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The government says that there is still a part of the younger UK population who goes on holiday without sufficient travel insurance. They say that on average 48 per cent of 15-24 year olds travel abroad uninsured, putting themselves at risk of losing thousands of pounds if they run into trouble or get hurt while travelling.
Some may say this is because insurance products are confusing. With so many different holiday insurance policy types to choose from (singe trip, multi-trip, global cover, winter sports – the list goes on!), how can anyone expect to understand what type of holiday insurance they need for their trip?
In this article, we look at the reasons why it is important to have insurance when travelling abroad to protect yourself from financial loss if you have an accident or suffer an injury that wasn’t your fault while on holiday.
Why you need holiday insurance?
Holiday insurance should protect you and your family should you find yourself in a range of unfortunate circumstances. The type of cover varies, but often includes financial cover to pay for medical services, getting back to the UK for medical treatment, loss of life, delayed or cancelled flights, and stolen or lost possessions.
It is worth noting that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you access to public health treatment for free or at a reduced cost in state-run hospitals across the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
However, the EHIC does not replace holiday insurance and only provides limited protection against medical costs. The EHIC won’t cover the costs of helping you to return home for medical reasons and so should not be relied upon solely while you and your family are on holiday in Europe.
Where can you get holiday insurance?
You can purchase holiday insurance from a number of different providers. Most commonly, holiday insurance is bought from insurance companies, supermarkets, travel agents, holiday companies, banks, and online comparison sites. You may also find that holiday insurance is included with your bank or credit card.
When booking a package holiday, you may be offered the option to purchase insurance there and then. Remember, it is not mandatory to buy holiday insurance from the package holiday company and it may be worth using a comparison website to find the best deal for you and your family.
It is advisable to purchase insurance for yourself and family members before you go on holiday and, when doing so, you should take the time to read the small-print of the policy. You need to make sure you are complying with the terms and conditions of the policy so that, should the worst happen and you need to make a claim on your insurance, you are actually covered by it. According to official statistics from the government, just 12 per cent of holidaymakers read all of their insurance documents.
What happens if you don’t have holiday insurance?
No one wants to spend their holiday in hospital. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you do need medical assistance while on holiday, but you don’t have holiday insurance, you will have to pay your bill completely out of your own pocket.
If you are on holiday in an EEA country or Switzerland and have an EHIC, you will be entitled to public health services at a reduced cost or sometimes for free, but this is dependent on the country you’re visiting.
Moreover, your doctor might treat you as a private patient without making you aware of this. In this scenario, you will face a medical bill not covered by an EHIC.
What you can do if you have an accident abroad?
Holiday accidents and injuries are a type of personal injury. So, if you or a member of your family has an accident on holiday that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to make a holiday accident compensation claim.
It is advisable that you contact a law firm that specialises in personal injury law as soon as you can because the deadline to start a claim is no more than three years since the date of the accident or injury. There are intricate rules regarding the types of holiday accidents and injuries that can be made through English and Welsh courts, but a specialist solicitor will help you navigate these.
Your claim will be strengthened if you are able to preserve the evidence of your incident, be this through taking photographs, names of others involved, addresses, times, or measurements.
It is probable that you will be able to have your case heard in a UK court, so long as the Package Travel Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 apply. The ins-and-outs of making a personal injury claim can be complicated, but a specialist solicitor will work on your behalf to make your claim.
The kinds of injuries that commonly occur on holiday vary, and can range from a laceration or broken bone through to spinal injuries, as well as death. The cause of these injuries can also vary from slipping by a swimming pool to a road traffic accident.
Although no one wants to imagine that their holiday will be ruined by an accident or injury, it is important to have something to fall back on. Holiday insurance could protect you and your family from losing a considerable amount of money should the worst happen.