An Insight to Injuries and Insurance for Brits Abroad



It was reported in the ABTA Holiday Habits report 2017 that the number of people who are travelling abroad increase from 55% to 57%. With travelling now being looked upon as more of a necessity than a luxury we have joined forces with TRUE Solicitors LLP, pension claims specialists, to find out whether Brits decide to  take out insurance before jetting off, what any cover actually provides, and what can invalidate their claims.

Are we getting insured before boarding the plane?

In the 12 months leading up to May 2017, ABTA claims that a total of 25% of holidaymakers went on holiday without insurance – this is up by 3% on May 2016’s results. However, this stat differed depending on age, with younger travellers more likely to ignore the purchase.

Results from May 2016 found that nearly a third of 18-24-year-olds went abroad without insurance and this figure was nine percent higher in the following year. The risky move was also popular between 25-34-year-olds, with 31% of jet-setters failing to be insured in 2016 — growing to 38% in 2017.

Only one age group showed a positive decrease between 2016 and 2017’s stats — 35-44-year-olds. However, it was a miniscule drop from 26% down to 25%. One fifth of people aged 45-54 travelled without insurance for their 2016 trips, and that figure grew by three percent in 2017. Those aged 55 and over remained the same over the two years, with just 14% not taking out insurance before their trip.

A staggering 36% of those who travelled without insurance believed that they didn’t need it and, although ignoring this purchase can have a short-term financial benefit, the savings made don’t compare to the detrimental financial situation you could be in if something was to go wrong abroad. Despite this, 22% said that it was a risk they were willing to take.

It’s a common assumption that travelling with an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is sufficient. However, this is not the case, as this card only covers medical necessities within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) in state hospitals. It has been advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that all people wishing to travel outside of their country should also have comprehensive travel insurance as this will likely cover repatriation in the case of a medical emergency.

With Britain on the verge of leaving the European Union following the Brexit vote, it’s not clear what will happen in terms of the EHIC. What is known is that those who are officially living abroad — whether this is to work or study on the day the UK officially leaves the EU — their card will continue to prove eligibility for the same state-funded healthcare as the citizens of the country receive.

Important information regarding travel insurance

Taking out insurance helps to cover any unpredictable events that could happen before you take off, or when you reach your destination. It’s vital that you purchase your insurance as soon as you book your holiday, as it can also cover any possible cancellations and pre-trip illnesses — which could save you a large sum in the long run.

Be sure to analyse any policies that come with any travel insurance you purchase, as different companies may offer a different level of coverage. More than likely, your insurance will not cover any high-risk activities so make sure you choose an insurance that best covers any activities you intend to partake in.

Then there’s the small print. It’s crucial that you carefully read this. In some instances, for example, if you’ve drank alcohol and require medical attention, some insurance companies will reject your claim — in extreme cases, they could seek out court rulings and will supply the court with medical records that say you had alcohol in your blood. It’s important to remember that in hot countries, your body will absorb alcohol more easily too.

In the event your belongings have been stolen while you’re abroad, you must have substantial evidence that will back your claims in order to be compensated.

Another worrying factor that should be at the forefront of your thoughts before you travel is what happens if your travel company was to go out of business? Unfortunately, you would not be covered. However, when it comes to the airline going out of business, you may be covered but could be required to pay an extra premium.

Only in exceptional circumstances may your insurance company decide to waiver the decision to cover terrorism or natural disasters, such as lightning strikes, earthquakes and tsunamis.

What are the most common injuries to occur abroad?

It has been suggested that 74-80% deaths abroad are caused from natural circumstances, including heart attacks. However, the same research found that 18-24% occur due to accidents, while two percent are from infectious diseases. Two-thirds of holidaymakers fret about falling ill while abroad, but it’s inevitable when results show that one in 20 trips can include sickness or injury.

Some of the most common causes of injuries are from slips, trips and falls. This is sometimes because of uneven flooring or carpets that has been poorly maintained. Take note of signs to ensure you’re not at risk of injury through slippery or uneven floors.

Facing foreign roads can sometimes be a challenge too, leaving some of us confused as we drive on the left-hand side of the road. You might be trying to follow directions or the GPS on your phone — but you must stay alert and not get distracted to avoid any type of road traffic accident.

Obviously, you are looking to have a good time when you’re on holiday, which often includes sports excursions. If you have concerns, you must ask the organisers as high-risk activities can invalidate any insurance policies if you’re not properly protected.

Such injuries can prove costly too, with medical claims costing on average £914. However, for 65-74-year olds, this cost increases to £971.63. One example provided by the FCO stated that one stomach bug infection that was treated in a Californian hospital cost £100,000, including return flights back home.

Nearly one in two don’t realise that you need to pay for your own medical bills when you’re abroad if you don’t have insurance. Unsurprisingly, 78% claimed that they wouldn’t be able to pay £10,000 to cover the costs that could present themselves.

So, it’s clearly very important that we take out the correct insurance policy which will covers all our needs. With Brexit just around the corner, and the fate of the EHIC unknown, it will be interesting to see whether we will see an increase in the number of people taking out insurance.



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