Foreign and Commonwealth Office releases findings of British Behaviour Abroad Report 2012
The FCO has released findings of its British Behaviour Abroad Report which shows a notable increase of 3% in the number of British people requiring consular assistance while travelling abroad.
Those countries where British people were most likely to get into trouble and require the help of the FCO included Spain, the USA and France, although this is a reflection of the popularity of those countries as a tourist destination.
Hospitalisations amongst British people travelling abroad have seen a sharp increase with 70 people admitted to hospital each week. Perhaps most significant is that 30% of those hospitalisations happened in Spain where Majorca and Ibiza have seen a 132% and 40% increase in British people being admitted to hospital respectively. This reflects a worrying trend in the number of young people encountering difficulties when abroad, often through excessive alcohol consumption and associated reckless behaviour. Proportionally, however, Brits are most likely to end up in hospital while visiting Greece.
An alarming 48% of Brits surveyed do not realise that they are not covered for hospital bills and medical treatment if they do not have comprehensive travel insurance. Those who do travel with good insurance need to be aware that there may not be cover if they have been injured or run into difficulty as a result of their own wilful or reckless behaviour.
Minister for Consular Services Jeremy Browne commented:
“Whilst the prospect of ending up in a foreign hospital may be the last thing on your mind as you head overseas for a summer break, sometimes things do go wrong on holiday and many people deeply regret not taking out comprehensive travel insurance.
“We witness many cases where people have invalidated their policy – perhaps by not declaring a pre-existing medical condition or not checking their policy covers a particular activity, such as hiring a moped…”
Not only will the FCO not pick up those hospital bills Brits find themselves unable to pay but travellers may end up stranded until funds can be secured through family or friends to pay for their repatriation to the UK.
- get comprehensive travel insurance – and read the small print
- check the health requirements – so you can get right vaccinations and malaria medication if required
- research your destination – the more clued up you are, the smoother your trip will be.
These are points that anyone leaving the UK for a holiday or extended stay abroad should consider no matter how familiar they may be their intended destination. Every year Blake Morgan's Travel Insurance team is faced with providing advice to clients who have overlooked these cheap and easy tips to staying safe abroad. As well as knowing where and when to get consular assistance, it is important those injured abroad also seek expert legal advice on their return home.