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Could you afford medical treatment on holiday?

Could you afford medical treatment on holiday?

Category: Travel insurance

Updated: 29/07/2014
First Published: 29/07/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

It's the time of year when a lot of people are getting ready for their holidays, but unfortunately, far too few of them are thinking about travel insurance. It could be a big mistake, particularly with Sainsbury's Travel Insurance finding that the average cost of medical treatment abroad tots up to £1,088 – could you comfortably cover the bill?

If the answer's no, you're not alone – and you need to put suitable insurance at the top of your pre-holiday to-do list. The survey found that 11% of holidaymakers failed to take out any cover whatsoever, but even those who did weren't always totally truthful about their situation.

Of the holidaymakers who have enjoyed a trip abroad in the last two years, 27% had a serious or long-term medical condition (such as diabetes or a heart condition) at the time. In this kind of situation you always need to notify your insurer, but 15% of those admitted that they hadn't done so, and a further 11% only disclosed part of their medical history.

This could put your finances in serious jeopardy, as those who haven't disclosed a pre-existing medical condition could well find that their policy doesn't cover them for any resulting claim, even in an emergency.

Scott Gorman, head of Sainsbury's Travel Insurance, commented: "When you're on holiday you want to relax as you spend time with family and friends, not worry about how you would pay medical bills if someone was to become ill or have an accident. Having a good travel insurance policy in place helps bring peace of mind, so we strongly encourage arranging cover before going abroad."

Interestingly, the figures also revealed the places where claims are most likely. Spain came out as the country where more British holidaymakers had to seek medical treatment than any other, with the average cost of that treatment totalling £1,194.

Greece came second in the claims tally – although the average cost of treatment here was much less at £462 – while the third most popular claims destination, the USA, was also the most expensive, with the average cost of medical treatment totalling a whopping £2,851.

As you can see, it could be a hefty bill to cover. You wouldn't want the trauma of falling ill on holiday to be made worse by worrying about the cost of treatment, and it really doesn't matter where you're going – you need to be prepared.

Travel insurance should always come first. It needn't cost a fortune – a quick search using our comparison tool could be all you need to find the right cover at a price you can afford, giving you the peace of mind you need when you jet off on that much needed break.

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.