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Travel law expert urges adventurous tourists to prepare for exotic getaways

Up to a third of Britons travel without adequate insurance

6 January 2015

Lawyers specialising in cases of illness and injury abroad have today urged caution amongst adventurous tourists following the release of a report suggesting that up to a third of Britons go on exotic holidays without adequate insurance.

According to a survey carried out by Post Office Travel Insurance (POTI) those countries most frequently visited without cover are also those where the highest percentage of problems are experienced.

Today, international law experts from Leigh Day welcomed the findings which they say will draw attention to the importance of being prepared for long-haul holidaymakers who ‘may not be fully informed’ when they set off on their adventures.

Malaysia, Mauritius and Dubai all made the top ten list – with India being listed as the number one country where a worrying 29% of people do not take insurance, despite 18% experiencing a problem during their trip. In Sri Lanka 23% of British tourists had issues, with 21% not taking cover.

For those who were insured, issues including illness and injuries in need of medical treatment topped the tables, with the average cost of something going wrong coming in at £4,859.

According to POTI costs can quickly spiral, with data revealing that an air ambulance to the UK from India could cost upwards of £100k, surgery on a broken leg could cost in the region of £12k and treatment for Gastroenteritis would result in a bill of up to £4k. 

International law expert Clare Campbell, who specialises in representing tourists who have been injured or suffered illness as a result of inadequate health and safety measures abroad, said: “In this day and age we are fortunate to be able to travel freely – experiencing foreign landscapes, culture and food. But the reality is that sometimes things go wrong and when they do it is important to be in a position to get the necessary support you need. 

“The findings of the Post Office Travel Insurance survey are similar to our experiences, with many British holidaymakers suffering horrendous and often life-changing symptoms as a result of illnesses or injury caused through no fault of their own.  

“Often our clients have to undergo urgent medical treatment whilst abroad and this can be very costly. Insurance not only ensures that you can recover these costs, but that you are also in a position to get legal representation to help you gain justice further down the line.”

The stark warning coincides with news that a fund-raising campaign has been launched to help a man from Yorkshire to return to the UK after he fell seriously ill whilst on a trip to Thailand.

It is understood that Craig Lindley has developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare illness of the nervous system, whilst on a break in Thailand. Media reports suggest he is facing medical costs of tens of thousands of pounds and that he does not have travel insurance.

Clare Campbell continued: “Cases like that really do demonstrate how quickly things can escalate – with the media reporting that Mr Lindley now owes more than £20,000.

“Before going on an exotic holiday, or even if you are staying more local I would always recommend:
 
  • Ensuring you have taken out adequate holiday insurance - always make sure that this includes cover for the exotic locations you plan to visit, as some policies carry exclusions.  Surprisingly a quarter of tourists do not check the small print of the insurance, which can lead to all kinds of problems if they are unfortunate enough to be involved in an incident or fall in and were hoping to make a claim. 
 
  • Make sure that someone you are travelling with, or if you are travelling alone someone trusted at home, has the details of your policy and an emergency contact number for the insurer, should you be unwell and unable to provide this yourself.
 
  • If you are planning a trip with multiple stops at various locations, ensure someone back home is aware of your schedule – so they can work out where you are and how to contact you in an emergency.
 
  • If you do need any advice following an incident it is always best to seek the assistance of a trusted travel lawyer. At Leigh Day we have represented thousands of holidaymakers across the UK who have been affected by illness or injury whilst abroad.

“Falling ill or obtaining an injury whilst in a foreign country can be very distressing, but making certain you take out adequate insurance and prepare fully for your trip will ensure a bad situation is not made even worse.”

 

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