With the holiday season underway, the resort chosen and bags packed, it’s vital you remember your travel insurance.
Every week around 4,000 holidaymakers who fall ill abroad are being helped by the medical cover on their travel insurance policy to the tune of almost £4 million, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
And as many as 800 won't be insured, with one in five travellers not taking out insurance, even though the average price of an annual travel insurance policy is just £32. When compared to the average cost of a claim, currently £1,022, a travel policy is a cheap option.
An expensive mistake
James Dalton, Director for General Insurance at the ABI said: “Falling ill abroad can be very traumatic, but travel insurance can cover the potentially high medical costs which can run into tens of thousands.”
Without medical cover you could end up paying for example:
- One night in a ward of a private Spanish hospital - £800
- For treatment to a broken ankle in Tenerife - £7,000
- For treatment to multiple injuries after being hit by a car in Greece - £21,000
Pre-existing medical conditions
When buying a travel policy it is extremely important that you list any pre-existing medical conditions, including everything from broken bones and allergies to cancer and heart problems or your policy may not pay up if you need medical help abroad.
Different insurers have different definitions, so if you’re unsure about what to declare ask the insurer. Some insurers may not cover your condition while others may charge more, so it’s important that you shop around.
Beth Macer, travel insurance expert at PayingTooMuch.com explains: “A lot of travellers fail to declare certain medical conditions because they occurred ‘a long time ago’ or because they don’t realise it is a medical condition. Surprisingly we also find people are unsure why they are taking medication in the first place.”
“Few of us have a perfect medical history, so if you are prescribed medication for treating or controlling a medical condition then you need to declare the condition for which the medication is prescribed to your insurer. Failure to declare your conditions could cause serious repercussions when it comes to making a claim. Remember: even if they occurred in childhood, they must be declared to the insurer.”
European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is free from the NHS, isn’t a replacement for travel cover, but entitles you to the same level of state medical care provided to eligible nationals in the country you’re in. That means treatment may be free or at a reduced cost in the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The EHIC isn’t accepted in Turkey.
Don’t expect the same level of free treatment you would get from the NHS, and be aware that EHIC doesn’t cover repatriation.
Daisy Parker, spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), said: “It’s important that those who have taken out travel insurance make certain that it covers all their needs whilst away, as many insurance policies do not cover adventure sports such as quad-biking, jet skiing or hiring scooters.”
- Don’t just take the first travel insurance policy you find. Shop around for the insurance that suits your circumstances best. For example if you have a pre-existing medical condition, PayingTooMuch.com offers specialist and affordable cover
- Don’t forget your free EHIC for European holidays, available from the NHS
- Remember that travel insurance doesn’t cover accidents that take place when the policyholder hasn’t taken reasonable care or had excessive amounts of alcohol
- If you’re planning to take part in any activity like water skiing, kite surfing, go carting or quad biking check that you are covered by your policy
- Declare all pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer
- Check out the ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign website at www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo which provides valuable advice to travellers on how to stay safe and healthy abroad