The tragic news of a new bride lying paralysed in a Greek hospital after falling from her hotel balcony has tugged firmly at the UK’s heartstrings. Donations have come from far and wide to help repatriate Carrie Dudbridge (nee Freeland) by air ambulance at an estimated cost of £16,000. Independent travel insurance specialist, insurewithease.com, believes this serves as a sobering warning to other holidaymakers about the limitations of the EHIC.
The newlyweds, like many Brits heading abroad, wrongly believed their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) was enough to cover them for anything going wrong on their trip. As the Foreign and Commonwealth office states on its website, the EHIC should be used with, not instead of, full travel insurance.
Sarah Findlay at insurewithease.com says, “The EHIC allows access to medical treatment at the same cost as a resident in the country. This does not mean it will be free as not everywhere has a national health service like ours in the UK. Many countries will even charge if you need an ambulance. And repatriation to the UK is one thing the EHIC will never cover. As demonstrated in this case, repatriation is generally pretty expensive. In the case of the Dudbridge’s, generous donations from the public helped them to get home, but not everyone might be as lucky. This is certainly where travel insurance can really make life easier. Not only will the cost of any medical treatment be covered, but all repatriation arrangements too where necessary, giving holidaymakers peace of mind that help is at hand every step of the way.”
Carrie-Anne Dudbridge fell up to 30ft from her room balcony in Corfu. She lost her footing and plunged from the first floor of the hotel after a romantic meal with new husband Michael. The 27-year-old did not have travel insurance and her European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would not cover the cost of an air ambulance repatriation. She is now in hospital back in the UK.
Travel insurance: News update: 25 August 2010