Over three-quarters (78%) of UK holidaymakers who buy travel insurance fail to read their policies properly and are unsure about the level of protection they will receive, according to a new study.

The survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by Go Travel Insurance, also found that travellers jetting off on short breaks were least likely to take out any insurance. It found that up to half of people going away for a few days are uninsured, compared to one in eight (13%) people taking breaks of a week or more.

Go Travel Insurance chief executive Christian Young warned: “If you fall seriously ill or have an accident overseas, medical costs can be huge. Without travel insurance, you would be left to pay the bill personally.”

Young also pointed out that even those travelling within the European Union with a European Health Insurance card, the replacement for the old E111 form, may have to pay a large percentage of the cost of treatments.