If you book a holiday in a rush or your budget is stretched to the limit, you might be tempted to take a risk and set off on your adventures without taking out travel insurance. However, while this approach may save you a little time and money upfront, it could end up costing you big further down the line.
As specialist broker Chill notes, a range of situations can arise that will leave you sorry you didn’t take out suitable cover. Here are three real life examples of what can go wrong if you travel abroad without insurance.
Suffering a heart attack in the Nevada desert
One man who understands the risks of travelling without financial cover only too well is Peter Cousins. In April 2013, he and his partner Dawn Reed embarked on a round-the-world trip and, after months on the road, they flew to America where they started working as chefs on a cowboy ranch in the Nevada desert. After taking a dip in a natural hot spring, Mr Cousins suffered a heart attack and collapsed. Ms Reed managed to get the attention of a truck driver, who called an air ambulance.
In hospital, doctors performed life-saving surgery, fitting a stent in the 55-year-old’s heart. However, after five days in the medical centre, he was presented with a $250,000 medical bill. Commenting on the discovery, Mr Cousins said: “As I was leaving the doctors asked me how I planned to pay the bill. I thought it would be about $5,000. I was gobsmacked when I saw it. Stupidly, I didn’t have travel insurance.” He now fears he will not be allowed to return to America if the bill isn’t settled.
Surviving the Nepal earthquake
We all saw images of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal in April this year. However, one woman who experienced the chaos and suffering first-hand was 31-year-old Della Hoffman. The American was trekking in the Langtang valley with her boyfriend Eric Jean when the disaster hit, causing an avalanche of rocks that trapped the pair along with around 80 other people. They had to survive in a cave for five days until special forces arrived to rescue them.
The duo could have been picked up earlier, but a lack of insurance slowed their rescue. A total of five helicopters had landed near the cave to pick people up before the special forces arrived, but they had been chartered by private insurance firms and would only save people who had a suitable policy in place. Ms Hoffman and Mr Jean didn’t have cover that allowed them to call for a helicopter, so they were forced to wait.
Sleep walking in Spain
Another holidaymaker who has been left in no doubt of the importance of travel insurance is Amy Wigfull. Last summer, the Brit was on holiday in the Costa Del Sol in Spain with a group of friends and family when she fell 50 feet from her hotel window while sleepwalking during the night. The 24-year-old suffered a broken back, hip and wrist, as well as broken teeth and bleeding on the brain. She needed four operations in a Spanish hospital at a cost of tens of thousands of euro. Because she didn’t have travel insurance, her family had to resort to trying to raise funds online to help cover the cost of her treatment.