Embassies helped more than 6,500 Britons at height of pandemic

More than 6,500 uninsured British travellers needed emergency government help abroad at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research from travel insurance provider Insurancewith.

Figures released after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show that 6,545 British travellers who went abroad in 2020 without travel insurance needed help from British embassies, consulates and other emergency agencies.

This compares with 2,623 the year before, representing a 150% increase in calls for help. In 2021 the figure was 1,788, reflecting a significant reduction in overseas travel amid Covid-19 restrictions.

The insurer said those who found themselves seriously ill with Covid-19 while abroad were often stuck overseas for weeks, and the number of medical escorts prepared carry out repatriation support fell because of the mandatory quarantine measures.

Sarah Page, Insurancewith brand manager, said: “It seems that, even at the height of the pandemic, British people were so desperate to travel they were prepared to take the risk and go abroad without insurance.

“But even now, with widely available extensive Covid cover, travellers are still not considering the risk of a sudden change in circumstances abroad.”

Insurancewith figures estimate that fewer than half of travellers are taking out Covid-19 policy extensions to protect their holidays.

Page added: “At a time when many may be considering booking their first foreign holiday since the pandemic, it is essential that holidaymakers do not risk travelling without protection.”

Specialist insurer Insurancewith.com was founded in 2005 to provide travel insurance for those suffering from cancer and genetic diseases.

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