The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO} has warned travellers from the UK to make sure they have the correct travel insurance in place when considering their travel plans
New research from the FCO shows that UK travellers shows that travel insurance is a the bottom of the list when it comes to travellers concerns below getting to the airport, airport security and the wait at the luggage carousel.
The research also shows that 72% of people over the age of 55 intend to travel abroad next year and approximately half of these have a pre-existing medical condition. With the cost of travel insurance the most important factor in the decision to purchase travel insurance according to the research, it also finds that 1 in 20 people have deliberately withheld details of a pre-existing medical condition in order to secure a lower price for the cover.
Many travellers rely upon the EHIC which provides medical care in the member states of the EEA but the level of state provided healthcare varies from member state to member state and the scheme does not include repatriation or additional accommodation costs.
The FCO is concerned about the take up of travel insurance and people travelling without an appropriate level of cover or with a policy that may not be arranged on the correct basis and has provided some examples of the cost of medical treatment abroad
stroke or heart attack repatriation – from £15,000 for an air ambulance in France to £90,000 for an air ambulance in the US
fractured hip – from £15,000 in Spain to £80,000 for an air ambulance in Thailand or the US
fractured arm – from £1,000 in France and Spain to £7,000 in the US
ear infection – from £500 in France to £2,000 in the US
The FCO has issued the following guidance to people travelling with a pre-existing medical condition
- answer questions about their medical history fully and honestly
- read policy documents carefully, including the small print, so that you understand what you are and are not covered for
- think about the destination you are travelling to – the price of medical care can vary from country to country, which will be reflected in the price of insurance
- think about using specialist insurers or brokers
- where relevant, think hard about whether choosing a policy that excludes treatment related to your condition(s) is safe, even if it is cheaper
Consular Director at the FCO, Julia Longbottom said;
Arranging travel insurance should be at the top of your holiday essentials before heading overseas. Travellers are losing thousands of pounds in medical bills and their families are having to find the money to help cover the cost or even repatriate them.
Having the appropriate travel insurance in place will help ensure that you get the support you need, should something go wrong overseas. It can make all the difference and allow you to relax and enjoy your holiday.
The travel insurance market is an extremely competitive one in the UK with advertisements for low cost travel cover appearing across the UK travel network but is it vital that you understand the cover provided by these policies and any limitations as not all travel insurance policies are the same.
For those over 55 and those with pre-existing medical conditions there as specialist providers available who can tailor the cover to ensure it meets your needs whilst providing competitive quotations.