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The value of insurance – my cautionary tale

Insurance is one of those things that you don’t realise the value of until you have to use it – and then all of a sudden, it seems like the most important thing in the world.

Travel insurance is imperative so you can make sure your medical expenses are covered when you’re abroad. Did you know that the average cost of overseas medical treatment is £2,040? Do you know where you would find this money if you had to?

Our colleague Caroline Laws tells you about her ski accident – and why she’s happy her travel insurance was there to pick up the bill.

My ski tumble

It’s not often that Kate Moss’s world and mine collide but she and I are currently sporting similar leg braces after taking a tumble on the piste during our recent skiing holidays.

I’m sure Kate’s millions could easily cover the unexpected up-front costs of emergency medical treatment abroad but the rest of us have to rely on travel insurance or face paying out a lot of money.

Within a couple of hours of damaging my knee ligaments I had racked up a bill of 808 euros (around £630), which breaks down as follows:

  • 377 euros (£294) to be sledged off the mountain by the ski patrol (quick but oh so not recommended as a mode of transport)
  • 161 euros (£125) for the 5-minute private ambulance ride to the medical centre
  • 85 euros (£66) for a GP consultation and X-ray (actually looks like good value for money compared to the ambulance ride)
  • 185 euros (£144) for leg brace and medication.


Hurt on holiday? Some great tips to remember

Fortunately, I had taken Winter sports cover as an extra on my travel insurance and so these costs should be covered. The claim has gone in and I’m waiting to see. But it made me think that’s there’s a lot to remember if the worst happens on holiday and you need medical treatment:

  • Make sure you take your European Health Insurance Card  (EHIC) with you if you’re travelling in Europe. This allows you to get free or reduced cost state-funded medical treatment in countries within the EEA and Switzerland.
  • If you’re doing something that could land you in hospital more easily than lying next to the pool, carry your EHIC with you. In the confusion and stress after the accident, I didn’t present it to the medical centre and the insurer asked me why.  I’m hoping this won’t affect the claim.
  • Keep all the receipts, medical notes and information you get. Insurers will want to see original copies of everything, including the original booking form for the holiday. They also wanted to see my original EHIC too.
  • Think about topping up insurance even if you have cover. For a few euros extra on either my ski pass or my ski hire, I could have avoided having to pay for the cost for taking me off the mountain, which is a large part of the claim. That’s definitely something I’ll think about in the future.
  • Read the small print really carefully to find out what’s covered in your policy. Cheapest isn’t always best. If you run into an emergency, you’re vulnerable and stressed. The last thing you want to find out is that you’re not insured.
  • If you’re planning to do something active, always check what’s covered and to be sure, take add-on cover and check again. Even with active sports cover, some policies will impose limits on what they are prepared to insure.

Happy holidays!



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