Shock new figures suggest that the cost of a holiday illness could exceed the average price of a UK house.
Data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that more than 3,000 tourists a week are making holiday compensation claims for emergency medical care while travelling abroad.
But one in five travellers still don’t bother to take out insurance, according to the Association of British Travel Agents. And if something goes wrong, medical bills could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The Importance of Travel Insurance
The importance of taking out travel insurance cannot be underestimated, yet so many people don’t give it a second thought. Pricing for travel insurance is very competitive and there are a wide variety of policy types to choose from.
Without travel insurance, holidaymakers could face substantial bills for a hospital stay, medication and even repatriation, where required.
There are a large number of other items that travel insurance will assist with, such as flight cancellations etc. I would also recommend taking out travel insurance with legal expenses insurance attached to the policy, as this will assist with any legal costs that may be required for any incidents that may occur whilst abroad.
The Cost of a Holiday Illness or Accident
The ABI says that the average annual travel insurance policy costs £33. So, could suffering a holiday illness really cost you more than a house? Medical bills topped more than £500,000 after someone sustained multiple leg fractures and an artery tear in America, requiring an air ambulance back to the UK. Insurers also picked up the £300,000 bill after a tourist fell from a waterfall in Thailand and paid out £40,000 when an Indonesian traveller was bitten by a mosquito and contracted Dengue fever.
If we take the risk and fail to take out travel insurance, should we then encounter unexpected illness or an accident abroad, the costs are likely to exceed the price of a policy by quite a substantial amount.
In July, 2015, research found the cost of holiday injuries came to £1 billion over the last three years. This figure was spent on approximately 4.4 million holidaymakers and travellers who were injured as the result of an accident abroad.
Read more on this study here.
Don’t Forget Your European Health Insurance Card
If you’re heading to Europe you should also consider a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC card) as part of your essentials when packing.
A recent study by Post Office Travel Insurance revealed that many holidaymakers don’t quite understand how an EHIC works, with half of British travellers believing the EHIC card entitles them to free medical treatment overseas, and 5% wrongly thinking they’re covered for medical treatment anywhere in the world. An EHIC card is not a replacement for travel insurance. It grants medical care relative to the same received by locals depending where you are in the EU.
For more information, see: Understanding How Your EHIC Card Works in a Holiday Accident
Nicholas Lukacs is a travel litigation executive and personal injury lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people who suffer food poisoning on holiday abroad or in the UK. If you or your holiday party suffer a holiday illness call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.