

Holidaymakers willing to take a gamble on being delayed, falling ill and losing valuables

03 September 2014

As news of volcanic ash once more threatens to ground flights and disrupt holidays, a new poll shows how Britons are knowingly chancing their arm by going away without travel insurance.

Research commissioned by Nationwide Building Society shows that around a quarter of respondents who take out travel insurance (24%) wouldn’t do so if they were going on a round-the-world trip of up to six months – putting themselves at risk of financial difficulties resulting from a range of possible issues, including injury and sickness, to lost and stolen luggage and valuables and natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or civil unrest.

And while Brits visiting European Union countries without insurance can eventually cover most medical bills in Europe using the EHIC form, they would not be covered for additional expenses such as the cost of a delayed return home, additional accommodation or the cost of flying family members out to them. Equally, they are not covered for theft, lost property or missed flights and cancellations. Despite this, more than two-in-ten respondents (22%) wouldn’t take out travel insurance for a one or two-week holiday in Europe, while a fifth of those surveyed (19%) said they would forego travel insurance if they travelled one to two weeks outside of Europe.

However, the Nationwide research shows that some will risk taking travel insurance no matter where they go in the world. Statistics show:

  • A quarter (24%) wouldn’t take out travel insurance for a global holiday of up to six months
  • More than four-in-ten (41%) wouldn’t insure themselves for a European weekend getaway
  • Well over a third (38%) would not seek cover for a long weekend outside of Europe
  • A third are unaware travel insurance can cover you in the UK for delays and cancellations
  • Should a holiday need to be cancelled due to illness, fewer people would claim on their travel insurance than negotiating a refund, at 38% compared to more than four in ten (41%). Around one-in-ten people (9%) would write the holiday off as a loss

Not having travel insurance could turn out to be a very costly mistake. For example, the average medical claim is £1,350¹, although some claims can run in to tens of thousands of pounds. For example, an air ambulance in the USA could cost between £35,000 and £45,000, while a scheduled flight, stretcher and doctor from Australia could cost between £15,000 and £20,000*.

And with an alert recently raised on the potential eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland, it shows how natural disasters can threaten to cause widespread travel disruption as they did in April 2010 when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted. This, added with more common risks such as holiday sickness, injury and lost and stolen items, could leave British holidaymakers out of pocket should the worst happen.

The Nationwide FlexPlus packaged account, which includes travel insurance, does cover some losses arising from natural disasters such as ash clouds, earthquakes and floods.

Phil Smith, Nationwide Head of Current Accounts, said: “Most people’s holidays are the relaxing break they plan, but if things do go wrong you could end up significantly out of pocket if you haven’t taken travel insurance.

“Airlines deal with millions of bags a year, so it’s not surprising that a few get lost in the process. This can be very inconvenient as well as costly to replace.

“The most expensive claims are typically for covering medical expenses where claims can run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds. If you or a family member is taken seriously ill abroad it’s likely to be stressful and scary enough, without the worry of how you are going to pay the bill.

“Our FlexPlus current account includes worldwide travel insurance as one of the benefits of the account. The cover is among the best in the market and provides those heading off on holiday, at home or abroad, with peace of mind knowing that they have a high level of protection if difficulties arise.

“Not only does our FlexPlus account provide a whole host of travel benefits, for those travelling by car, either at home or abroad to their holiday destination, it also includes UK and European breakdown cover.”

Notes to Editors

Research provided by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,176 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th - 19th August 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Nationwide’s travel insurance is provided by UKI Limited.

¹ Source: Nationwide claims data as provided by UKI Limited
* Source: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-insurance

FlexPlus Key Information

Full information about Flexplus

Account Eligibility

  • FlexPlus is open to new and existing customers aged 18 years and over
  • Single and joint account options available

Account Fee

  • FlexPlus has a £10 per month fee

Credit Interest

  • 3% AER (2.96% gross p.a) on credit balances up to £2,500
  • Credit interest is not payable on balances over £2,500

Benefits

  • Worldwide Family Travel insurance
  • Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance
  • UK and European Breakdown cover
  • Extended Warranty Cover
  • ID Theft Assistance
  • Worldwide card emergency assistance

Exclusions and limitations apply to all FlexPlus insurances

About Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as the second largest savings and mortgage provider in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 17,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 17,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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