As more and more reports emerge of holidaymakers getting injured abroad, it begs the question; ‘why don’t people take out travel insurance when booking a holiday?’
One of the most recent stories involved Carrie-Anne Dudbridge, 27 who had gone for some fresh air on her apartment balcony in Corfu, when she lost her footing and fell over the edge, landing 20 feet below on the ground, breaking her spine in three places. A total accident and one I am sure she thought would never happen to her in a million years, yet it did.
The couple had no travel insurance, just their EHIC’s (European Health Insurance Card) Her poor husband Michael had to sit at her bedside, cases packed beneath the bed, struggling to understand what the Greek doctors were saying to him, yet he fully understood when he was told it could cost around £12,000 to get his new wife safely back home.
Carrie-Anne had fluid on her lungs and there was a possibility she might need airlifting to mainland Greece for spinal surgery, Michael just wanted to bring her home where she could be treated by British doctors.
So why do people think they don’t need travel insurance when going on holiday? Are we really a nation that believes ‘that’ll never happen to me’?
Perhaps people really are misled by the EHIC and think that it a substitute for travel insurance, well it certainly isn’t and is only of any use if you are travelling to a European Union (EU) country, as the name would suggest, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
The card only covers you for medical treatment equivalent to any native of the country you are visiting, so any treatment that comes under their state scheme will be covered. You may also be entitled to reclaim any costs incurred when you return to the UK. Bear in mind that not many other countries have a national health system like ours, many have private schemes in place, and you are not covered for private health care, repatriation or any treatment you have specifically travelled abroad for.
Travel Insurance is valid for the period of travel, however it can also cover you for any unforeseen circumstances that may happen before hand such as taking ill or injuring yourself resulting in you having to cancel your holiday, so make sure you take the insurance out at the same time, or immediately after booking.
In the case of Carrie-Anne and Michael whilst her emergency treatment may have been covered to a certain degree, getting her back to the UK most certainly wasn’t and neither were any expenses that Michael may have incurred whilst having to stay in Greece with her. Travel insurance, should however cover them (excepting certain exclusions).
Michael would have had the comfort of someone on the other end of the phone guiding him through every step of the way and helping to arrange getting his stricken bride back home as soon as possible. In the end, the couple had their friends and families to thank as they raised enough money to get the newlyweds back home.
Falling from a balcony is alarmingly common with foreign tourists with a surprising number suffering this way every year, some fatally. But even the commonest of accidents and injuries can be very costly, from simple toothache, to standing on a piece of glass, sharp stone, or coral at the bottom of the sea. The few extra pounds spent on acquiring adequate travel insurance before travelling could seriously save hundreds or thousands in the long run, just ask Carrie-Anne and Michael.