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Travel medical expenses

During these times of austerity, many of us are trying to cut costs where we can. Although plenty of people are still booking holidays abroad, they’re often trying to get by without the additional cost of travel insurance.

John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance explains the true cost of not having travel insurance when travelling abroad.

Q & A with John Brady

Q. What’s your background and what experience do you have in providing advice about Travel Insurance?

A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I’ve helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for cars, weddings, pets, homes, events and of course, travel. I love travelling and know how important it is to feel happy that any potential health problems are covered by travel insurance if you’re
off on holiday.

Quotation MarksA lot of people have the attitude that ‘it won’t happen to me’; the potential costs of medical care compared with the cost of travel insurance becomes almost insignificant.Quotation Marks

Q. I don’t have Health Insurance in the UK - why do I need it abroad?

A. In the UK we’re very lucky to have the NHS, but in other countries there’s no such facility. Medical care is paid for, or else you have medical insurance.

Q. How much does medical treatment cost abroad?

A. Medical care varies from country to country, but the average cost for repatriating holidaymakers taken ill whilst abroad is thought to be over £25,000.* Even a simple ear infection could set you back almost £300.**

Q. I’m only going to Europe and I have an EHIC card - won’t
I be covered?

The EHIC card allows you to receive state-provided medical help in all EEA (European Economic Area) countries and Switzerland at reduced or no cost.

However you may still have to pay for certain types of treatment. If you injure yourself while skiing up a mountain, your X-rays and treatment will probably be covered by your EHIC card. The emergency helicopter which lifted you to hospital won’t be.

Q. What medical expenses are covered with Travel Insurance?

A. The actual amount of cover depends on the insurer, but John Lewis Travel Insurance offers up to £10 million of emergency medical costs.

Q. Does this include repatriation?

A. If you’re unable to return home using your pre-booked tickets we’ll pay for the extra cost, including where medically necessary, arranging for you to travel home by road or air ambulance.

Q. Will I have to pay an excess if I claim?

A. Yes, but the excess will depend on your policy. John Lewis Travel Insurance offers three cover levels: Essential, Plus and Premier. The amount of excess that you have to pay will depend on what you’re claiming for and what cover level you’ve taken out. However, as a guide the excesses under most section sections of our policy are:

  • Essential: £100
  • Plus: £60
  • Premier: £50

You can also choose to waive your excess or double your excess.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

John Lewis Travel Insurance homepage

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