Is it worth the risk?
Thinking about scrimping on travel insurance for your holiday abroad this year? Think again. Travel insurance is essential. If you’re not convinced – read on.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance offers financial protection for a number of situations that can arise when you’re travelling. It can cover accidents, injuries, and hospital visits while you are away from home. It can also cover transporting you to a major hospital for treatment or for unexpected interruptions in your travel plans. And not forgetting travel insurance can provide financial protection for theft or damage to your belongings while travelling. The most important thing is to make sure that your policy covers everything you want it to.
Travel insurance horror stories
As we discussed in our last post, the case of Richard Plummer from Kent would certainly make you think twice about not getting travel insurance. It’s worth recapping on Richard’s story.
After being seriously injured in a road accident in Indonesia, Richard’s father spent over £20,000 on medical bills for his son’s treatment. But that’s not all. “Richard’s parents now face the possibility of being forced to sell their home to fund Richard’s repatriation to the UK for treatment, which will cost around £98,000”. This is all because Richard didn’t have a valid travel insurance policy at the time of the incident. The tragedy with this story is that it could have been avoided – if he’d had a valid insurance policy.
And if Richard’s story wasn’t enough to convince you that travel insurance is essential, prepare yourself for the next three travel horror stories.
Stories that will make your skin crawl
The first story concerns a man who needed to be airlifted out of South Mexico to the US after been bitten by a fly. An American doctor then had to remove four worms that had hatched underneath his skin! If that wasn’t bad enough the second horror story involves three passengers who were bitten by airport police dogs. The flight crew had to transport the passengers back to America to receive treatment. Lastly, after been bitten by a moose tick, a traveller developed Lyme Disease. His travel insurance covered the cost of the medical air transport back to his hometown hospital – estimated to total over $150,000.
These travellers were lucky. Without travel insurance they would have faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
The it-will-never-happen-to-me mentality won’t do you any good. Minor and major accidents happen while travelling. Believe us, having valid travel insurance will prevent you from being left significantly out of pocket.
So what’s the real cost of not getting insurance?
There’s no excuse not to buy travel insurance. Though it can be very confusing to figure out which company offers the best deal, it’s inexpensive and available online. Take a company such as World First Travel for example. They have policies that cover up to £5 million worth of medical expenses. And quotes for a single trip start from as little as £7. A mere £7 is nothing compared to Richard Plummer’s £98,000 bill.
They also have annual and family policies on offer that will reduce the cost of your insurance if you travel often or as a family. Like other companies they also offer backpackers insurance. And don’t forget to apply for your free EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card). This lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free in Europe. http://www.scot.nhs.uk/
Important travel insurance tips
- Read the fine print and know exactly what you’re covered for. For example, some policies don’t cover extreme sports or theft of unattended items.
- Take photos of everything you want to insure, like an expensive piece of camera equipment for example.
- Keep any medical receipts.
- Keep your policy numbers and insurance contact information in a safe accessible place.
- File a police report immediately after any theft or accident.
A final word of warning
If you are unlucky enough to been involved in an accident abroad contact an experienced personal injury solicitor immediately. Travelling without insurance is simply not worth the risk. At the end of the day it’s a personal choice. But without it you could be left with bills that are literally life changing.