Sun, sea… and the threat of a holiday nightmare

boats on beach

British holidaymakers will fork out an average of £1,500 on holidays this year but nearly half (49%) risk losing it all by failing to protect their travel plans when they book, new research1 from Aviva shows.

With the summer holiday season in full swing, 26 million Brits (49%) will not buy travel insurance when they book their holiday, and do not have annual travel insurance that renews automatically.

A quarter (24%) of Brits will go on to buy insurance shortly before their holiday, meaning a cancellation before then will not be covered. A total of 2% leave their insurance to the last minute, making a purchase at the airport, while 23% risk everything with no travel insurance at all.

Aviva’s research also shows a lack of understanding among UK holidaymakers about what travel insurance covers:

  • 12% believe they will be covered if their pet dies the day before they go on holiday.
  • 6% believe they will be covered if they oversleep and miss their flight.
  • 4% believe they are covered if they spend too long shopping and drinking at the airport and miss their flight.

However, these are all situations which are generally not covered.

Travel insurance is essential for a holiday, whether in the UK or abroad, and buying at the time of booking means that people can get their money back if they need to cancel for reasons covered by their policy, such as a close relative unexpectedly falling ill.

Holidaymakers who do not buy travel insurance can face hefty bills if they are unfortunate enough to need emergency medical treatment while on holiday abroad. According to Aviva’s newly published UK Claims Report, medical emergency was the most common reason for Aviva customers to claim on their travel insurance last year (33% of claims), followed by cancellation cover for specific circumstances (28%) and claims for lost or stolen personal items or baggage (13%).2

The report also highlights some significant claims paid in 2017, including £182,000 for a stroke claim in the USA and £191,000 for a pneumonia claim in Malaysia. 3

Travel Insurance – top tips

  • Always check what you need to tell your insurer about your health, for example any existing medical conditions or tests and investigations.  You don’t want to invalidate your cover should you need to make a claim.
  • Understand the specific cancellation and missed departure reasons that are covered by your policy. Missing a flight because you overslept is sadly not covered.
  • Taking expensive items away with you? It’s worth checking your baggage cover to consider whether the sums insured are sufficient to cover them, whether you need additional cover, or if there are conditions such as ensuring your valuables are kept in your hand luggage.
  • Already booked your holiday? We recommend that customers arrange travel insurance to start from the day their trip is booked, not from the day the holiday starts, to ensure there’s cover for any listed cancellation reason.
  • Often, travel insurance allows you to buy optional extras to meet your specific needs. So check what is covered as standard (for example with Aviva, most watersports are covered) and whether you need to purchase additional cover (e.g. for scuba diving or winter sports).
  • Are you travelling on business? Check whether your policy covers you – you may need to purchase additional cover.
  • Check whether your policy allows you to claim for delayed departure after check-in, or flight cancellations. With Aviva’s travel insurance you can claim a benefit after a 12 hours delay to your international departure, and if your flight is delayed for 24 hours or cancelled by the airline you can claim for abandonment of your trip.
  • Understand the criteria for a UK trip to be covered. With Aviva’s travel insurance you need to have pre-booked accommodation for two nights or more.

Get a free quote for your travel insurance today.


1All data taken from research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva in July 2018, surveying a nationally representative sample of 2001 UK adults, unless otherwise stated.

2 Aviva UK Claims Report July 2018

3 Aviva UK Claims Report July 2018