by Dale Robinson

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14 December 2020

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With a no-deal Brexit looking likely, we take a look at what that could mean for European travel after 31 December, including sky-high medical bills if you do not have the right Travel Insurance.

The current EHIC cards will expire on 31 December and it remains unclear whether there will be a replacement scheme, even if the UK does reach a deal with the EU, so as things stand, if you travel to Europe on or after 1 January 2020, it is likely that you will have to pay for any medical treatment you need. 

That can be expensive: figures from the ABI (Association of British Insurers) show that 153,000 people had to claim for medical treatment while on holiday last year.

That’s almost 3,000 per week, at an average cost of £1,368 – an all-time high for medical claims.

In total £400 million was paid out in claims last year.

Travel Insurance claims by numbers

 

  • 153,000 travellers required emergency medical treatment abroad – at an average cost of £1,368 per claim.
  • 167,000 cancellation claims were paid – the average claim reached a new high of £869 per claim.
  • 79,000 was claimed for loss of baggage or money – the third highest claim type at an average of £214 per claim.

Commenting on the stats, the ABI’s Senior Travel Policy Adviser, Charlie Campbell, said:

“The fact that a quarter of Brits travel abroad without the right travel insurance is incredibly worrying. Few people have the luxury of being able to afford a surprise £800 bill, let alone one that runs into the tens or hundreds of thousands if they fall ill abroad. Anyone travelling should avoid unnecessary financial and emotional stress by ensuring they have the right cover in place. As not all policies are the same, people should look for cover that meets their needs, rather than the cheapest option.”

Real-life examples:

 

Relaxing on a beach in Alicante, our customer started to suffer from breathing difficulties.

She was quickly admitted to a local hospital where she received treatment.

The client was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) triggered by the humid weather.

Her Travel Insurance paid the medical bills and covered the cost of bringing her back to the UK accompanied by a medical professional.

Total claim cost: £6,855.21

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Another customer slipped in the bathroom at their own accommodation in Tenerife and fractured & dislocated their ankle.

The customer needed surgery and had an external fixator applied – they also needed two extra seats with wheel chair assistance at both airports.

This was all organised by the insurer, as well as ambulance transfers to and from each airport, so that there was no further risk to their injuries.

Total cost of claim: £10,454.84

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Of course Travel Insurance is not just about covering emergency medical costs; it will also cover additional accommodation expenses and the cost of getting you home if your hospital stay impacts your scheduled flight back. The right policy will also protect you if you need to cancel* your holiday and if your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged.

Cancelled holiday

Another would-be holidaymaker was due to jet off for a 10-day break to Spain with her husband when she had sudden abdominal pain. After visiting her GP she was referred to the local hospital where she was advised that her gall bladder needed to be removed. Unfortunately this meant that she would no longer be able to travel to Spain.

She had declared her previous gall stone flare up on her Travel Insurance policy which meant that she was covered for cancellation.

The money that the couple had paid for their holiday was refunded by her Travel Insurance.

Total claim cost: £1,069.50

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Lost passport

Can you believe losing your passport would end up costing more than £1,000?

One of our customers was sightseeing in San Francisco, USA and took a trip to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

A gust of wind blew his hat off his head and as he pulled his hand out of his pocket to grab his hat out flew his passport which disappeared over the side of the bridge.

He reported the incident to the claims helpline and a new passport was arranged for him, although the new document did not arrive in time for his departure. Fortunately he had taken out Travel Insurance which covered the costs for a new passport, additional accommodation and to rearrange his flight home.

Total claim cost: £1,386.66

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On single trip insurance your cancellation cover starts as soon as you have paid for your policy, ​so it’s important to buy Travel Insurance as soon as you’ve booked your trip

That way you’ll be covered should something happen which means that you can no longer travel.

 

  • Up to £12,500 cover for cancellation cover before you travel.
  • Up to 15 million cover for medical expenses whilst on holiday.
  • Up to £3,000 cover for your baggage in the event it is lost or stolen.

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