A new study claims that British holiday-makers suffer more unfortunate accidents and injuries abroad than you might imagine – and they are paying out an average of £250 per incident. These payments are often being made even by those possessing a European Health Insurance Card – long assumed by many people as a free alternative to expensive health insurance.
Now, it seems, the reality is rather different.
Common accidents and injuries while abroad can include dehydration, serious sunburn and food poisoning, not to mention an assortment of more minor bites, stings and abrasions.
While the £250 paid out on average seems severe, this really is a drop in the ocean when compared to the possibilities. Stories abound of hospital care in foreign countries amounting to thousands of pounds, even for relatively minor incidents.
The risks of going on holiday are hardly unknown. Many tourists travelling within Europe opt for the well-known EHIC card which is available for free for EU members and in theory facilitates reciprocal healthcare with other subscribing EU nations.
Unfortunately the reality is often rather different. As it turns out, not only do some medical establishments around Europe refuse EHIC cards, but even their presence you may not guarantee you the care you need. The reality of EHIC cards is that they may cover short-term emergency cover but longer-term hospital visits generally aren’t covered. This can leave some holiday-makers footing extortionate medical bills for accidents and injuries occurred while on vacation.
Worse, of course, is that EHIC cards only cover you while within Europe; tourists travelling further afield will generally need to foot the entire medical bill – irrespective of cost.
Worryingly, we have reported here at Expatriate Healthcare the number of travellers who try to “save money” by scrimping on health insurance, only to suffer an accident and find themselves significantly out-of-pocket.
Recent research shows that roughly 40% of British tourists have suffered an injury on holiday over the last three years. The statistics therefore suggest that those travellers who assume they won’t get sick or suffer an accident may well be in for a nasty surprise.
These facts really underline the importance of taking out full health insurance while overseas. Doing so will not only ensure that you receive the best possible levels of care (including private healthcare where appropriate) but can also help to cover the costs of repatriation and other essential services in the case of medical emergencies.
The message is very clear; no matter where you’re going on holiday this year, take the time to fully investigate your health insurance options. While some people may balk at the costs of adding health insurance to their already extravagant holiday plans, a good quality insurance package is worth its weight in gold if the worst actually happens.
Don’t take risks with your finances or be forced into making compromises on the level of care you receive. Take out insurance and then know for certain you can enjoy your time away without worries.