Travel insurance helps around 4,000 people every week who fall ill or get injured while abroad, industry figures show.
Last year, travel insurers paid out a total of £370 million for 581,000 claims made by travellers who needed assistance.
Of these tourists, more than 202,000 people needed to make a claim for medical treatment, an average of 3,800 a week, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
As the school holidays get under way, the figures serve as a timely reminder to families about the importance of being covered in case anything goes wrong while overseas.
Although an annual travel insurance policy costs an average of just £32, more than one in five people (22%) still risk travelling uninsured, the ABI says.
More travellers claim for medical treatment than for cancellation costs, or lost and stolen possessions.
James Dalton, director for general insurance at the ABI, says no-one wants to go on holiday and have to make a claim on their travel insurance but, for some travellers, something going wrong can be a “very real experience”.
Falling ill abroad can be very traumatic, he adds, but travel insurance can cover the potentially high medical treatment costs which can run into tens of thousands of pounds.