The Importance of Travel Insurance

Do I really need to spend extra on insuring my holiday?

In these tough economic times, it's perfectly understandable that some people question the importance of travel insurance. The logic usually runs along the lines of: "we've never had call to use it, so what are the chances of something happening this time?".  Another common challenge is: "we're only going to Europe, so our E-forms will cover us... "

But can you really afford to take that risk?

Travel and holiday woes

If you travel regularly, the list of potential problems is almost endless. Illness, travel delays, accidents, injuries, crime, the collapse of holiday companies, flight problems, lost luggage and so on.

Of course, none of us wants to let the worries of what might happen put us off travelling, but equally it is prudent to keep in mind the exceptionally high costs that you may incur if these things come to pass and you do not have travel insurance to help.

An interesting illustration is provided by some published statistics showing the indicative cost of claims made by people travelling between January and December 2008:

    £747 for trip cancellations

    £770 for trip interruptions (also called curtailment)

    £210 for theft of baggage and/or possessions

    £1,923 for legal expenses

    £184 for insect bites

    £491 was claimed for gastroenteritis (a total of 314 cases were reported in 2008)

 

Source: Direct Line Press Release 11.08.2009

Look at those figures again – now think of how much you spent on your last holiday

    Anything closing in on £300 would probably equal the cost of extra nights in a hotel, or your car hire fees

    An extra £700-plus would probably get you another week in the sun

    And, for most of us, an extra cost in the region of £2,000 would likely mean no holiday at all next year!

Health care issues

One of the biggest potential problems that emphasises the importance of travel insurance is being taken ill while overseas.

If you are outside of the European Union (EU) the costs of medical treatment are often staggeringly high – easily running into hundreds or thousands of pounds, or even more in countries such as the USA where healthcare may be excellent, but is also phenomenally expensive.

Even if you are in a member state of the EU and carry the appropriate E form, this only provides you with cover for urgent medical needs. It may not cover things such as care and transport while you're recovering outside of hospital and waiting to go home.

Repatriation costs

If you are sufficiently badly injured or unwell, you may need to be repatriated by air ambulance or similar. If you did not recognise the importance of travel insurance and purchase some before you went on holiday, the costs may prove devastating.

How devastating? How does £50,000 sound? The published statistics mentioned above also looked at average costs for air-ambulance repatriation from various global regions.

Region

Cost

US West Coast

£50,000

US East Coast

£35,000

Western Europe

£15,000

Eastern Europe

£25,000

Near and Middle East

£25,000

Asia-Pacific and Australasia

£50,000

Source: Direct Line Press Release 11.08.2009

If your illness or injury necessitates the presence of a medical care professional while you're in transit, you may also be faced with needing to pay their costs by way of escort fees. Average case fees for a Doctor could be £600-£1,000 from Europe, £1,500 from Asia or the USA.

Source: Direct Line Press Release 11.08.2009

Other risks

Although health is typically at the top of most people's list of worries when travelling, other things may equally go wrong and the statistics above show just how common problems can be.

The importance of travel insurance is that although it cannot prevent the emotional distress itself, it may help insulate you from the worst of the financial consequences – and supply expert guidance and language services just when you need them most.

Protect Your Bubble Travel Insurance provides coverage for just about any unexpected cost and stress while you're on the go – and it’s available 24/7.

So maybe the question isn’t “can I afford it?” – it’s “can I afford NOT to have it?”

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