A poll conducted by ABTA (The Travel Association) last year revealed that as many as 20% of UK holiday makers are travelling abroad without travel insurance.
More worryingly, the survey showed that more than 1 in 4 people mistakenly believed that the UK Government would cover their bills if something goes wrong whilst they are abroad.
This could turn out to be a costly mistake if you fall ill and need medical treatment abroad. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) can and does provide support and assistance if you are hospitalised abroad, they will not pick up the bill, that’s where your travel insurance comes into play.
Travel insurance is particularly important if you have pre-existing medical conditions, because you are more likely to need medical treatment whilst you are away.
Whilst the FCO can provide support and assistance through their network of British Consulate Offices, travel insurance is designed to cover the unexpected costs that you may face if you fall ill or experience other kinds of disruption to your holiday.
Medical treatment abroad can be very expensive and to avoid being faced with large bills if taken ill or after having an accident, the Foreign Office urges people to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy every time they go away, no matter where they are going or how long for.
Here’s how travel insurance and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can help if you get into trouble abroad
If you fall ill or are injured abroad and are admitted to hospital for medical treatment, the local British Consulate Service can provide support and assistance by visiting you in hospital, contacting family and friends or liaising with your travel insurance provider on your behalf.
Your travel insurance is there to ensure you get the medical treatment that you need, arrange repatriation back to the UK if you are unable to travel on the flight that you originally had booked and cover the cost of your emergency medical treatment which can quickly amount to thousands of pounds.
It is important to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance, otherwise you could find that you are not covered for emergency medical treatment which is related either directly or indirectly to a medical condition that you have or have previously had.
If you lose your passport, or it is stolen whilst you are abroad you will need to obtain a replacement before you can travel back to the UK.
The nearest British Consulate Office will be able to issue you with a replacement passport, but there will be a charge for this.
If you have comprehensive travel insurance in place it should provide cover for this charge, it may also provide cover for the loss or theft of other documents including travel tickets or driving license.
If you are away on holiday and lose your money or credit card, or they get stolen, The British Consulate can help by contacting friends and family on your behalf and advising on how they can safely transfer money from the UK to help you.
A comprehensive travel insurance policy can provide cover for the money you have lost. Check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy for the amount of cover. In order to make a claim for the loss or theft of money or personal possessions you are likely to need a police report to confirm the loss or theft.
If you are a victim of crime, the FCO can help by putting you in touch with local lawyers and interpreters.
Wherever you go on holiday, and whatever you’re doing, it is important to have travel insurance for your trip. Although the FCO are available to offer assistance when things go wrong abroad they don’t pick up the cost – that’s where your travel insurance comes in.