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Do you need travel insurance?

Do you need travel insurance?

You may think that you don't need travel insurance or take the risk of not having a policy before your travels?

You may be happy to take the risk that if your luggage is lost or stolen, you can buy replacements if you wish, out of your pocket. 

However, what happens if you're injured or have an accident whilst on holiday? Emergency medical treatment abroad can be very costly and can run into hundreds and thousands of pounds.

The Association of British Insurers has cited some examples of medical costs faced by British travellers, who were covered by travel insurance1:

Examples of Medical Costs

Cost  Medical Treatment  Location 
 £322,000  Treating a swollen blood vessel in the brain  USA
 £101,000  Treatment for an abscess in the abdomen  USA
 £300,000  The treatment of multiple injuries following a fall from a waterfall  Thailand
 £40,000  Treating a traveller who was bitten by a mosquito and contracted Dengue fever  Indonesia
 £31,000  Treating a broken leg that became infected  Nepal
 £16,000  To treat a fractured hip caused by a motorcycle accident  Thailand
 £11,000  Treating a brain tumor  Spain

European Health Insurance Card

If you already have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may feel that you don't need additional travel insurance as it would cover your medical treatment.  It's worth getting an EHIC which you can apply for free, however it's not an alternative to travel insurance.

A valid EHIC will give you the state-provided healthcare during your travels in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. 

Any treatment you receive should be on the same level as someone who is a resident of the country you're visiting.  Also if the locals are expected to pay for part of their medical care, you'll be required to pay too.

Why an EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance?

  • You may not get the same level of medical care that you get in the UK
  • It won't cover:

    o  the cost for getting you back home, such as air ambulance or if you need to book an earlier flight
    o  the cost of any lost or stolen luggage or items
    o  the cost of delayed or cancelled flights
    o  cruise holidays
    o  costs such as mountain rescue on ski resorts 

It's important therefore to have both an EHIC and a valid travel insurance policy in place before you travel.

What will happen to EHIC following the results of the Brexit vote? 

No changes have been announced to EHIC so far, following the results of the EU referendum, so you can continue to apply and use your card as per usual.

Finally, don't forget that you do need to get your insurance before your trip starts and not just for the duration of your travels.  Let's say you have an accident before your intended trip - without travel insurance, it won't protect you if need to cancel your trip. 

Find out more about travel insurance for professionals and medical professionals.


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