Medical bills of £148,341: The cost of travelling uninsured

Added 01/08/2013

The largest medical claim we’ve seen in the last year was for £148,341. Could you afford to pay that if you were uninsured?

According to data from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 16% of British consumers believe that travel insurance is unnecessary as the UK government will pay for their medical treatment abroad — they’re wrong.

3,559 British nationals were hospitalised abroad in 2012, that’s almost 10 every day and without travel insurance they would have had to pay their own medical costs.

If you don’t have travel insurance, or if you are not properly covered by your insurance due to not declaring all of your existing medical conditions, you will be liable for your own medical costs if you fall ill or have an accident when you’re on holiday.

Although the average claim for medical treatment abroad is £2,268, it’s not uncommon for claims to reach tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The largest claim we’ve seen in the last year is £148,341, for the treatment of abdominal pains in Canada and air ambulance transport back to the UK.

Travel insurance's main purpose is to cover the cost of emergency medical treatment when you travel abroad. For this reason it is important to tell your travel insurance provider about any existing medical conditions that you have.

If your travel insurance provider doesn’t have an accurate picture of your current health they may not pay out if you come to make a claim. Not declaring your pre-existing medical conditions to your travel insurance provider could have the same result as not buying insurance at all.

Even medical conditions which have been controlled by medication for a long time, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol need to be declared to ensure that you are fully covered; in many cases it doesn’t increase the premium.

View the graphic now >>

Find out more about travel insurance for medical conditions >>

Data Sources:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office British Behaviour Abroad Report 2012/13
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Insurance Facts Infographic
Ancile Insurance Group Limited claims data September 2012 — June 2013


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