Sadly yet another story has been reported in the UK press of a "heartbroken daughter who must raise 6000 GBP to bring her father´s body back home after a holiday tragedy". This occurred last week in Benidorm when the 50 year old took a break to the popular holiday resort with friends – and did not take out travel insurance. This is the devastating consequence left for the family back home to deal with – putting out an appeal on social media to help with the repatriation costs to fly the body back home. Unfortunately this is not the first, nor I fear the last that we will hear of such tragic incidents. Don´t be tempted to travel without insurance, whatever age you are!
It is widely publicized by the Foreign Office not to go on holiday without travel insurance – and for those that fail to read the notices, programs such as Benidorm ER, currently being aired on Channel 5 every Tuesday should be warning enough. The fly on the wall documentary highlights many instances of Brits arriving at the private Hospital Clinica Benidorm and then being transferred to the nearby Marina Baixa Social Security hospital as they have no travel insurance or their policy does not cover them for a pre-existing medical condition that they have failed to declare.
I find it amazing that people are still going on holiday without taking out travel insurance - burying your head in the sand with the "It won´t happen to me" attitude is at best reckless and at worse irresponsible. No-one goes on holiday thinking or expecting something to happen, but an accident is unforeseen and certainly not planned. Policies are so widely available on the internet these days that there really is no excuse. However, there is a very important point to be aware of - your travel insurance may not cover you if it is found that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when an accident occurred and they are very good at finding out. If there´s a claim you can bet they will try and get out of paying – that´s the nature of the business.
An EHIC - Blue European Health Insurance Card will cover you for emergency treatment in a state hospital or medical centre if you have an accident or need treatment for a pre-existing medical condition – this means the "Centro de Salud" or the Marina Baixa hospital in Villa Joyosa. The two private hospitals in Benidorm – Hospital Clinica Benidorm and IMED Levante will NOT accept an EHIC.
If you need to be flown back to the UK the EHIC will not cover that expense, which is why it is so important to take out travel insurance. The Foreign Office repeatedly send out this message but many obviously think it doesn´t apply to them - especially if they are young and only going over for a long weekend - Stag and Hen parties pay particular attention They often deem it an unnecessary expense, eating into their drinking money! The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance but some insurers now insist that you hold a valid card – it is entirely FREE of charge – be careful of unofficial website which may charge if you apply through them. The official website is www.nhs.uk/healthcareabroad