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Are you one of the 10% who could be at risk of losing £100,000 next holiday?

The annual dash for some holiday sun isn’t far off a national obsession. Good job most people know how important it is to pack good travel insurance. Fresh research from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has found that 90% of over 55 year olds routinely take out cover for overseas sojourns. The trouble is, that still leaves 10% who are putting themselves at risk of losing thousands of pounds through unexpected foreign medical fees. This post explains how.

Which camp do you fall into?

Foreign healthcare costs money. Lots of it.

The riskiest part of jetting off without travel insurance is the potential to incur medical fees. Most countries just don’t offer free healthcare like in the UK. Travel insurance normally foots the bill for you. But when you travel without it, you’ll be covering the medical costs yourself if you have an accident.

Of course it’s even more dangerous to travel without cover if you’re already living with a medical condition. You could be left severely out of pocket if you need treatment for any medical complications related to your condition while you’re away. Is it worth the risk?

What about the EHIC?

question. The European Health Insurance Card is free and entitles you to the same level of subsidised medical care as the residents of the country you are visiting receive. But that doesn’t mean it covers everything. In most countries, non-life threatening injuries will not be covered by the EHIC. And of course the EHIC only covers travel in Europe. Beyond that it’s useless.

There’s simply no substitute for a good travel insurance policy.

How much does foreign medical care cost?

Most people dramatically underestimate the cost of foreign medical care. Imagine you are travelling in the USA, for example. The Association of British Insurers recently revealed that claims for blood pressure and cholesterol related medical emergencies - such as a heart attack - could be north of £100,000. It makes travel insurance with good medical cover a no brainer.

10% of over 55s travel without cover

It's worrying given the potential costs involved. But that’s exactly what the latest figures from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office show. More than half of those who had travelled without insurance admitted to having an existing medical condition - the majority of which were related to blood pressure or high cholesterol.

The standard excuses won’t wash

The FCO’s research shows that a third of those who fail to take out insurance choose not to because they are only going on a ‘short’ break. 27% say travel insurance is too expensive. And 18% believe they don’t need it because they are visiting family or friends. Unfortunately, these excuses will stand for nothing if you are served a bill for medical expenses.

Where to find senior travel insurance

At World First we offer comprehensive cover at an affordable price for all age groups up to the age of 100. Benefits include £5 million cover for medical expenses and 24/7 access to an emergency medical assistance helpline that is designed to get you the help you need on unfamiliar shores. Take a look at our:

If you have any questions please feel free to call us on 0845 90 80 161 or visit

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