Millennial holidaymakers were the most likely to travel abroad without insurance with a large increase over the last year, new research by Abta reveals.

One in four (25%) people aged 18-24 and 38% of people aged 25-34 travelled abroad uninsured in the 12 months to May 2017.

This represents a rise from the previous year, when 31% of both age groups travelled abroad uninsured.

A quarter of all holidaymakers travelled overseas uninsured in the last year, an increase from 22% in the previous 12 months.

Of those who travelled abroad without insurance, more than a third (36%) thought they did not need it.

One in five (22%) stated that travelling uninsured was a risk they were willing to take.

Abta is urging holidaymakers ahead of the summer travel peak to ensure they take out travel insurance to avoid potentially costly medical bills should something go wrong.

The cost of medical treatment can run into thousands of pounds and the association has recently seen cases of uninsured travellers having to resort to crowdfunding to help raise money for treatment or repatriation.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without insurance.

“Often their families have to raise thousands of pounds for their treatment or repatriation and that’s why it is so worrying to see an increase in younger people travelling without insurance.

“Rather than having to resort to the kindness of strangers, holidaymakers should make sure that they have the right insurance in place. I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out an insurance policy this summer.”

Susan Crown, from the Travel Aware team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said:  “We want people to enjoy their holidays but our research shows young people are risking thousands of pounds in medical bills by travelling without an insurance policy that covers them for everything they want to do abroad.

“The FCO cannot pay medical bills if you are hospitalised abroad nor can we fly you home.

“Take out an appropriate insurance policy and make sure you know what it covers you for. It may feel like an added expense but it’s very worthwhile if you compare it to what you could end up paying if something goes wrong on holiday.”

ROCK Insurance welcomed Abta’s stance.

Director of sales Phil Carr said: “These figures – whilst shocking – hardly come as a great surprise, given that year-on-year claims cost rise much faster than the global inflation rate and the impact of Brexit is only set drive the cost of travelling abroad even higher.

“This in turn will mean that those with large families or those on already restricted budgets will be increasingly looking to cut ‘non-essential’ costs from their trips, in order to make this money go further.”