24 Jun 2024

Brits 24 times more likely to travel than drive without insurance despite £900 average claim

  • Half (44%) of holidaymakers risk travelling minus cover, with one in eight (13%) admitting to never getting any
  • This compares with just 2% of motorists risking driving without any insurance, according to industry data
  • Despite travel insurance being optional, people can be left significantly out of pocket without adequate cover
  • Only 27% secure travel insurance when booking their holiday while 17% never read the policy documents

British holidaymakers are around 24 times more likely to go away without travel cover than they are to drive without insurance as many take a chance due to it being optional, research1 from Nationwide shows.

The risky approach is leaving many people just an incident away from being potentially thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Close to half (44%) have risked travelling without any cover in place when they go on holiday, conceding it’s not something they always purchase. This is 24 times more than the estimated one in 42 drivers on UK roads not being insured, according to the Motor Insurance Bureau2. One in eight (13%) people admit they never get travel insurance.

Unlike car insurance, travel insurance is not a legal requirement for the majority of destinations, making it an easier decision for many to skip cover due to the additional cost. The research shows that older travellers (55+) are twice as likely to make sure they always have cover in place compared to younger travellers (16-24), at 59 per cent compared to 30 per cent.

According to Aviva, which provides the travel insurance on Nationwide’s FlexPlus packaged current account, the average travel insurance claim value is £900. However, if someone falls seriously ill while abroad, costs can escalate significantly, with claims running into the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The main reason people get travel insurance cover is for protection should they fall ill while abroad (62%); if they need to cancel (40%); if something stolen (33%); problems with their flight (28%), or if their suitcase goes missing (26%).

Circumstances can change quickly, so it is always recommended arranging your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip in case you need to cancel. The research shows only a quarter (27%) secure their travel insurance straight away, with 56 per cent booking cover in the month before their holiday, which includes six per cent who book just the day before they travel.

Not every travel insurance policy is the same, so it is important people make sure they know what is covered as standard and what may be covered subject to an upgrade. For example, it is essential to tell the travel insurance provider about any medical conditions for anyone who needs to be covered on the policy. Failing to make sure adequate cover is in place could lead to claims being declined. Nationwide’s research shows that nearly one in six (17%) admit to never reading the travel insurance terms and conditions.

Nationwide’s FlexPlus3 packaged current account comes with a package of benefits for £13 per month, including worldwide family travel insurance, which includes a comprehensive level of cover as standard4. Other benefits include:

  • Vehicle breakdown cover in the UK and the rest of Europe: includes cover for any eligible vehicle the customer is travelling in plus any vehicles they own, even if somebody else is driving.
  • Mobile phone insurance for the whole family: cover against loss, theft, damage and faults for phones belonging to the customer, their partner and dependent children.
  • Commission free card usage abroad: there are no Nationwide charges for using your card abroad or in a non-sterling currency. Two fifth (40%) of those surveyed plan to use their card when abroad, while 41 per cent will use cash.
  • Access to other Nationwide products: Nationwide current account members get access to exclusive savings accounts, like Flex Regular Saverand Flex Instant Saver, plus access to other products like credit cards and personal loans.

Marta Edwards, Head of Current Accounts at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Holidays are our time to switch off and relax. Most claims are minor, but if you fall seriously ill or have an accident while abroad, the costs can run into tens or in some cases hundreds of thousands of pounds. Having adequate cover in place provides peace of mind that in the event something does go wrong you are protected. And unlike car insurance, just because travel cover is an optional expense, it shouldn’t make it easier to ignore. The risk isn’t worth it. 

“Our FlexPlus current account offers comprehensive worldwide family cover as well as a range of other benefits that are useful if you are holidaying in the UK or abroad.”

Notes to editors

1 The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2,004 Nationally Representative UK (aged 16+) respondents between 23 and 28 May 2024. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

2  One million out of 41.2 million is 2.4% or one in 42.

3 Full details of Nationwide’s FlexPlus current account can be found here - FlexPlus | Packaged bank account | Nationwide

4 Details of the travel insurance can be found here - Travel insurance with FlexPlus | Nationwide