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Almost a quarter (22%) of people went abroad without travel insurance last year, up from 19% in 2013, new research reveals.
However, for the youngest travellers, 35% of those aged 16 to 24 and 36% of those aged 25 to 34 said that they did not take out insurance.
Around one in four travellers aged 16 to 34 also said that they thought the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) meant they did not need insurance, while around one in five thought the UK government would foot the bill if they fell ill overseas.
Market research firm Key Note found that the volume and value of travel insurance sales dropped by more than a fifth in the five years to 2014, even as the number of visits abroad by UK residents topped a record 60 million.
One reason identified is the rise of the annual multi-trip policy, often sold as part of a packaged bank account. This lets people go abroad as many times as they like in a year while only having bought one policy.
Greater awareness of the EHIC, which entitles a bearer resident in the European Economic Area to the same level of treatment a local could enjoy from the state, has also played a part.
But Key Note said: “Many mistakenly believe this is an adequate substitute for travel insurance, when the reality is that this is not always the case.
“Of course, one of the key factors is the simple lack of people taking out travel insurance when they go abroad, despite the huge cost ramifications this might entail if they need medical care.”
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