Should you take out Travel insurance?
This is a fairly straight forward option for me and the answer is yes. Having been involved in an fall on a previous holiday i soon saw the benefits of travel insurance.
But why should you have insurance as your not going to be doing anything dangerous? Unfortunately, as i came to realise, accidents can happen at any time without any warning. Which is why i will always say yes. You could be walking along a street and trip on a kerb or be riding a jet ski and fall off. If we had an accident like this in the UK we would not once think about the associated costs with a trip to hospital. This is often something we all take for granted. Let me give you an idea of how quickly my bills could have mounted up following my accident in Andorra whilst hiking. I stepped of a ledge no more than 12 inches high and rolled my ankle, or so i thought.
Once the paramedics arrived to tend to me they made a decision that due to the location i would need to be airlifted out and taken to hospital. This would have cost me in excess of £7500 if i had not had insurance. This was for a 15 mile trip to the main hospital which took only a matter of minutes.The high cost is made up of a number of factors including the helicopter use, pilots and paramedics as well as the cost of the fuel. The helicopter was in the air for around 20 minutes from start to finish, so this was not really about the length of time it took to reach me. I have included a video of the airlift below to illustrate what was involved before i was taken to hospital.
Upon arriving at hospital i was examined and taken for x-rays which again would have cost me in the region of £100. Once the results of the x-rays came back i was told i had fractured my Tibia and Fibula bones. This would require an operation to fix. The hospital asked me if i would like to return home to have the operation or if my insurance company agreed, i could have the operation then and there. This is where the cost could really have escalated quickly. There is no real guide to costs for operations, but these will often run into the tens of thousands rather quickly.
Stay in Hospital
Then we come onto my 3 day stay in hospital. This included my medication and food along with a private room with a TV. This would have cost me an additional £1500 for the full 3 days. Following my release i had to pay around £70 for a prescription as well as a £70 excess on my insurance to the hospital. I was not allowed to leave the hospital until this had been paid in full. My insurance company also arranged alternative travel arrangements for me and booked me onto a new flight to get home from Andorra due to my foot being in a cast. This would have cost me an additional £300. My insurance company also arranged for me to be collected by private taxi at both ends of the journey home. A taxi from Andorra to Toulouse airport would have cost in the region of £250. Plus another £250 for the taxi to pick me up from the airport and take me home.
All that said, the total for my fall would have been in the region of £14000. So having paid out £27.50 for adventure travel insurance, i saved myself from a massive debt that i would not have been able to pay.
So how much should your travel insurance policy be worth?
That is a personal thing that you will have to work out for yourself. Each policy is unique and will offer many benefits, but you have to pick the one that's right for you.
It is at this point i think i should mention that you should always check the fine print on any insurance policy you buy. Especially if you are looking to do something like hire a jet ski or rent a scooter. You should check that you have adequate cover in the event of an accident, as there may be restrictions on your policy prohibiting the use of these vehicles.
5 Things that i take into account when choosing travel insurance are:
- Total cover for medical expenses
- Activities covered by the policy
- Does it include Repatriation (in the event that the worst does happen)
- Personal effects cover
- Passport cover
Total cover for medical expenses
When choosing your travel insurance, you should check to ensure that you have sufficient cover to pay for any lengthy stays in hospital. I always ensure that i have cover in the millions of pounds range to be absolutely sure that i will be covered. As i have shown earlier, medical bills can run up very quickly if you are involved in a serious accident whilst abroad.
Activities covered by the policy
When ever you take out a travel insurance policy you should ensure that it covers everything you want to do on holiday. if you intend to go on a jet ski for instance, you should check that you are covered for it. Travel insurance companies will often not cover you for activities that are not included on the policy. If you are in any doubt you should contact them before taking part in any adventurous activities that could result in injury.
Does the policy include repatriation?
Following on from an accident you will often need to get back to your home country. It is important that you check to see the value of this as this could be extremely expensive. Your condition may require you to have a specialised aircraft and medical staff to over see your return. You should check that this is included in your cover.
Personal effects cover
When ever you have an accident, you will find that some things will get damaged. Usually this is just items of clothing, but occasionally this can mean things such as mobile phones are damaged. Personal effects cover may also cover you for loss of items that may have been stolen from you whilst on holiday. Ensure that this covers the value of all of the items you are taking on holiday with you. If you lose a mobile phone and tablet or your suitcase is mislaid, you will want to ensure that this is covered.
If you lose your passport on holiday, it can often be quite expensive to have a new one made. By having passport cover you will ensure that the cost of replacing it is not as expensive as it could have been.
This list is not extensive and you should take out the cover that you will require. As for the cost of this insurance, i would advise shopping around to find the right cover for you.
But to go back to the original point, Should you take out travel insurance, the answer from me would always be yes.