London/ Palma.—Many Britons are unaware of the costs of medical treatment abroad and may be putting themselves at risk of sky high, medical bills by travelling uninsured, according to new research by ABTA – the Travel Association.

As part of the ‘Know Before You Go' campaign, ABTA – The Travel Association and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are urging holidaymakers to “pack their policy” this summer.

A quarter of Britons (24%)1 now travel abroad without insurance despite, the need for medical assistance to be relatively common.
According to ABTA research 1 in 5 (19%)2 Britons have visited a doctor or hospital abroad.
Most at risk are younger travellers as almost half (48%) holidaymakers abroad go without taking insurance.
Furthermore, FCO research released today has also found that 4 out of 5 (82%)(4 young) people admit to taking part in more adventurous behaviour on holiday – yet fewer than half (45%) check that their insurance covers risky pursuits. Almost half of Britons (47%) mistakenly believe it would cost £5'000 or less to treat a broken leg in the USA despite the actual figure being more than eight times than that, costing approximately £40'000.

This lack of awareness of the true costs of medical treatment may be to blame for the alarmingly high numbers, travelling uninsured.
Many British holidaymakers also fail to understand the importance of insurance; 16% mistakenly believe that travel insurance is unnecessary as the UK Government will pay for their treatment if they become ill abroad In addition, 17% of travellers (and a third (33%) of 15-24 year olds) wrongly assume that when travelling in Europe, they don't need insurance because they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but this only provides access to basic state medical care and does not cover the costs of repatriation to the UK, whether by regular flight or air ambulance which can cost £16'000 from popular tourist areas such as the Canary Islands.