The recent case of illness affecting holidaymakers in the Dominican Republic highlights why anyone travelling abroad needs travel insurance, regardless of how fit and healthy they feel they are, says leading travel insurance provider, Essential Travel.
Hundreds of people staying in one hotel complex on the Caribbean island have been struck down by some form of bug, leading many to seek medical assistance whilst overseas. Medical fees and costs will have resulted from this scenario, leaving some of those who were taken ill out-of-pocket.
“What people forget is that they cannot pack NHS care in their suitcase”, says Essential Travel?s Stuart Bensusan. “When they fall ill abroad, they cannot have free treatment, even with the new European healthcard, if travelling in Europe. There is always some portion of the bill to pay, and the size of the bill can be astronomical, depending on what the problem was.
“What they can pack is a travel insurance policy that provides them with a means of paying for their medical expenses and repatriation expenses, if they have to be brought back home for treatment.
“In the case of the Dominican Republic, a policy from ourselves would have cost a family of two adults and two children, staying in that country for 14 days, from just £29.99. Our top-of-the-range policy would only have cost £36.99. In either case, this cost is likely to be considerably less than the family will have paid to see a doctor and get some form of treatment.”
With nobody knowing what has caused the wide-scale problem, the longer-term impact on the holidaymakers? health is not yet apparent. There are, however, situations in which the problems resulting from an experience abroad, last longer than a few days. Legal expenses are another aspect holidaymakers should consider, before they head off into the sun, says Essential Travel.
Such legal expenses could be incurred in pursuing a claim against someone, or something that has made a person seriously ill, or could be necessary where an injury has been caused by a third party. Fairly common examples of this relate to jet skis, other watersports equipment, animals and cars.
Whilst travel insurance is not there to pick up small compensation claims, where the cost of the legal advice would exceed that of the claim, it is there to assist with more serious claims against someone or something in the country of travel.
Two of Essential Travel?s three levels of policy offer legal expenses cover of £15,000, to help pursue a case arising during the period of travel. This does not allow the insured to take action against a tour or travel agent, but does allow them to seek compensation from other types of business, or from individuals.
If a holidaymaker were participating in a high risk sport when injured by the third party, they would not be able to claim, unless they had bought the appropriate additional cover for that high risk activity.
If they were simply swimming in the sea, or innocently enjoying their holiday when the injury occurred, they could pursue a case with the help of their legal expenses cover.
“No holidaymaker has a crystal ball that can predict what will happen to them during their holiday, but all should take heed of the ?what if?? factor. Medical situations, like those in the Dominican Republic, can ruin a holiday, but it is an even more bitter pill to swallow when the cost of medical care hits the wallet or purse”, concludes Stuart Bensusan.