Holiday insurance is one of those things that we need when travelling abroad but is one of the last things that we do according to research. Although all travel companies tell us that we need travel insurance to go abroad and some say they will check that we have holiday insurance cover, not many travel companies actually check. Some leading travel experts are calling for a change and are demanding that all travel companies make sure their customers take out proper insurance before they are allowed to travel abroad. According to a recent report, 19% of UK holidaymakers travelling abroad do not take out travel insurance which means if anything happens to them abroad, they will not be covered and could cost them a lot more than the holiday cost them.
Holidaymakers thinking of travelling abroad should declare any medical conditions they may have. Failing to declare an existing medical condition when booking your holiday insurance could leave you in financial ruin if you suffer from a health-related problem while abroad.
On average, 8-15% of proposers declare an existing condition to their insurer but, according to research, the actual number of people who have a medical condition at the time of booking could be a lot higher.
With 12.5 million people in the UK suffering from high blood pressure and 5.4 million with asthma, it’s no surprise that these are two of the most common conditions declared by proposers.
A lot of people with high blood pressure and asthma, fwrongly believe that if they’re on medication and the condition is being controlled, it doesn’t count. But if you suffer a health problem abroad and your insurer considers your existing medical condition to be the root cause, you won’t be covered if you didn’t declare that condition at the time you bought your insurance.
Medical bills can easily mount up. If you have a heart attack in Spain, for example, you could find yourself facing medical expenses of between £15,000 and £30,000. And if you needed to get back home, an air ambulance from the mainland would cost about £18,000, or as much as £30,000 from the Canaries.
The cost of failing to declare your medical conditions in the USA could be even more financially devastating. Medical expenses for a heart attack can be anything from £80,000 to a whopping £300,000 – even more if there are complications – while an air ambulance back to the UK could cost £80,000 or more.
It is important that holidaymakers travelling to Spain should have the European Health Insurance Card with them. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC, formerly E111) entitles UK residents to reduced cost or free medical treatment in EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland but only state-run medical services. You will be treated on the same basis as an ‘insured citizen’ of the country you are visiting so it may not cover everything you would get free from the NHS. The EHIC also doesn’t cover the cost of bringing you and those travelling with you back to the UK, or private healthcare or services that are not part of the country’s healthcare system. For example, many European countries have private ambulance services that charge a fee for taking someone to hospital.
Don’t risk your financial future by not buying travel insurance.