Travel insurance companies pay out millions on medical emergencies


Travel insurance companies pay out £750,000 every day to holidaymakers claiming emergency medical treatment while overseas.

About 1,000 people put in a claim against their travel policy every day.

Stomach upsets; ear infections, allergies, and heart problems are the most common illnesses needing a doctor while abroad.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reports that last year travel insurers:

  • Paid out £274 million for emergency medical treatments for UK travellers falling ill abroad – or £5.3 million every week. The cost of medical expenses claims has soared by over 270% in the last five years.
  • Dealt with 366,000 claims for overseas emergency medical treatment – more than 7,000 cases a week. This number has tripled over the last five years.
  • Medical treatment costs account for 60% of the total cost of all claims paid by travel insurers, compared to 33% five years ago.

Claims dealt with by insurers include:

  • £49,000 to cover the cost of a coronary artery bypass and an emergency flight home for a holidaymaker taken ill in the USA
  • £16,500 to treat back injuries, additional hotel costs, and ambulances suffered separately by a husband and wife on the same holiday
  • £10,000 for treatment and to fly back from Slovenia a child who suffered head injuries from falling rocks
  • £9,000 to cover the cost of treating a woman who suffered a severe allergic reaction while holidaying in Cyprus

Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said:
“The often high costs of overseas medical treatment make travel insurance essential for anyone travelling abroad.

“All travellers should ensure that they take details of emergency medical helpline telephone numbers included in their travel policy to call for advice and help should they fall ill.

“Travellers to Europe should not forget to have their European Health Insurance Card. While this is not a substitute for travel insurance, it will entitles everyone to basic state health care in Europe.”

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2 Responses to Travel insurance companies pay out millions on medical emergencies

  1. David Walton says:

    It’s a shame insurance companies don’t make more of the good things that come from travel insurance. Unfortunately you only ever hear about the bad experiences people have and these are the only stories that seem to get on the TV. We have seen some large claims paid but generally they go unnoticed. Such important cover to have.

  2. Travel insurance companies come out with these statistics and claims continuously, saying that these people are pushing up insurance premiums and costing insurers millions. I’m sorry, but people purchase insurance to cover themselves for unfortunate eventualities. Insurance companies make a load of money and the simple reason why insurance premiums are going up is the recession, because they invest your money into the financial markets, so if they go down, the cost for the customer goes up.

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