There’s no alternative to travel insurance
Some people travel without insurance under the illusion that the local British Embassy or High Commission will take care of them in an emergency. This may be true in the first instance, but you will still be sent the bill at the end of it all. This has to be the case, or no one would ever bother to take out travel insurance, leaving the government to carry the huge cost.
Another commonly held belief is that the EHIC will cover you when you holiday in Europe. This may be true for certain medical expenses, such as hospital charges etc, but it will not cover repatriation if you are seriously ill, or in the event of your death overseas.
Quite simply, travel insurance is an absolute must wherever you’re travelling to.
What to look for in travel insurance
Many holiday companies and several banks and credit cards offer free travel insurance, and for the average traveller on the average package holiday, this will probably provide adequate cover. However, it’s important you check that your policy covers your personal circumstances and everything you expect to do while you are away. Things to check for include:
- Sports activities beyond basic holiday pastimes
- Any dangerous ‘thrill’ activities such as paragliding or bungee jumping
- Skiing, off-piste skiing, skating, and snowboarding
- Driving or riding a motorbike or moped
As a general rule, you get what you pay for, and free policies are unlikely to be as comprehensive as a bespoke policy. When you consider the cost of a helicopter rescue from an off piste ski run, for example, you will soon see that a small saving on insurance could be a costly gamble.
You should make sure your travel insurance includes at least £2million for medical expenses in Europe and at least £5million for the rest of the world. Without this cover you may find that hospitals overseas will simply refuse to treat you.