£55 million spent on sports injuries abroad

11th September 2013

  • One third of Brits have taken part in sporting activities whilst on holiday
  • 25 per cent of these have injured themselves playing sport on holiday
  • 78 per cent needed medical treatment as a result

Britons accumulate medical bills totalling an average of £55million per year, after injuring themselves playing sport on holiday, new research1 from Direct Line travel insurance reveals.

Whilst on their travels2, a third (31 per cent) of Brits have taken part in sporting activities and of these people, one in four (25 per cent) have experienced an injury.

Thirteen per cent were lucky enough to escape with just cuts and bruises, however one in ten (10 per cent) ended up with ligament damage or a sprain. Six per cent broke a bone or dislocated a joint and an unfortunate five per cent suffered deep cuts or lacerations. Three per cent suffered concussion or a head injury.

Three quarters (78 per cent) of those injured required medical attention to treat injuries. Over half (58 per cent) had to cover the cost of the treatment themselves, with one in ten (12 per cent) having paid more than £100 and four per cent having had to spend over £250. One in ten (ten per cent) left it to the NHS to pick up the tab for their treatment, waiting until they returned home to seek medical attention.

Tom Bishop, head of Direct Line travel insurance says: “It’s fantastic to see that we are such an active nation, but with one in four Britons who play sports on holiday getting injured, this research highlights the importance of comprehensive travel insurance. Medical bills and any resulting delays returning home can be very costly, and sports such as skiing, may require additional cover, so travellers should check they have appropriate cover before setting off.”

Taking the lead from the likes of Chris Froome, cycling is the most popular choice with nine per cent of holidaymakers cycling on their travels. This is closely followed by tennis, enjoyed by seven per cent of those surveyed, golf (six per cent) and water sports (five per cent).

Table One: top 10 sporting activities whilst on holiday

  1. Canoeing / Kayaking
  2. Cycling
  3. Go-Karting *
  4. Golf *
  5. Horse Riding
  6. Quad Biking **
  7. Scuba Diving
  8. Skiing / Snowboarding *
  9. Tennis
  10. Water Skiing / Wakeboarding

In addition to playing sport on holiday, Britons are set to spend over £5 billion attending sports events overseas in the next two years. Over 11 million travelling supporters will spend an average of £480.83 each seeking out sport around the globe, with foreign football matches being the most popular overseas sports event.

Direct Line’s sporting activity checklist

  • Travellers should check the list of covered activities in their travel insurance policy documentation and bear these in mind when booking any last minute activities when away on holiday.
  • If travellers intend to partake in an activity not outlined in their policy booklet, they should call their travel insurer who may be willing to cover the activity for an additional premium.
  • If would-be sports enthusiasts are taking sports equipment away, they would be wise to think about additional insurance if the value exceeds the single item limit on their travel insurance policy. Travellers may find their home insurance covers it.

Notes to Editors

1 Study conducted by Opinium Research 9th – 12th July 2013 amongst 2006 UK adults. Results have been extrapolated up based on applying the percentage of UK adults in the nationally representative survey to the number of adults in the UK (50371000) according to the ONS population projections for 2013. 156 of 2006 (national representative base) were injured abroad in the last 5 years. 156 divided by 2006 multiplied by 50,371,000 (national number of adults) = 3,917,186.44 [total number of injuries assuming each respondent was injured only once]. Average spend per injury = £70.37. Total Number of Injuries, multiplied by average spend = £275,666,615. Assuming an even distribution over the last five years equates to £55,133,323 per year.
2On holidays in the last five years
* To be covered for these activities, an additional premium will be charged.
** Quad Biking is excluded and any claims arising as a result of partaking in quad biking would not be covered.

For more information, please contact:

Notes to editors:

*Research undertaken by Opinium between 22nd to 28th May 2013. Sample size: 1,041 parents with children aged 16-26.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

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