According to travel trade body Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), one in five Britons will jet off abroad this summer without any travel insurance.
Travel insurance is always seen as a grudge purchase and people have a “it will never happen to me” attitude, and therefore risk going abroad without travel insurance, especially if the are only travelling to Europe.
However, going to a foreign country can pose more threats of something going wrong than you would imagine. For a start there could be a language barrier, coupled with unfamiliar surroundings and should something go wrong, if you fall ill, have an accident, your suitcase goes missing or you have all of your possessions stolen – then you are on your own.
More worrying is that the one in five who risk going abroad without travel insurance are running the risk of substantial medical bills should the fall ill or have an accident. Many people believe wrongly that the Foreign Office will pay their expenses, they will help you to arrange loans to cover hefty medical expenses, but the responsibility to repay the loan lays with the individual not the Foreign Office.
The dangers are highlighted by the plight of a Kent couple who face a bill of £98,000 to fly home their son, who is in a coma after a motorbike accident in Indonesia, last month. He had no insurance and his parents have already spent £22,000 on medical bills.
Buying travel insurance has never been easier, even if you need a travel insurance with medical conditions policy, but don’t buy your travel insurance policy on price alone. With travel insurance as with most things you get what you pay for so it is worth while doing a little bit of research. Check the policy wordings and check that the cover does suit your needs, for example if you are planning a holiday “base jumping” it is very unlikely that the cheap policy you find on comparison sites will cover this activity. Further more if you have a medical condition such as cancer this will probably not be covered on the cheaper travel insurance policies you would need to look for a specific cancer travel insurance policy.
And finally try not to buy your travel insurance at the last minute, you will be rushed and may not have time to check that the policy you are buying fully suits your needs. Furthermore, buying travel insurance at the last minutes would leave certain sections of the policy virtually worthless. Most policies include cover which kicks in if you need to cancel your trip due to illness, a death in the family or redundancy. So it’s a good idea to buy insurance around the same time you book your holiday.
The cost of travel insurance is minimal compared with benefits it provides, so don’t consider it a luxury, it is essential and should something go wrong you will be mighty glad you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in you back pocket.