the following article from the BBC confirms an unbelievable 20% of people do not take out any travel insurance when they go on holiday abroad." />

20% of People Go On Holiday Without Travel Insurance

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As a lawyer who deals with victims of some horrific accidents, I can only urge all of you to think about taking out travel insurance if you go abroad - even if this only involves a weekend away. I myself have now ensured that everyone in my family is aware that any trips abroad need to be safeguarded by taking out a travel insurance policy and regularly badger everyone about this.

Everyone needs to be aware that whilst the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will provide access to emergency care in EU countries, it will not provide any insurance for the bills caused by emergency treatment and crucially it will not provide for financial assistance or reimbursement for normal flights or medical flights home. Neither will the British government (nor would that be financially viable, frankly).

I have been called several times by desperate travellers who have become seriously ill in a far-flung country and cannot now get back without paying up to £100,000 for a medical flight home. Had they taken out a travel insurance policy, this would not be an issue. One of the saddest cases I have ever dealt with involved a 30-year old man who had been motorbiking in France with no travel insurance policy. He had a very serious accident which left him with 13 fractures. His family could not afford to fly over to France for more than the first 4 weeks and, after his health condition stabilised, he was unable to pay £15,000 for a medical flight to repatriate him to England. Unfortunately, I had to advise him that neither the French authorities nor the British government would fund his flight home. He was therefore forced to stay in France on his own for the next 3 months until he was able to fly back in a wheelchair on a scheduled flight. He received first-class care from the French hospitals, but understandably described the time on his own as very lonely and depressing. I'm sure it did not help that he spoke little to no French!

Whilst I am not trying to scare people off from travelling abroad, I do think one of the essential things to think of (besides a valid passport!) is a decent travel insurance policy. Please do not forget to take care of this very important detail when you next fly to your summer holiday destination!

Lauren Haas 
Solicitor - Claims Abroad team 

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