An estimated 12 million British nationals are expected to visit friends and family abroad this year but new research published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as part of its Know Before You Gocampaign shows that young people are more likely to buy a present for their host than take out a travel insurance policy.
The survey shows that a third of people did not take out travel insurance the last time they stayed with family and friends overseas. More than three-quarters (77%) of those who stated that they were visiting friends and family this year and were not intending to buy cover said that saving money was a key factor in this decision.
However, the FCO warns that not taking out comprehensive travel insurance can be a false economy as people can face serious financial difficulty if they need medical treatment or lose valuable possessions.
Jeremy Browne, minister for consular affairs, said: “With over five million Britons living abroad, people are increasingly making the most of opportunities to visit their loved ones across the world. However, it’s important to understand that staying in someone’s home does not make you exempt from encountering serious problems. Take the same steps before you go as you would for any other holiday, such as taking out travel insurance and doing some pre-trip research, to ensure you are prepared if something does go wrong.”
Despite the belief that they don’t have to prepare for a holiday when visiting friends and family, 39% of British nationals have ended up relying on their host when things have gone wrong during their trip. British expats hosting visitors have to deal with a range of problems, from taking their guests to hospital when they fall ill to providing financial help.
The FCO said that it recently dealt with a case in which a man visiting his mother in Canada suffered a heart attack and had to pay more than C$40,000 (£25,000) in medical bills as his insurance had lapsed during the prolonged trip.
It also cited the case of a woman who did not take anti-malarial medication before visiting her mother in Tanzania because she had been to the area many times. She became sick and was diagnosed with cerebral malaria, from which she later died.