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Ever wondered why reliable medical travel insurance is so important? New research has revealed that uninsured Brits spend an average of £5,620 on foreign medical bills if they need treatment while abroad. Don’t take the risk. 

“It will never happen to me”

Nobody likes to think of something unexpected happening to them - especially during a holiday. Yet new research from MoneySupermarket has revealed just how frequently British travel-lovers require medical treatment abroad. Roughly one-third of Brits need some form of medical care while on holiday. And the costs of that care can be eye-wateringly expensive, highlighting why a good travel insurance policy is a must.

Medical travel insurance could save you over £5,000

One in ten travellers take the risk of going on holiday without any travel insurance. That could be a costly mistake, with your savings at risk if you require medical attention while you’re away. MoneySupermarket’s research reveals that the average cost for medical treatment abroad is £5,620. And if you are unfortunate enough to require a major procedure, your medical bill could stretch into tens of thousands of pounds.

MoneySupermarket claims data reveals that the medical treatment associated with a heart bypass operation in the USA costs a staggering £113,000. The daily rate for even being in hospital in the USA is close to £4,000. Every single day. And while the USA is among the most expensive countries when it comes to medical bills, the cost of treatment is by no means cheap elsewhere. The bills for major surgery remain high in popular holiday destinations such as Spain and Cyprus (£13,175). Even a minor tummy upset could result in a bill for around £500 in France and Spain.

Average cost of medical treatment:

South Korea: £28,938
Tunisia: £22,513
Russia: £21,833
Mexico: £20,596
Canada: £20,568
Argentina: £20,231
Portugal: £19,960
Malta: £18,605
Australia: £16,766
Netherlands: £16,296
Morocco: £16,196
Thailand: £15,442
Republic of Ireland: £15,227
Cuba: £13,358
Belgium: £12,510
Egypt: £12,234
South Africa: £12,094
France: £10,945
Switzerland: £10,587
China: £9,350
Japan: £8,650
Italy: £8,201
Spain: £8,019
Dubai: £7,628
Cyprus: £7,217
USA: £6,258
Brazil: £5,194
Croatia: £3,171
Greece: £3,102
Bulgaria: £2,642
Turkey: £889

An EHIC is no substitute for good travel insurance

The free European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC) entitles you to the same level of free healthcare that locals receive in European countries. Unfortunately you cannot get free healthcare everywhere you go. Very few countries offer free medical care like you are used to here in the UK with the NHS. Even with your EHIC, certain procedures in certain countries could cost you a small fortune. Besides, your EHIC won’t give you any of the other benefits that you get with a good travel insurance policy - such as cancellation cover and protection for the loss or theft of your belongings.

You have medical conditions. But they’re under control.

That’s all well and good. But you might be surprised to learn that it’s rare for people to experience a relapse or worsening of an existing condition while on holiday. Indeed our own research on 1,500 travellers shows that 36% claimed for medical expenses while abroad, yet none of these claims were related to existing medical conditions. 53% claimed because they became ill while they were on holiday and needed treatment. A further 18% claimed because of falls or trips or slips.

This broadly falls in line with MoneySupermarket’s findings, where British travellers claimed most commonly for medical treatment related to:

1. Gastroenteritis/food poisoning
2. Heart conditions
3. Respiratory-related conditions
4. Broken bones
5. Ear infections
6. Cancer related conditions
7. Diabetes and related complications
8. Stroke conditions

Declare your medical conditions

By now you can understand why a good medical travel insurance policy is so important. But when you are arranging your policy, please remember to declare any medical conditions you are living with. It’s really important. Failure to do so could invalidate your entire policy.

But won’t that make your policy more expensive? Yes, it’s true that some insurers dramatically inflate their premiums if they find out you have a certain medical condition. They may turn you away altogether. But here at World First we are different.

We believe that if you are well enough to travel, you are well enough to get travel insurance. We cover hundreds of conditions - including cancer, heart disease and HIV - and we do it at a price that won’t sink your holiday budget. You can get an instant quote on our website or call us on 0345 90 80 161.

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