It’s a topic we have covered many times here at Travel Insurance Explained and with medical costs abroad soaring, trade body ABTA is now warning travellers of the implications of going on holiday without travel insurance.

According to ABTA, the cost of an air ambulance has more than doubled since 2019 with costs from Europe to the UK hitting between €25,000 – €30,000 and costs from worldwide to the UK reaching an eye-watering €85,000.

While many people rely on the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), formally known as the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), it is important to stress that not all medical costs are free. The GHIC will entitle you to the same care available to local citizens and while emergency treatment may be included things like aftercare and medications sometimes carry a charge. More importantly, air ambulances are not covered under the GHIC. You can read more about the GHIC here.

An air ambulance, however, is covered under travel insurance medical expenses, but there are some clauses to look out for.

The costs associated with bringing you back to the UK via an air ambulance (repatriation) will only be covered if it is deemed medically necessary and safe to do so. Depending on the situation, your body may not be able to tolerate the stresses of flying and therefore it would be safer for you to remain abroad until you are fit enough to travel. This will be discussed with your travel insurer’s emergency assistance team and they are likely to need medical notes from your treating doctor.

In addition, if you have not declared any existing medical conditions to your travel insurer your policy may be invalid and you will need to cover the costs yourself. It is important to declare all medical conditions to your travel insurer when you purchase your policy and update them of any changes that may occur before you are due to travel.

Travelling without travel insurance can cause unnecessary worry should something go wrong, so it is always worth making sure you have the correct cover in place when you book your holiday. It could save you thousands.