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Holidaymakers warned over insurance

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Nearly a fifth of holidaymakers head off overseas without travel insurance, facing the possibility of being hit with massive medical bills, a report has warned.

Travel organisation Abta, which surveyed more than 2,000 people, said 17% think travel insurance is unnecessary, while 16% mistakenly believe their medical expenses will be taken care of by the UK government.

Mike Monk, Abta's head of finance, said: "It is very worrying that almost 20% of holidaymakers are going abroad without insurance and running the risk of substantial medical bills.

"In the current economic climate saving the cost of travel insurance could prove a very false economy."

The study also found more than half (55%) of people do not get themselves travel insurance while holidaying within the country.

Abta said they risk being unable to claim for cancellation charges in the event of illness or loss of employment.

The survey, published ahead of Abta's annual convention in Malta, also revealed in the past five years 12% of holidaymakers had claimed on their insurance, with 3% claiming more than £500.

© Press Association 2010