20 May

Two in five millennials travelling abroad uninsured

Some uninsured travellers resorting to crowdfunding to cover medical bills

A quarter* (25%) of holidaymakers travelled abroad uninsured in the last year according to new research for ABTA, an increase from 2016** when 22% did so. Millennial holidaymakers were the most likely to travel abroad uninsured with a large increase doing so in the last year. Two in five (40%) people aged 18-24 and 38% of people aged 25-34 travelled abroad uninsured in the 12 months to May 2017. This represents a rise from the previous year, when 31% of both age groups travelled abroad uninsured.

Table 1.1 – Numbers travelling uninsured by age group  








May 2016







May 2017








Of those who travelled abroad without insurance, over a third (36%) simply thought they did not need it. One in five (22%) stated that travelling uninsured was a risk they were willing to take.

Ahead of the summer holidays, ABTA is again urging holidaymakers to ensure they take out travel insurance to avoid potentially costly medical bills should something go wrong.

The cost of medical treatment can run into thousands of pounds and we have recently seen cases of uninsured Brits having to resort to crowdfunding to help raise money for treatment or repatriation. Recent examples include:

  • Ex-soldier Adam Hobbs extended his stay in Thailand but not his travel insurance. As a result, following a motorbike accident he was not covered and his family have raised over £22,000 out of the £100,000 needed to bring him home – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bringadamhome

  • Craig Lindley, 35 from South Yorkshire fell ill in Thailand, as he travelled without insurance his family are raising funds to bring him back to the UK to continue his treatment. They have raised over £30,000 – https://fundrazr.com/cvDA5

  • Dorset Grandmother Esther Jones was taken ill on the way to Australia. She travelled without insurance and her family are trying to raise £50,000 – https://www.gofundme.com/kqxhct6s

  • Gareth Harnett, 30, a builder from Kent went on a five day holiday with friends to Phuket and suffered from a heart attack. He didn’t have travel insurance. His friends are trying raise £15,000 – https://pledgie.com/campaigns/19116


Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, commented: “Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without insurance. Often their families have to raise thousands of pounds for their treatment or repatriation and that’s why it is so worrying to see an increase in younger people travelling without insurance. Rather than having to resort to the kindness of strangers, holidaymakers should make sure that they have the right insurance in place. I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out an insurance policy this summer.”

Susan Crown from the Travel Aware team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:  “We want people to enjoy their holidays but our research shows young people are risking thousands of pounds in medical bills by travelling without an insurance policy that covers them for everything they want to do abroad. The FCO cannot pay medical bills if you are hospitalised abroad nor can we fly you home. Take out an appropriate insurance policy and make sure you know what it covers you for. It may feel like an added expense but it’s very worthwhile if you compare it to what you could end up paying if something goes wrong on holiday”.

You can find out more about Travel Insurance by visiting abta.com/travel-Insurance