The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) recently reported that the number of people who travel without buying insurance is rising.
Much of the increase is believed to be due to young people who think that the cost of insurance is too expensive, or that the UK Government will cover the costs if they fall ill or have an accident while they’re away. (We should point out that exclusions will apply, for example, if you decide to go quad-biking, bungee-jumping or hire a moped). While the Government, via the Foreign Office, will provide consular assistance in an emergency, they will never pay medical bills. And let’s not forget that some countries, such as the USA, charge astoundingly high amounts of money for even the most basic medical care.
When you buy a car, or a house, what’s one of the first things you do? You buy insurance, of course. Holidays shouldn’t be any different, because you need cancellation cover from the day you book the holiday, but the startling statistic which ABTA quotes is that around one in five people who travel abroad never buy travel insurance.
Now, we know that travel insurance is not the most exciting purchase you’ll ever make, but when it comes to your holiday, it’s definitely the most important one. Apart from covering those expensive medical bills should you get ill or have an accident in a foreign country, and if your baggage goes missing, and a whole host of other unforseen circumstance, it will also mean you’re covered should anything happen before you go on holiday. Again, exclusions will apply, so it pays to read the small print on your policy.
For example, let’s say you have an accident or are made redundant, and that the result is that you can’t go on your holiday any more. With no insurance, it could be extremely difficult to recoup any of your hard-earned money, and you stand to lose every penny if you have to cancel close to your departure date. With a travel insurance policy, depending on the exact circumstances, you would be covered and can cancel your holiday, safe in the knowledge you’ll get some or all of your money back.
If you get ill on holiday, travel insurance means that you’ll pay very little or perhaps nothing at all. And don’t think that having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is your get-out-of-jail card, because it only entitles you to the same benefits as a resident of that country, which could still mean you pay for treatment. It’s not an alternative to travel insurance, just an added extra, as it won’t cover for things like emergency dental treatment or an air ambulance home to the UK.
We can’t stress enough that not buying insurance at the time you book your holiday is a false economy. As Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA says, “Comprehensive travel insurance is available for relatively small amounts of money, and medical bills can quickly mount up to thousands of pounds, so travelling uninsured can prove to be a very costly mistake.”
As the UK’s leading independent travel group, Barrhead Travel offers insurance at extremely competitive rates, and the cover is excellent too. You’ll be asked by our travel consultants as to whether you would like to buy insurance when you book your trip – please don’t put it off! We have annual insurance policies available too, for frequent travellers. Be sure to book your insurance in store at any of our branches, or give us a call on 0800 804 8666, as soon as you book your holiday – you’ll be covered straight away, leaving you able to concentrate on getting excited about your forthcoming travels!