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The True Costs of Getting ill Overseas

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With news this week from the Association of British Insurers that getting ill abroad can cost you the same as the average cost of a house in the UK, its never been more important to ensure you’re covered for your trip.

Getting Ill abroad
How much could become ill abroad cost you?

The Association of British Insurers have released new figures this week which show the true costs of getting ill overseas without adequate travel insurance. The figures show that each week 3,000 British travellers make claims for emergency medical care while abroad.

While most claims for medical expenses average at just over £700, if you need to be repatriated to the UK, or you require more complex treatments, your bill could be well over £211,000, the average cost to buy a house in the UK.

What’s the largest claim we’ve ever had?

Your medical bill could be well over £211,000, the average cost to buy a house in the UK“

Where you travel plays a major factor into these soaring costs. One of the largest claims we have seen came from a policy holder travelling in the USA. After suffering a serious heart attack, which required surgery, the total medical expenses and repatriation came to over $600,000 US dollars. If this traveller hadn’t purchased adequate cover then he would have had to foot this bill himself.

Total medical expenses and repatriation came to over $600,000 US dollars”

However, it’s not only incurring medical expenses when travelling in the USA which could bankrupt you. In Spain, the most popular European destination for travellers from the UK, we have handled claims for medical expenses costing over £80,000.

Why do people travel without insurance?

Despite the potentially huge costs, one in five Britons travel without insurance. As explained by ABI’s manager of general insurance, Mark Shepard, buying a travel insurance policy is often the last thing travellers think of before they jet off.

Although people don’t want to consider the things that could go wrong while they are away, as explained by Mark: “It is really important to, because it is basically not worth the risk to fall ill abroad and be saddled with what we are seeing as astronomical medical treatment bills, particularly in countries outside Europe.”

It is essential that anyone travelling overseas should take out appropriate travel insurance for the duration of the trip, and to declare any medical conditions to the insurer, before they take out their policy.

“1 in 5 Britons travel without insurance”

Do I need a European Health Insurance Card and Travel Insurance?

If you are travelling in Europe then you should also carry a valid European Health Insurance Card with you. The EHIC is free and provides state healthcare in many European countries. Many state hospitals in Europe will accept the EHIC without needing additional payment, whereas you may need to pay upfront and claim back if you only have travel insurance. For a full list of participating countries and for more information see our guide to the EHIC.

However, the EHIC won’t cover you for some extra medical costs, repatriation, or cover you for cancellation, curtailment, baggage delay or personal property.

At ERGO a standard annual policy is a small cost in comparison to how much you may have to pay should something happen while you’re away, and definitely not the same price as a house!

Travelling Last Minute:

At ERGO we have recently introduced ERGO Go, a lastminute travel insurance product designed with cancellation cover removed, as typically this kind of cover is purchased at the departure gate.

Andy Chapman

Andy Chapman

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