More than half (57%) of MPs think the government should do more to encourage people to take out travel insurance.

A poll for Abta suggests that some MPs may hold the government responsible for the decline in the number of people taking out cover for when they travel.

One in 5 (18%) MPs believe that it is government regulation of the sector that has resulted in fewer customers purchasing travel insurance. Two in five (38%) older MPs, think this is the case.

This comes as research shows that the number of Britons travelling abroad without insurance is on the rise, even though one in five (19%) have visited a doctor or hospital abroad and 42% think the contents of their suitcase would be worth more than £500 for a two-week holiday.

Conservative MPs are the least likely to feel that government should do more to encourage people to take out cover when they travel with 49% agreeing with this statement, compared to 61% of Labour MPs and 68% of Liberal Democrat MPs.

Yet MPs are more likely than consumers to take out travel insurance when they travel abroad, with 80% always taking out a policy.

However, many MPs appear to be unsure what travel insurance covers them for.

Compared to 17% of the general public, a quarter of MPs think the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC, pictured) is a suitable substitute for a travel insurance policy, when in reality it only provides access to basic state medical care and will never cover the costs of repatriation to the UK nor lost or damaged belongings.

One in five MPs (19%) also mistakenly think that purchasing a flight or holiday by credit card is a substitute for travel insurance, with 42% of London MPs believing this. Credit cards typically only provide protection for certain aspects of the booking and do not cover full medical expenses or repatriation.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “It is alarming that the number of people travelling abroad uninsured is on the rise and so it is good to see MPs acknowledging that government should do more to address this.

“In recent years government legislation has made it more difficult for travel businesses to sell travel insurance, which we believe has contributed to the rise in numbers travelling uninsured.

“Medical bills can run into thousands of pounds, so government must do all that it can to encourage people to take our insurance and make it easy for them to get the right kind of cover for their needs.”