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You have a clean bill of health. You’re active. Why do you need medical cover in your travel insurance? The answers may surprise you...

In our recent travel survey we asked 1,500 of our readers about their travel habits. Of the things we learned, nothing will be as eye-opening to travel insurance sceptics as what we are about to explain.

Medical expenses are the likeliest claim

Of our readers that claimed on their last travel insurance policy, 36% claimed for medical expenses. They didn’t lose their phone. Or miss their plane. Or have to cancel their departure. By far the most common claim was medical expenses.


Not many countries have a free health service like the NHS. An EHIC will entitle you to the same level of free healthcare that locals receive in European countries. But unfortunately you cannot get free healthcare everywhere you go.

But that’s okay, right? You don’t have any medical conditions.

And you’re not planning on getting ill while you’re away.

Fate is indiscriminate...

So you thought the only people who need medical cover are those who already have medical conditions. Well, we asked the 36% who claimed for medical expenses what their claim was related to. And 53% of those that claimed did so because they became ill while they were on holiday and needed treatment. These are people who were fine and well and healthy before they left for their getaway. A further 18% claimed because of falls or trips or slips.

How much does it cost to get medical treatment abroad?

That depends where you are.

On the ski slopes in Europe a sprained wrist or dislocated shoulder would cost around £1,000 to treat. A broken leg would be around £4,000 while a serious head injury could be up to £30,000.

A heart attack in the USA would dent your savings to the tune of around £4,000. And if you are seriously ill you may need to be repatriated to the UK. The cost of the flight home across the Atlantic would be around £35,000.

If you want to travel without good cover for medical expenses in your travel insurance, you need deep pockets.

Heading off soon?

We offer reliable travel insurance with cover for up to £10,000,000 medical expenses. Get an instant quote at

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