Holidaymakers scrimping on travel insurance

Article date: 4 July 2008

The credit squeeze may be pushing travel insurance to the bottom of the pile for hard-up holidaymakers. More than half of British holidaymakers (51%) say that travel insurance could fall off their list when planning their holiday this year as they feel the pinch of the credit crunch, according to new research out today*.

Norwich Union conducted the research to explore how the economic downturn is impacting Britons' summer travel plans. The research also found that more than half of us (58%) will take fewer holidays this year, and three in four are planning to take breaks in the UK rather than abroad over the course of the year in a bid to reduce holiday costs.

Other key findings include:

  • 33% of Brits plan to holiday only in the UK this year
  • 13% of Brits are planning fewer trips to Europe than in 2007
  • 8% of Brits are planning fewer long haul trips than in 2007
  • 65% of people are intending to dip into their savings to pay for their holiday this year rather than use a credit card.

The UK's largest insurer is urging holidaymakers to ensure they keep travel insurance on their holiday checklist this year and not to forego cover in a bid to cut costs. According to Norwich Union's claims data, the average medical emergency claim costs around £1,200¹ and an average baggage claim around £220¹. Travel insurance is still important for the one in three people planning to holiday only in the UK this year to cover against unexpected cancellations. Few people could afford to lose the money they had paid out on a holiday if they found they had to cancel unexpectedly or lost their luggage. Being uninsured could mean a much more expensive holiday than people bargained for, whether it's at home or abroad.

Suzi Fenn, travel product manager, Norwich Union comments: "Understandably, people are looking to make savings on their holidays this year given the economic climate. However, with more than £60 million paid out in 2007¹ in insurance claims for everything from medical emergencies to damaged baggage, scrimping on this essential travel cost really isn't worth the risk. 

"With options of taking single trip or annual cover, people can choose a policy that represents the best value for them, so it doesn't have to be an expensive outlay. 

"The reality is that accidents and illnesses do happen on holiday, and you could end up footing an expensive medical bill if you haven't taken out proper cover. For example, breaking a leg simply by slipping down some steps to a beach in Cyprus could cost you £18,000² with more than half of that expense being the cost of getting you back home. Your travel policy would have covered all of that outlay and taken care of all of the arrangements for around £18.50."³

The research also reveals the top five worst fears about taking a holiday abroad - highlighting the importance of taking out travel insurance:

  1. Being ill or injured 
  2. Flight/travel delays
  3. Having passport or money stolen
  4. Terrorism
  5. Lost luggage

Norwich Union travel insurance tips

  • Organise your insurance policy as soon as you have booked your trip 
    If you don't and something suddenly happens such as a relative being taken ill, causing you to cancel your holiday, you won't be covered if you haven't taken out travel insurance, even if the holiday is in the UK.
  • Tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical problems
    If you don't tell them your claim could be invalid which means you would have to cover all of the costs of your medical treatment.
  • Know your rights if your plane is cancelled or delayed
    As a general rule travel insurance is not responsible for getting you to and from your holiday destination - that is the job of the airline or tour operator.    
    Under EU regulations for air passenger rights, all airlines departing from an airport in an EU member state have responsibilities to assist you if your flight is cancelled or delayed.  Insurance can also provide cover in the event of a delay.4
  • Transport problems
    If you miss your flight due to car or public transport problems check your travel insurance will cover you.
  • A bargain is not always the best choice!
    Some insurance policies may seem like a bargain but if the one you choose doesn't meet your needs or offer adequate cover in the event of a claim, it's not a bargain.
  • The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, it is complementary to it
    The EHIC (formally the E111) entitles you to state-provided emergency medical treatment in European Economic Area countries. The treatment available does vary between countries and it may not cover all the treatment costs (or any repatriation costs) so full travel insurance is essential.


Press office contacts:

Neil Watts, Lexis PR,
Telephone: 0207 908 6451 

Sophie Lam, Lexis PR
Telephone: 020 7908 6482 

Emilie Lien, Lexis PR
Telephone: 020 7908 6421 

Sally Leeman, Norwich Union press office
Telephone: 01603 684225
Mobile: 07789 270677

Notes to editors:

*Research was conducted by Redshift Research. Total sample size was 1,006 adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

¹ Norwich Union travel claims data 2007

² Actual claim cost 2007

³ Price based on Norwich Union Direct travel insurance cover for individual adult, aged 50 for 7 days European cover with no baggage or additional cover options with 10% internet discount.

4 Insurance provides compensation for each 12 hours you are delayed. You are also entitled to abandon your holiday after a delay of 24 hours and in this instance insurance will cover the cost of unused accommodation and travel costs that you cannot get back up to the policy limit.

About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers.  FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

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