To beat NHS waiting lists or to make sure you receive the treatment you want, when you want it and with consultants of your choosing, you may have arranged private medical insurance.
It might be easy to be lulled into the false security of thinking that all your healthcare needs are then taken care of.
Beware, however, that all the benefits of your medical insurance plan are unlikely to provide any comfort or security at all once you travel abroad on business or on holiday. The majority of private medical insurance plans provide cover only while you are in the UK and only specialist international medical health plans (typically aimed at Expats) provide any cover at all when you are travelling abroad.
The European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may also lull you into a false sense of security by offering access to the same publicly-funded healthcare facilities as the residents of the European country you may be visiting.
The official website – last updated on the 21st of February 2018 – describes the services you may access as a citizen of the EU. But possession of the card does not mean that all your healthcare costs abroad will be covered. It does not cover you for private health care, planned medical treatments and procedures, or the cost of repatriation back to the UK if your illness or condition warrants it.
You may also be liable for the costs of medicines or dressings associated with being hospitalised (which are typically free on the NHS), depending on the country you are in.
These are just some of the reasons that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) strongly urges any traveller to arrange travel insurance before going abroad.
It warns that hospitalisation in the United States (for treatment of a stomach bug, for example), plus the cost of return flights to the UK might cost you as much as £100,000. And treatment for even a relatively straightforward broken bone while on holiday in Spain might set you back £15,000.
Cover for emergency medical treatment if you fall ill or have an accident, and sometimes the cost of getting back home is, therefore, a core component of travel insurance policies.
But policies may also protect you against the cost of an unexpected need to cancel your holiday, or to cut it short, because of illness or a death in the family, accidental damage to your home or your being made redundant.
Travel insurance also typically covers lost or stolen items, such as your baggage, cash and other personal belongings.
It is also important to note that there are different types of travel insurance – for example, if you are going on a cruise, typically you’ll need cruise insurance.
This generally covers the same risks as a standard travel insurance policy, but also covers any additional related costs – such as transporting you from the ship to the nearest mainland hospital.
Another type of travel insurance is over 50s travel insurance.
Travel insurance for the over 50s
One of the problems as you grow older is that some travel insurance companies may make it more difficult or expensive to obtain the cover you need. After all, the risks of your falling ill or being injured in an accident are likely to increase the older you get.
For the over 50s, therefore, it becomes more critical than ever that you compare the market for travel insurance and look for policies aimed at your age group. This helps to make sure not only that everything you expect to be covered is included in the policy, but that your age has not unnecessarily inflated the cost of the premiums, and that you are not age-barred from holding the travel insurance.
Using our service, you can compare the market for travel insurance quotes from some of the leading providers (with companies such as Ageas Insurance, Holiday Extras, Swiftcover, Insurance Republic and Endsleigh) in just a few minutes. You can then choose the travel insurance that offers the most appropriate cover for you - and at a cost-effective price.