Press release

Travel insurance: why not to take the ‘Getaway Gamble’

The FCO reminds British nationals to travel insured as claims reach £370 million

Great Getaway Gamble

With recent data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealing that the average travel insurance medical claim rose by nearly 10% last year, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is highlighting the risk of taking the ‘Getaway Gamble’ of travelling overseas without adequate insurance.

Travelling abroad with inadequate cover can cost thousands of pounds if things go wrong – the average cost of a claim for medical expenses rose to £1,022 in 2014 (from £930 in 2013). This contrasts sharply with the average cost of an annual travel insurance policy, which is £32.

Rolling the dice, not hedging your bets and being left with a £1,022 bill is no way to start or end a holiday, especially when this pricey sum equates to:

  • a luxury cruise to the Caribbean
  • a week in four-star accommodation for two people in Lanzarote
  • a new high-end laptop, with change left over
  • an average monthly rental payment in the UK

The FCO is encouraging British nationals to make travel insurance an essential part of their holiday preparation with a new ‘Great Getaway Gamble’ infographic. Will you get back with your finances in the black, or return from the Med seriously in the red?

As a part of being #TravelAware, the FCO is advising travellers to:

  • ensure you have the level of insurance cover required for your needs and the activities you have planned
  • answer questions about your medical history fully and honestly with the insurer; you may not be covered if you need to make a claim
  • bear in mind that travel insurance policies may not cover accidents that occur when someone has not taken reasonable care or had excessive amounts of alcohol
  • carry an up to date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if travelling in the European Economic Area, in addition to valid insurance cover

For more advice on travel insurance, visit our foreign travel insurance advice page.

Further information

If you would like further information about this press release please contact 020 3697 4389 or

About FCO ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign

The FCO ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign targets a number of audiences, from gap year students to package holidaymakers; sports fans to older travellers and people visiting friends and family abroad. The campaign works with more than 400 travel industry partners to communicate its messages.

If you have any enquiries for FCO consular staff before you go or while abroad you can use the FCO’s Twitter service @FCOtravel. This adds to the ways that British people travelling or living overseas can already get in touch with the FCO: by emailing our travel advice team or contacting local consular staff.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest FCO travel advice by signing up to the FCO’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Information about how the FCO can help British nationals abroad:

The FCO can: The FCO cannot:
Issue you with an emergency travel document Help you enter a country if you do not have a valid passport or necessary visas
Provide information about transferring money Give you legal advice or translate documents
Provide help if you have suffered rape or serious sexual or physical assault, are a victim of crime, are ill or in hospital Investigate crimes or get you out of prison
Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people, but we will raise concerns if treatment falls below internationally recognised standards
Contact you if you are detained abroad Pay any bills or give you money
Contact friends and family back home for you if you wish Make travel arrangements for you
Provide help in cases of forced marriage  
Assist people affected by parental child abduction  
Published 13 August 2015