|The Association of British Insurers reveals the jaw-droppingpotential costs of emergency medical treatment faced by UK travellers abroad this year. Six-figure medical bills are now not uncommon.|
| Travel insurers are helping 3,000 travellers every week who need emergency medical treatment while abroad. £200 million paid out a year to help 150,000 people who fall seriously ill overseas.
One claim for treating a stroke in the USA has cost £760,000 – the equivalent of working over 25 years on an average UK salary of £27,500, and 38 times more expensive than the price of a new family car. Another claim, for a jet-ski accident in Turkey cost £125,000.
The cost of the average medical claim at £1,300 rose by 40% between 2011 and 2016. It is not uncommon for medical bills to run into tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The figures come as the ABI launches its new guide to travel insurance to help travellers ensure they have the right travel insurance to cover any sky high overseas medical bills and emergency repatriation to get back home (available here).
The USA, which attracts 3.8 million UK visitors a year, has some of the highest medical costs. For example:
£768,000 has been paid to cover the medical costs of treating a traveller who suffered a stroke. This includes £60,000 for an air ambulance back to the UK.
£136,000 for treating complications following an insect bite in Chile. This included paying for a nurse to escort the traveller home.
Mark Shepherd, Assistant Director, Head of Property, Commercial and Specialist Lines at the ABI, said:“While most travellers enjoy their breaks, falling seriously ill overseas is stressful enough, without the added worry of how to pay for potentially very expensive medical bills.
“Yet incredibly an estimated one in four travellers still travel without insurance, despite the fact that the average cost of a single trip policy can be less than what a family spends on snacks at the airport.
“With a wide range of competitively priced policies available, shop around, don’t forget to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions, and remember that the cheapest policy may not be best for your needs.”