Why travel insurance could be vital
Countries where Britons are most likely to run into problems are also high up the list of destinations for which they fail to take out travel insurance, according to a survey.
As many as 18% of Britons have experienced difficulties in India over the last five years, yet 29% did not get travel insurance for their trip to the sub-continent.
Also, 23% had problems in Sri Lanka but 21% failed to get themselves insured, the survey by Post Office Travel Insurance found.
Another country where more than 20% had problems and for which more than 20% were not insured was Mauritius, while 15% had problems in South Africa yet 19% were uninsured.
Based on responses from 1,224 UK adults who had taken a long-haul holiday over the last five years, the problems encountered covered mainly illness, injury, travel delays and theft.
Sri Lanka was the country where the most people had run into difficulties, followed by Mauritius, India and South Africa. In contrast, only 6% had had problems in the USA and only 5% in Canada.
The survey also showed that it was those in the 18-34 age range who were the least likely to take out travel insurance, with a third saying they had travelled uncovered on their last long-haul trip. This compared with a figure of only 6% for those aged 55 and over.
For those who were insured and went on to make a claim, the biggest single reason was illness that required medical treatment (35%). Almost as many (31%) needed treatment for accidental injury.
Around 20% needed treatment for an injury caused by sports activity, 15% had to be repatriated to the UK because of illness and 15% needed transporting by air ambulance - one of the most expensive claim items.
Although the average cost overall of a long-haul holiday insurance claim was £4,859, the price can escalate for individual destinations.
Post Office Travel Insurance said claims data for India revealed that an air ambulance to the UK could cost £80,000 to £100,000, while surgery for a broken leg could cost £12,000 and treatment for gastro-enteritis could be priced between £2,000 and £4,000.
Post Office head of insurance Paul Havenhand said: "It is worrying that the countries where holidaymakers are most likely to travel without insurance are also ones where our research found that more problems occurred that might lead to medical treatment or loss of valuable belongings.