Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Why We Need Holiday Travel Insurance

Is travel insurance worth the additonal expense, or can you get by without it?

It is very easy in the UK to take medical care for granted, with our “cradle to grave” welfare system. Well, that was the idea in the 1940’s, and much has fallen by the wayside, but the NHS soldiers on, providing all of us with a level of health care relatively free of charge.

It needs a slightly different mind-set to appreciate that in many countries healthcare is available only in return for money, and in some cases, lots and lots of money.

Holidaying in Europe can be loosely safeguarded by the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which actually makes the NHS the insurer, as it will recompense the health care system of the host European country with the cost of like for like treatment in the UK, and it is likely that you will have to pay a proportion of the bill.

That only applies to countries with a level of national care in place. There are some surprising areas within Europe, such as the Channel Islands, that have no nation health scheme, and medical care has to be paid for.

The EHIC card is a basic safety net in the European Economic Area, and is not really adequate on its own, and will not cover costs like emergency airlift (helicopter extraction after a skiing accident, for instance) or repatriation due to a medical emergency.

Holidaying farther afield (than Europe, that is) it becomes a vital necessity to have travel insurance, in fact, there are some countries that will not allow entry if the traveller is not insured.

Travel insurance can be both holiday type specific, and personal health specific. Adventure sports and winter sport have to be specified and insured against accidents. Breaking a leg on a remote ski slope could incur thousands of pounds in airlifting before even arriving in hospital.

An insurance policy cover for lying on a sunbed is one thing, but you’re going white water rafting or bungee jumping in the Grand Canyon, the premiums are going to be higher for your cover, for obvious reasons, the risks are too.

Similarly a scuba diving mishap could necessitate airlifting to a decompression chamber, and meeting expenses like this could prove ruinous to an individual, but the possibilities can be insured against.

As a rule, the further or more exotic the holiday will be, the more attention should be paid to the type of travel insurance that best fits the holiday. It can be false economy simply buying the cheapest available product, but check the small print, you don’t need to pay for cover that you don’t need.