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53 million a week travel insurers helping record number of people falling ill while abroad

With the peak summer holiday period looming, figures released today (16 July) by the ABI highlight that the cost of falling ill abroad has hit a record high, as travel insurers helped a record number of people needing emergency medical treatment while overseas. 

Figures published today reveal that last year travel insurers:
• Paid out £274 million in meeting the cost of emergency medical treatments for UK travellers who fell ill abroad - or £5.3 million every week. The cost of medical expenses claims has leapt by over 270% in the last five years.
• Dealt with 366,000 claims for overseas emergency medical treatment -  over 7,000 cases a week. This number rose threefold over the last five years.
• The costs of medical treatment accounts for 60% of the total cost of all claims paid by travel insurers, compared to 33% five years ago.
Stomach upsets, ear infections, allergies and heart problem are the most common illnesses requiring medical treatment while abroad.
Claims dealt with by insurers include:</P>
- £49,000 to cover the cost of a coronary artery bypass and an emergency flight home for a holidaymaker taken ill in the USA.
- £16,500 to treat back injuries, additional hotel costs, and ambulances suffered separately by a husband and wife while on the same holiday.
- £10,000 to attend to and fly back to UK  from Slovenia a child who suffered head injuries from falling rocks.
- £9,000 to cover the cost of treating a woman who suffered a severe allergic reaction while holidaying in Cyprus.
Nick Starling, the ABI's Director of General Insurance and Health, said:
"The often high costs of overseas medical treatment make travel insurance essential for anyone travelling abroad. All travellers should ensure that they take details of emergency medical helpline telephone numbers included in their travel policy to call for advice and help should they fall ill. And travellers to Europe should not forget to have their European Health Insurance Card. While this is not a substitute for travel insurance, it will entitle you to basic state health care in Europe." 

Last updated 01/07/2016