Uninsured Brits Spend £850 on Medical Care Abroad

In Insurance, Travel by PCH Staff

For most holidaymakers, holding valid travel insurance before they go away is a vital part of the overall package. However, a new poll has revealed that a significant proportion of British travellers are paying hefty prices abroad because they chose not to get suitable insurance before their breaks.

According to the research by flight comparison company Jetcost, just two thirds of British holidaymakers have travel insurance for all of their trips abroad. Of the third who don’t, almost half (47%) said they felt it wasn’t needed every time they went away, while 28% said they never get cover for short trips that only last a few nights.

France, Spain and Italy were the top three countries for Brits to visit but not buy insurance for.

It’s a reality that is seeing these uninsured travellers having to fork out substantial sums for medical treatment in foreign countries. Those travelling without insurance spend an average of £850 upfront to cover medical bills when they become sick or injured.

In fact, four in 10 uninsured British travellers admitted that they had fallen ill or been injured while abroad. As a result, 51% said they had to purchase medication from a local pharmacy, while 29% paid to see a doctor or visit a local hospital. The remaining 20% waited until they returned home to seek medical assistance.

“For the sake of roughly £17, it’s not worth not purchasing travel insurance,” a Jetcost spokesperson said. “It prevents having to pay extortionate costs of £850 or more whilst abroad to see a doctor or visit a local hospital.”

Travel Insurance Misconceptions

The Jetcost research comes as a survey by Travel Insurance Explained (TIE) found that nearly 70% of UK travellers believe their insurance should cover the cost of rebooking cancelled flights, plus all connected travel and accommodation.

Half of UK travellers believe their holiday insurance should cover the cost of new flights if they miss theirs due to increased airline security measures delaying them.

The advice from TIE is that travellers should check their policies and ensure they fully understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. Being unaware or failing to understand the terms of a policy will not be accepted as mitigating circumstances at a later date.

Travellers are urged to check that the policy they are purchasing has the wider coverage needed to cover cancelled flights and flights missed because of delays at passport control.

Fiona Macrae of TIE said: “These policies may be slightly more expensive than standard policies, but that would be a couple of pounds well spent” if people end up needing to make a claim.

Are you covered when travelling abroad? Everyone who travels abroad for business or pleasure should purchase adequate Travel Insurance at the time of booking their trip. As an independent intermediary, we review the market on behalf of our clients to not only ensure they are getting the right product, but that they are getting it at the right price.

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