A lack of understanding of travel insurance cover amid concerns over terror attacks has emerged in a new survey.

More than four in ten (42%) of British travellers are concerned about terrorism affecting their travel plans, according to the research.

Younger travellers are the least likely to cancel a trip they had planned if the destination was affected by an act of terrorism, with just 58% of 18-24 year-olds stating that they were likely to cancel their plans compared with 70% of adults aged over 24 who wished to do so.

Londoners were found to have the highest proportion of worried travellers at 53% while only a third (32%) of those in the north-east were concerned about terrorism affecting their upcoming holidays.

The research showed that there was an increasing need for insurers to provide financial protection for travellers against the effects of terrorism, with a total of 71% of respondents saying they were likely to purchase additional financial protection against terrorism for their holiday if the price was under £5 for two weeks.

The nationwide poll by International Travel and Healthcare conducted with YouGov also highlighted misconceptions travellers have around what is currently being provided by standard travel insurance in terms of terrorism.

A quarter of all 2,026 respondents believed that travel insurance policies usually cover the cost of cancelling a trip if an act of terrorism has occurred, while 32% believed that it covered the cost of cutting a trip short for the same reason.

More than a third of those questioned (37%) believe that travel insurance will provide cover for delays as a result of an act of terrorism – in reality, few if any of these benefits are covered under standard travel insurance.

The survey found that only 24% of respondents who have taken out travel insurance said that they always read their policy wording fully and 58% read only ‘some parts’ of their policy wording.

Those aged between 45-54 years were least likely of all age groups to have read their policy wordings at all – despite being the age group with the highest propensity to purchase travel insurance nationally.

A fifth (19%) of respondents admitted that they did not know who would be responsible for covering the cost of repatriation for someone who was injured or killed in an act of terrorism, and 21% thought the UK government would pay the costs.

International Travel and Healthcare recently introduced a terrorism travel insurance offering, Safe Journey, which includes allowing travellers to get their money back should they wish to cancel or curtail their trip following an act of terrorism within 40 miles of their chosen destination.

Company managing director, Kate Huét, said: “Our research with YouGov has shown that terrorism is very high on the list of concerns and is being taken seriously when people are thinking about their travel plans.

“There is now a very clear need for financial protection against its effects for the many thousands of people whose trips are indirectly affected by acts of terrorism.

“While it is unsurprising that people are concerned about terrorism in this changing world, it is worrying that so many people misunderstand what travel insurance covers, leaving them with no financial protection should an act of terrorism occur close to their proposed destination if they no longer want to travel.

“It was in response to this lack of protection that prompted us at International Travel and Healthcare to launch the Safe Journey product, providing comprehensive cover in the event of terrorism for UK’s travellers – a true first in the UK travel insurance market.”