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.”