Medical Insurance: How Much Does It Cost Not To Have Insurance?


8 August 2019

By Justin Emerson

We all sit dreaming whilst on our soggy morning commute, about getting away from it all.

We imagine jetting off somewhere exotic; a place of endless sunshine, cocktails and relaxation. Or perhaps you’re more of an activity and adventure person and dream of mountain biking or surfing the biggest waves in Hawaii? Maybe you would prefer a cultural tour of a fascinating city; exploring magical worlds of arts, music and culinary worlds outside our own culture. Whatever type of holiday you’re into, it is important not to forget the importance of holiday insurance. 

The shocking costs of medical care abroad

According to the Association for British Insurers in 2018, the average holiday insurance claim for medical purposes was £1,300, but this is the tip of the iceberg. The cost of breaking your arm in Spain could result in fees of up to £11,000. In the US, staying for one night in an intensive care unit could cost upwards of £5,000. If you’re involved in a major accident or suffer a substantial health issue, your bill could run up to the high hundreds of thousands. 

What are the main reasons for holiday insurance?

Holiday insurance can cover you in case anything goes wrong at any stage of your holiday. For starters, it can cover your travel, from delayed departures and cancelled flights to missed transport links. It can cover your security, in case any important items such as your passport or money get lost, stolen or damaged somehow along the way. 

However, one of the most important reasons for holiday insurance is to cover medical expenses should you suffer an accident or injury while on holiday.  

What are the types of holiday insurance? 

There are seemingly endless different types of policies available, each offering different benefits or levels of cover. The categories of cover usually fall under the following scenarios:

  • If your holiday is cancelled 
  • Having to cut your holiday short (known in the industry as ‘curtailment’)
  • Losing or damaging your belongings
  • If someone steals your belongings
  • If you or a family member has an accident 
  • Covering medical bills and expenses
  • Getting you safely home should you be ill or injured
  • When you’re liable for financial damage for someone else (known as ‘personal liability’)
  • Any legal expenses you might incur
  • If your travel gets delayed either way 

Look for cover, not price

It can be tempting to use comparison sites and simply go for the cheapest option available, but it is important to look at cover levels. Does the amount really cover the cost of your holiday? Is the medical cover sufficient for the cost of care in the country you’re visiting? What are the crime rates like where you are staying? If you are having an action and adventure holiday, have you got appropriate accident and injury cover that includes the specific activities you’ll be taking part in, such as skiing or scuba diving? Different destinations and holiday types will need different types of cover. 

Lots of low-cost travel insurance policies offer excellent rates but have a high excess. You must be aware that you will need to pay this amount on the spot, so unless you have access to that amount, it is best to go for a different option.

Tips for older people

If you are older and have certain health conditions, it can be difficult to find affordable health insurance. Help is at hand, however, via BIBA, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association. They have a specialist service designed to help people with medical conditions find the best possible deal.

Remember, it’s not always easy..

Like any other type of insurance, it can be a real hassle to claim. Make sure you have evidence of everything: hospital bills, photographs, any recordings or anything that can prove your case and help you claim back any money you have lost. 

If you’ve tried to claim and you’re having trouble, speak to a solicitor to get further information about how you can establish a case. At Gepp Solicitors, our Dispute & Litigation team have a wealth of experience. Contact Justin Emerson on 01245 228113 or via e-mail.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.