Ever skipped on travel insurance and thought 'it'll never happen to me'? Susie Maggie Thorne explains some of the medical costs involved in nursing you back to health abroad and getting you home
The idea of having to receive medical care while on a trip seems to scare many travellers, yet year-on-year we hear the same horror stories of people getting hurt without travel insurance to help them out of sticky situations. They may not have bought travel insurance as they were on a tight budget, or because they were unaware of the potential costs involved if they got into trouble. Some people simply think 'it will never happen to me'...
Do you know how much it could potentially cost if you didn't have travel insurance and...
Medical treatment abroad
(Sources include: All Clear Travel, Wanderlust)
For British travellers, an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover you for a variety of medical emergencies, it does not guarantee free heathcare across the continent. Different countries have different policies and, in many cases, travellers need to pay up front and be reimbursed later. In France, travellers are expected to pay up front for a consultation but will be reimbursed up to 70% of the cost later. In Belgium, travellers could be reimbursed up to 75% for a doctor's consultation but could be expected to pay the full cost of an ambulance if it was required.
If you're having to stay in a hospital for treatment for 24 hours, the average cost in US Dollars can be:
(Source: International Federation of Health Plans, 2012)
Always wanted to trek to the iconic Himalaya mountains? If you're stuck without travel insurance, an average helicopter used for evacuation from Everest Base Camp costs US$2,500 an hour and would normally take two hours to be evacuated from Base Camp to nearby Lukla.
(Source: Mountain Guides)
(Source: The Daily Telegraph)
Emergency flights home
If you need to get home in an emergency from another country, it can cost you thousands of pounds if you don't have the right cover. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) quote some of the expected costs:
With all of those panic-inducing examples in mind, you're probably scrabbling to find travel insurance straight away, but sometimes buying insurance can be confusing. Here's a guide of what it should cover and what it often doesn't cover so that you know what to look out for.
When it comes to insurance, cheap usually isn't best, the more expensive policies usually cover you for more...
Baggage, personal items and money:
Unexpected event cover:
Most companies charge for extra cover and it usually proves to be cheaper to buy it as part of your plan rather than potentially face the charge abroad. This includes things like winter sports (skiing and snowboarding), excess waivers to save you handing out cash if you claim and aforementioned specialist activities such as golfing, bungee jumping etc.
The small print:
We read it, and so should you!
It may seem like common sense but there are certain things that will void your claim. Common problems include:
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