In the time it takes to boil a kettle and make a cup of tea, a UK traveller will need emergency medical treatment abroad, quite often due to something that has happened by accident such as a trip or fall. Unfortunately for them, if they don’t have travel insurance, they could be in for a shock when it comes to settling any medical expenses.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) recently analysed over half a million travel insurance claims made last year revealing that:
- Travel insurers helped 153,000 British travellers needing emergency medical treatment abroad - the equivalent of 420 people every day.
- The total medical bill paid by insurers was £209 million – £570,000 every day - the highest figure since 2010.
- Of the £399 million paid out on all travel insurance claims, medical claims accounted for 52% of claim costs, followed by cancellation costs at 36%, then lost baggage or money at 4%.
Taking a risk…
Amazingly, one in five British tourists still travel overseas without travel insurance despite the average cost of a travel insurance policy costing just £38. This is a drop in the ocean compared with the estimated cost required to treat a British couple on holiday in Florida after they both suffered chest pains and heart problems. The cost was a staggering £241,000. Imagine if you had the same problem but didn’t have any travel insurance!
And it’s not just long-haul travellers who could face high costs. An elderly visitor to Spain was required to spend 23-days in hospital to treat injuries and trauma following a road crash. Spain is one of the more expensive destinations to find yourself unwell in.
Aaron Hackett from PayingTooMuch.com said: “Travellers shouldn’t underestimate the costs that are involved when it comes to medical care abroad. Those living in the USA must pay for private healthcare, which is very expensive. You will need take the same precautions as US by ensuring that you have the right cover or face the possibility of having to pay out a huge medical bill.”
Examples of high pay-outs for travel insurance
- £200,000 paid to treat a traveller on a cruise in China who suffered a brain haemorrhage. This included an air ambulance back to the UK from Hong Kong.
- £153,000 for treating a broken arm caused by falling out of a bed in San Francisco. This included paying for the flight back home.
- £137,000 to treat a fractured spine resulting from a bathroom fall in Thailand, including return to the UK.
- £89,000 to pay the medical bill for a holidaymaker who suffered a heart attack while visiting Turkey.
- £78,000 to treat an elderly visitor to Spain for a 23-day hospital stay to treat injuries and trauma following a road crash.
- Air ambulance costs back to the UK can be jaw-dropping as well: typically, £75,000 from Asia, £50,000 from the US and £13,500 from Italy.
Top tips for a safer overseas holiday
- Take the emergency contact details of your travel insurer when you travel.
- Take care and stay safe. Try to avoid putting yourself at any unnecessary risk and always act responsibly.
- Check if you are covered by your travel insurance for any activities you may do.
- Declare any pre-existing medical conditions before you travel.
If you would like to arrange cover, please call our travel team on 01243 784000 and get a suitable travel insurance policy for your next trip.