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Do I Need Travel Insurance? Here’s Why You Absolutely Do

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This is a question I get asked a lot.

Having seen travel insurance swing into action in many countries around the world my answer would be yes – it’s just too risky to travel without it.

If you are still asking yourself ‘do I need travel insurance?’ then read on.

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Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Travelling without travel insurance is simply not worth the risk. The consequences of not having travel insurance in the event of injury, accident or illness can be catastrophic, with lifelong implications.

Travel Insurance Examples

Fall Requiring Skin Graft in Russia

A guest of mine tripped and fell when entering her cabin on a cruise ship. In sliding along the floor she tore the skin off her knee, leaving a deep and very painful wound.

A local ambulance was called and she was transferred to a hospital in St Petersburg that dealt with many overseas travellers. The staff there spoke English which was helpful.

That night she had an operation to repair the damage to her knee which required a skin graft.

The lady, and her husband, had never had any experience of making a medical insurance claim when travelling. They were unsure of what to do, so it was good to be of service and help them through a very unfamiliar and scary process.

Most travel insurance companies have a clause that says you must contact them if you are going to be admitted to the hospital. They then take all the contact and location details for the hospital and they begin liaising with the hotel staff.

The travel insurance company will have a medical advisory team which will include nursing staff. They will liaise with the hospital team for the duration of your stay.

Thankfully this guest was discharged after 2 days and she returned to the cruise ship.

She was keen to continue the trip as it was somewhere she had wanted to explore for a long time. However, she was unable to leave her cabin. The ship crew arranged to have meals delivered during the day, along with hot and cold drinks.

Once the river cruise left St Petersburg it would be in quite a remote area of Russia until we got nearer to Moscow.

I advised the guests that if they carried on with their holiday they wouldn’t be able to claim any money back under their insurance policy. However, if they went home they would get some curtailment cover giving them some money towards another trip.

The guests agreed, finally realising there was little point taking a river cruise when they could only stay in their cabin.

The travel insurance company arranged hotel accommodation in St Petersburg for them, transfers from the ship to the hotel, the hotel to the airport and return flights home. They also arranged a transfer for them when they landed in the UK.

They also gave the guests advice about the medication, which needed adjusting as the pain relief wasn’t being affected.

The following costs were completely covered by the insurance company;

  • Operation in St Petersburg private hospital
  • Transfers back from the hospital (1.5 hours)
  • Transfer from ship to hotel in St Petersburg
  • Accommodation in St Petersburg for 2 nights
  • Transfers from St Petersburg hotel to the airport
  • Return flights to the UK
  • Transfer from UK airport to home
  • All meals at the hotel in St Petersburg for the lady and her husband

They also provided telephone support to the guests and kept in touch with them several times a day and updated me as the Tour Manager too.

Still asking ‘Do I need travel insurance?’ – imagine the cost of having to pay all these costs yourself!

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

US Guest Having Heart Attack in Scotland

A guest of mine was taken ill suddenly one evening. He was taken via ambulance to a nearby hospital where it was discovered he had experienced a heart attack.

He had some underlying health issues which made his heart attack more difficult to deal with.

At several points, he was critically ill.

The travel insurance covered the following costs;

  • His operation and 2 week stay in an Edinburgh hospital
  • 2 weeks hotel for his wife including all meals and drinks
  • Transfers from the hotel to the hospital for his wife
  • Transfers from the hotel to Edinburgh airport
  • Return flights from Edinburgh Airport to the US
  • Transfers from the US airport to their home address
do i need travel insurance plane

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Annual Travel Insurance Policy Excess

Just to be clear a travel insurance company is generally not going to pay all the costs. Insurance usually has something called an ‘excess’ – which is your contribution to the bill. They pay anything above that amount.

It is always worth double-checking what the excess amount is for any travel insurance policy and seeing whether paying more premiums can reduce the excess. This can often pay for itself with just one claim.

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Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Annual Travel Insurance Pay and Claim

Some expenses for annual travel insurance require you to pay the expenses and then claim them back.

These expenses can sometimes be quite high so it is always worth making sure you have a payment source to cover this potential expense.

Guests having to isolate for Covid19 in Scotland had to pay all the additional costs themselves and then claim it back when they got home. This included all the accommodation, meals, drinks, transfers and flights. As you can imagine this ran into several thousand dollars for some.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Risks of Not Having Travel Insurance or Not The Right Cover

The risks are huge and potentially very expensive!

Some travellers might think that a European Health Card is sufficient while travelling in Europe. That may well get you treated in a European country but it is not going to cover the cost of getting home.

There are numerous stories of people having to crowdfund to pay their travel insurance bills. A 2018 report by ABTA showed that 38% of people travelled to Europe with no insurance coverage at all, or without adequate cover.

Given the cost of travel insurance, this seems like a huge risk to take.

Some people might think it will never happen to me.

I have seen it happen to all sorts of people, in all sorts of places, all over the world. There is no way to predict or plan what might happen.

Do I Need Travel Insurance? – Conclusion

  • The risks of not having travel insurance are huge – financially and emotionally.
  • When things go wrong they often go catastrophically wrong.
  • Travel insurance should be viewed as part of the cost of travelling, not an optional extra.
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Other Articles You Might Like

If you have found my article ‘Do I Need Travel Insurance?’ helpful you might also like;

Does Annual Travel Insurance Cover Cruise Ships?

What Does Annual Travel Insurance Cover?

7 Travel Insurance Essentials You Absolutely Need to Know

Find more information on my Annual Travel Insurance page

Further Reading

  • How Does Annual Travel Insurance Work? Guide and Tips
    Are you interested in an annual travel insurance policy? Not quite sure how this type of policy works? Check out this quick guide which will give a quick overview and some suggestions to get the most benefit. The details and information in this post are from my recommended travel insurance provider, Coverwise. They are who … Read more
  • What’s The Difference Between Single and Annual Travel Insurance?
    Have you ever wondered what the difference between single and annual travel insurance is? Do you want to find out which insurance will suit your travel plans best? You will find all the answers you need right here. Buying Single Trip and Annual Travel Insurance When it comes to purchasing a travel insurance policy you … Read more
  • Do I Need Travel Insurance? Here’s Why You Absolutely Do
    This is a question I get asked a lot. Having seen travel insurance swing into action in many countries around the world my answer would be yes – it’s just too risky to travel without it. If you are still asking yourself ‘do I need travel insurance?’ then read on. Do I Need Travel Insurance? … Read more
  • Does Holiday Annual Insurance Cover Cruise Ships? 🚢
    Planning on taking a cruise? Here are some things to consider to make sure your holiday annual insurance policy covers you. Thinking of getting a holiday annual insurance policy? Selecting Your Holiday Annual Insurance Policy If you haven’t bought your holiday annual insurance policy yet you need to ensure that all the countries and regions … Read more
  • What Does Annual Holiday Insurance Cover? 🧳
    What is Annual Holiday Insurance? What is the Difference Between Annual and Single Trip Holiday Insurance? Apart from the obvious in that a single trip policy only covers one trip the way the cover works is a little different. For annual holiday insurance, each person covered by the policy gets the level of coverage outlined … Read more

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