Important reasons why you need travel insurance

Sterling is at a seven-year high against the Euro, with one pound now buying you around €1.40 compared to €1.19 a year ago.

If you’re hoping to take advantage of the strong pound and book a European holiday this year, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. Failure to take out travel insurance, could see your bargain holiday become a financial nightmare if you have an accident abroad.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched its ‘Grab a bargain... not more than you bargained for’ campaign, urging holidaymakers to book their travel insurance as soon as they have booked their travel. It's warning British holidaymakers that a bargain holiday won't end up a bargain if something goes wrong on holiday and you don't have travel insurance in place.

Travel insurance isn’t just about covering you if your suitcase goes missing (although the cost of replacing all its contents would not be cheap). It’s about not only getting you home should your tour operator or airline be unable to do so, but most importantly covering you for medical treatment!

Did you know, that even the smallest medical incident could cost hundreds, whilst larger emergencies could run into the thousands? Take for example a sprained ankle, treatment for this will set you back around £500! Worst still, if you need an air ambulance you’ll be looking at a bill for £25,000!

To help holidaymakers understand the importance of travel insurance, the FCO has put together the following costs for medical treatment across Europe:

  • Treating a sprained ankle in Corfu – Approx. £500 ­  - or a designer handbag
  • Stitches in Tenerife - Approx. £500 ­ - or a yearly gym membership
  • An MRI scan in Ibiza - Approx. £1,000 ­ - or a high spec laptop
  • Emergency surgery for a broken leg in Palma, Spain – Approx. £6,145 ­ - or a brand new car
  • An air ambulance in southern Spain / Canaries - Approx. £25,000 ­ - or a deposit for a house

So ask yourself, if you can’t ‘afford’ a travel insurance policy for a mere £70 (for an annual, European policy, for a family of four), can you afford a big medical bill that could run into the thousands?

It’s important to add, that while European travellers should carry an up to date EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) this card is not the same as travel insurance. The EHIC gives the person access to urgent, emergency medical attention on the same basis as a resident of the country they are in, at either a reduced rate or free of charge.

Do note, that every person travelling requires their own EHIC card, including children.

Each card is valid for 5 years so check that yours is valid. To apply for an EHIC card visit the NHS website.