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The cost of travelling uninsured

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The cost of travelling uninsured

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers detailed advice on booking holiday insurance, revealing the potential risks - and excessive costs - associated with uninsured travel.

According to figures provided by FirstAssist Services Ltd, the FCO estimates the true cost of an emergency occurring abroad, with figures running into the tens of thousands of pounds depending on the destination and the severity of the incident. More often than not, however, it is the cost of repatriation that is the real expense.

For example, from the US east coast, it is estimated that the cost of an air ambulance back to the UK could cost between £35-45,000; £12-16,000 from Europe; and £15-20,000 for a scheduled flight, stretcher and doctor escort from Australia.

It is also recommended that the level of medical cover of your holiday insurance policy should be at least £1 million for travel in Europe, and £2 million for travel to the rest of the world.

Your holiday insurance policy

In addition to detailing the potential costs, the FCO also identifies elements that are crucial to an adequate travel insurance policy:

  • • Medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
  • • 24-hour emergency service and assistance
  • • Personal liability cover in case you're sued for causing injury or damaging property
  • • Lost and stolen possessions cover
  • • Cancellation and curtailment cover
  • • Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as jet skiing.

It is also pertinent to ensure that, in event of cancellation or the cutting short of a trip, your insurance policy will refund the full cost of your holiday including any pre-paid expenses such as excursions and extra costs incurred to return home.