Thailand named travel cover claim blackspot for British holidaymakers as the country considers making insurance compulsory for all visitors
Thailand has taken the unwanted crown of having the most travel insurance claims per total number of visitors from Britain, according to new annual data.
In addition to having a higher rate of accidents and emergencies, the Asian country also has a higher incidence of cancellations and the second highest cost of cancellations, at £720, the Post Office index shows.
It comes as Thailand has revealed it is considering introducing a compulsory travel insurance scheme in order to increase confidence in holidaymakers when visiting the country.
There have been a number of recent tragedies in Thailand – including last year’s boat accident off Phuket which killed 47 Chinese tourists – which is likely to have contributed to the decision.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research, on behalf of Post Office Travel Insurance, has launched the index to help inform holidaymakers about the potential cost implications and level of risk of travelling to popular travel destinations.
It examined 17,295 claims from Post Office Travel Insurance customers and Consular Assistance requests to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2018 in 49 of the most visited destinations by UK travellers.
The index reviewed claims submitted to Post Office Travel Insurance and FCO assistance requests in 2018 over six categories: accidents, baggage, cancellations, travel documents, victim of crime assistance and emergency assistance.
The data was then analysed to discover where people were more likely to claim on their insurance or need assistance from the FCO.
By comparing a country’s score to the average in each category, every country was assigned an index ranking.
The index is scored on a 10 point scale, with a 10 indicating a country with more claims at a higher cost.
Thailand topped the index with a score of 5.9, closely followed by New Zealand and Sweden, with scores of 5.7 and
New Zealand might well be known for its extreme sports, but it is the high incidence of travel document requests which lands it in second place on the index – as well as a higher than average cost of medical treatment, at £1,640, and a high cost of cancellation, at £450.
Sweden is considered one of the safest countries for travellers and, as a member of the EU, travellers often think that with a European Health Insurance Card they don’t need travel insurance when visiting.
However, Sweden holds third place due to high baggage disruption and a higher than average baggage claim cost of £250.
Accidents make up 60% of claims
Overall, the index found that accidents (claims for medical costs or repatriation) top the list of travel insurance claims abroad, making up 60 per cent of claims.
Baggage delays made up 19 per cent, cancellations accounted for 21 per cent.
Meanwhile, travel documentation support accounted for 75 per cent of all requests to the FCO.
The research also found some 22 per cent of people have experienced the financial implications of an incident abroad, leaving Britons £543 out of pocket, on average.
Despite this, 37 per cent of travellers still regularly travel without travel insurance, with 23 per cent blaming the cost.