Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake has warned his constituents about the dangers of travelling uninsured. In support of a campaign by ABTA – The Travel Association and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Liberal Democrat MP is urging holidaymakers to be prepared for their travels abroad and ensure they are properly covered.
Travelling abroad uninsured can cost thousands if a trip goes wrong. According to new research by ABTA – the Travel Association, 28% of people in London don’t think it is necessary to take out insurance when they travel overseas, often leaving their families to pick up the pieces; the cost of bailing out a loved one can run into thousands. Of those who did not take out insurance, three in five (60%) of people do not think they need to take out and of those over one quarter (26%) of people claim they are willing to take the risk of travelling uninsured.
More than one in five (22%) of people also think that a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) acts as a full insurance policy when abroad. However, an EHIC only provides access to state medical care in the European Economic Area and does not cover other costs such as bringing the individual back to the UK.
Worryingly, 20% of people surveyed wrongly presumed that all of their treatment costs would be covered by the UK Government if they had an accident or fell ill while abroad. In reality it is the holidaymaker or their family who will pick up the bill if they are not covered, and this can range from £500 to treat a sprained ankle in a popular holiday resort like Corfu, £15-20,000 for a scheduled flight, stretcher and medical escort from Australia and £40,000 to treat a broken leg in the USA. Serious injuries can also lead to bills of thousands of pounds which can rapidly escalate to very substantial sums - and this is before the added cost of relatives flying out to accompany a loved one.
Tom said: “We all look forward to our well-deserved summer holiday. However, medical costs arising from uninsured accidents abroad can be very significant indeed. In addition to the worry over a sick or injured relative, it is often families who are presented with the bills, and the added stress of covering these. It is very important that we make sure that when we do travel overseas, we are covered if something goes wrong. It is just not worth taking the risk. Travel insurance really is a travel essential - that is why I am very happy to support this campaign and urge all my constituents to take out travel insurance this summer.”
ABTA has an advice section on travel insurance for consumers. Visit www.abta.com/travelinsurance for full details.