Think you don't need travel insurance? Medical bills abroad can cost well over £20000


Holidaymakers who go on holiday without investing in travel insurance may end up paying extortionate sums for medical treatment abroad if they fall ill or have an accident.

A worrying 30 per cent of British tourists need medical treatment while on holiday abroad yet only 90 per cent think to buy travel insurance.

What’s more, 20 per cent of the Britons who do have travel insurance ahead of their trip have no idea what cover they are entitled to.

One in 10 UK holidaymakers don’t take out travel insurance and 42 per cent of those tourists stated the reason they didn’t was because it was too expensive.

Just under a third put it down to being an unnecessary additional cost.

This trend is particularly prevalent amongst younger travellers, with half suggesting that the location of their holiday would affect their decision to take out travel insurance.

The figures also show UK tourists are most likely to need medical treatment in the USA and Spain, with a quarter of Brits needing care in both nations. 

Common injuries suffered abroad include: ear infection, respiratory conditions, diabetes chronic conditions, stroke conditions, heart conditions, food poisoning and broken bones.

The average cost of treatment per country varies greatly but all bear one similarity: a significantly higher price tag than the cost of taking out a travel insurance policy.

The costs of medical treatment can be alarmingly high. While this can vary from country to country, MoneySuperMarket research shows that the average amount paid for medical treatment comes in at £5,620, a massive 18,028 percentage increase on the average UK travel insurance cost of £31.

In popular UK tourists destinations such as France the average cost of medical treatment is £10,945, in Italy £8,201 and in Spain, £8,019.

Cheaper costs can be found in Croatia where the bill is, on average, £3,171 and Turkey, where treatment is just £889.

Further afield in Argentina, it costs a whopping £20,231 on average, in Russia £21,933, Tunisia £22,513 and South Korea £28,938.

While the USA shows a lower than average fee of £6,258, data reveals that major surgery costs close to £75,000; five times the amount it would cost in other popular holiday destinations like Spain and Cyprus. 

The daily hospital room rate also follows this trend with a cost of £4,000, five times the amount it would cost in Spain and just under ten times the cost in other countries such as Bulgaria, South Africa and Thailand.

Only South Africa matched the USA on the average cost for treatment of heart conditions (£10,000), which is three times more expensive than Spain, France, Italy and Turkey. 

Regionally speaking, Scotland has the worst offenders when it comes to taking out a policy without knowing what they are covered for, with 3 in 10 Scots admitting to this. 

Yorkshire and the North West followed close behind, with over a quarter of respondents from both regions stating the same.

The findings reveal that 40 per cent of men have required medical treatment compared to just 25 per cent of women, with the 25-34 age group more likely to need treatment than any other age range. 

Nearly half of this bracket have required medical assistance of some kind while on holiday (44 per cent).

Average cost of medical treatment abroad per country:

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

This is what you need to do if a loved one dies while on holiday abroad – and how expensive funeral costs can be.



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