The number of travel insurance claims made in 2017 reached 510,000, costing £385 million and amounting to a claim every minute throughout the year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has found.
The 30,000 year-on-year rise in claims between 2016 and 2017 resulted in the highest amount paid since the £455 million Icelandic ash cloud payouts of 2010, and was largely driven by a significant rise in cancellation claims.
After a slight (£2 million) increase, medical expenses made up a majority of the £385 million claims paid, despite an 11% increase in the value of claims for trip cancellations from £130 million to £145 million.
Medical expense continue to be the most expensive type of claim, with an average of nearly £1,300 and many claims climbing to the tens of thousands of pounds.
The ABI said the significant increase in cancellation claims was driven by notable airline disruption, restrictive bad weather at home and abroad, and the cost of the average family holiday increasing by more than £500 in 2017 according to foreign exchange specialist Travelex.
Commenting on the latest statistics, Charlie Campbell, policy adviser for travel at the ABI, said: “Travel insurance acts as your guardian angel when overseas and should be an essential element of your holiday shopping list. Insurers are paying out £1 million every day to cover the unexpected costs of illness, injury or cancellation.”
“Medical expenses can often cost tens of thousands of pounds, whilst the large increase in cancellation claims shows just how important it is to purchase your cover as early as possible. Our question to consumers today is: can you afford to not have travel insurance?”