As 7 million UK holidaymakers prepare to book their main summer holidays in the coming weeks, AXA believes that up to nine in ten of these could end up with a holiday that is uninsured, under insured or wrongly insured.
AXA, the largest travel insurer in the UK, believes consumer ignorance and the industry's failure to address this with relevant and understandable products has led to these levels of under insurance.
The volcanic ash cloud, swine flu and airline strikes of the last couple of years highlighted some of the consumer and industry issues around travel insurance. 19% of holidaymakers say they are now more likely to consider buying travel insurance than they were this time last year. Yet if budgets are tight consumers say that travel insurance is more likely to bite the dust than money for holiday or nights out.
The new AXA policy is available only directly from AXA Insurance and aims to provide comprehensive, flexible and relevant cover:
Three levels of cover: basic, essential and premier for single trip (up to 365 days) or annual multi-trip
New travel disruption cover for independent travellers (holidaymakers who book their own travel and accommodation rather than using a package tour). This will ensure additional accommodation and travel costs are covered if unforeseen delays occur. It also covers financial failure of travel providers
Online guidance to ensure other important features such as winter sports are not left out. A million skiers could be heading to the slopes this winter with no cover
Four optional areas of cover - baggage, sports equipment, legal cover and travel disruption
Individual age and health rated pricing.
Online medical screening - ensuring travellers are not under-insured.
Roman Bryl for AXA says: "Travel insurance is viewed as an optional extra. 65% of claims are for medical problems. The average claim cost involving a hospital stay is £1400. Serious medical claims can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. For the vast majority of people, footing the bill would be a complete impossibility."