Unlimited medical expenses will be covered by the Co-op as it enters the travel insurance market.

The new travel insurance offers cashless medical expenses for all ages and medical conditions.

This means that customers will not have to pay out themselves for any medical treatment – claimed to be a first for the general insurance market.

Policyholders will have access to an online medical consultation with a General Medical Council (GMC) registered doctor, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world.

Customers can use their smart phones or tablets to speak to doctors both prior to travel and during their trips.

Users can also receive prescriptions, referrals and fit-for-work notes, avoiding the need to navigate unfamiliar health systems and overcome language barriers, according to the Co-op.

A new study by the company found that two thirds (62%) of holidaymakers who have claimed on their travel insurance said they had to cover the costs upfront themselves and then claim these costs back at a later date from their insurer.

With the average travel insurance claim now standing at £2,090, the research reveals the financial impact this has on UK holidaymakers.

A quarter (26%) had to turn to family members to borrow money in order to pay the claim.

A further quarter (25%) had to take money out of their savings and a tenth (10%) ended up in debt as a result of having to pay the claim themselves and then claim this back from their insurer.

Co-op’s travel insurance offers three policies – single trip, annual/ multi-trip and backpacker – broken down into three tiers of cover.

Co-op Insurance chief executive, Mark Summerfield, said: “Having recognised a gap in the market, we’ve worked with our members across the Co-op, to build a product which is fair, inclusive of all ages and medical conditions.

“Furthermore, we’re the first general insurer to pay medical expenses up front, ensuring that our customers are not left out of pocket at what can already be a stressful time.”

Prices excluding member discount start at £8.96 for a long weekend in Europe.