There is a saying that those who cannot afford to purchase travel insurance cannot really afford to travel, and I think there is a lot of truth in that statement! Every year, nearly 15% of travellers forgo annual travel insurance as they set out on holidays to faraway destinations, leaving themselves and their families financially vulnerable to expensive bills, should they fall sick or have an accident while away. Many people just don’t realise how expensive medical treatments can be and how large the risk they are putting on their financial well-being.Highest Number of ClaimsWhen it comes to UK travellers, studies over the past few years have revealed that travel to Spain brings in the highest number of travel insurance claims, with the average bill totalling £1,194. Greece comes in second, with medical treatments costing travellers an average of £462. The most expensive medical expenses have been for travellers to the United States at £2,851 on average. When you consider these costs, it’s a wonder travellers will risk to not purchase annual travel insurance.Cost of TreatmentsThe most common ailments UK residents have sought treatment for while on vacation have been ear infections, with the average cost to the traveller being £320. Heart conditions unsurprisingly have been the most expensive, with treatment averaging £8,148. As we’ve seen above, costs can vary widely depending on the country in which they are incurred.You may have read the story from a few years ago about a 32 year-old man who was living in Bali and unfortunately let his travel insurance expire, right before suffering a serious motorcycle accident that left him in a coma. His medical treatments, including an air ambulance flight back to the UK, cost him and his family a devastating £80,000, wiping out their savings and forcing them to raise the money with friends and family to cover the bills. Financial concerns are the last thing a family should have to worry about when a loved one suffers an accident.When to Purchase Travel InsuranceThe best time to buy annual travel insurance is right after booking your trip. After reserving the flights and hotel, travel insurance should be your next purchase, for a couple of reasons. First, putting things off can lead to you forgetting about it all together in the flurry of last-minute things before travelling. Secondly, some insurance plans will also cover you for flight or accommodations cancellations beyond your control, or provide a refund on expenses should you fall ill before your departure date and need to cancel.Once you’ve booked your travel insurance, it’s really important you read the policy in full, to ensure you are covered for all of the activities you are planning. Don’t be one of the 11% of people who only get around to reading the fine print when they need to submit a claim! You don’t want that to be the time you realise your annual travel insurance isn’t as comprehensive as you thought it was.Protect yourself against the unexpected by including travel insurance as part of your holiday planning. Purchase it once for the year and be covered for all the trips you and your family take over the following twelve months. No need to worry about unplanned, exorbitant costs hitting you in the event of an accident or sickness, and the peace of mind is be priceless!