Samuel Corria

Crash victim Samuel Corria has found out that he will be covered for his treatment in Australia after being very badly injured when his car flipped over four times. Backpacker Sam and his family had thought that, because his travel insurance had run out a few weeks before, he would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for his surgery and rehabilitation in Australia. However, in this case, the NHS has indicated that they will cover the bills that he incurs whilst under the care of the Australian health service.

But many tourists are not so lucky. Holidaymakers who go abroad without travel insurance could face hospital bills of tens of thousands of pounds this summer, even for relatively minor illnesses and injuries, according to Bupa Travel Insurance.

Bupa has analysed its insurance claims data to highlight the potentially high costs of requiring medical attention abroad. Looking at the average amount paid out for medical treatment in popular holiday destinations since 2008, Bupa found that Thailand, the USA and Canada are the most expensive countries in which to get sick or injured. For example, treatment for British tourists suffering a heart attack in the USA cost £32,400 per person, on average.

With millions of Britons planning to take their annual summer holiday in the next few months, we wanted to make sure that all our clients remembered to take out travel insurance before they left.

Here’s our handy checklist of ‘Dos and Don’ts’.

DOs…..   DON’Ts…..
Do ensure that you have a free EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and that it is valid. (EHIC Guide here) Note that it is no substitute for travel insurance and is only valid in Europe.    Don’t risk going overseas without cover, leaving yourself facing high medical bills if you fall ill or out of pocket if you need to cancel or cut short your trip.
Do check what counts as Europe/US/Worldwide. Don’t presume that a ‘Europe’ travel policy covers all countries in Europe (especially Spain and the Balearic Islands)  Don’t forget to arrange travel insurance well before your holiday. The further away it is, the more likely you are to cancel it in advance.
Do work out exactly who in your party needs cover. Are some people covered by their own travel insurance, possibly via their bank account or credit card?  Don’t just buy single trip cover; it is more than likely that annual insurance will work out cheaper if you travel twice within a year.
Do tell your home insurer if you are away for more than 30 days at a time, as leaving the property empty this long might invalidate your buildings and contents insurance.  Don’t forget risky sports (including skiing or downhill mountain biking) – they may need additional premiums to cover them.
Do tell your neighbours so they can keep an eye on your property – but don’t use social media to tell them (and everyone else). Ask your children not to tell their friends on Facebook about how long they’ll be on holiday.  Don’t hide medical conditions. Tell the insurer everything. Any subsequent change in your circumstances needs to be declared, even if you think you’ll be better by the time you travel.
Do read the small print and check what isn’t covered and any applicable ‘excesses’ where you have to pay the first part of any claim.  Don’t leave your emergency claims telephone number, travel certificate, EHIC or policy documents at home.
Do take all the telephone numbers you might need – not just Freephone 0800 but also +44 numbers that will work overseas. Don’t try to use standard travel insurance if you are going backpacking around the world.