12 July 2016, 01:00
Do you know what to do if you fall ill abroad?
• One in ten over 50s travel without insurance
• Majority of people don’t call their insurer before seeking medical attention
Summer is just around the corner and around eight out of ten over 50s will be jetting off to explore foreign lands, according to Saga Travel Insurance*.
However, Saga is reminding those heading abroad over the coming months to pack insurance. While many people think the worst won’t happen to them the reality is quite different as one in four over 50s have fallen ill abroad and worryingly one in ten don’t have travel insurance, potentially leaving many facing a big medical bill**.
Many people are at risk of not getting the best treatment or delaying settling their insurance claim because they are failing to speak to their insurer when they fall ill abroad. In fact, only one in eight will contact their insurance provider if they need non-emergency medical treatment.
The over 50s are most likely to contact a family member they’re on holiday with (27%), a holiday rep (19%) or the hotel receptionist (16%) if they need medical assistance. Some 5% of people say they won’t call anyone they will just go straight to the nearest hospital, which may not be suitable for the treatment they need.
Furthermore, in some countries local people may direct tourists to expensive private hospitals when there may be other hospitals better suited to provide treatment.
Kevin McMullan, Head of Travel Insurance at Saga, commented: “While many people say they will call their insurer first people often forget in the heat of the moment. We’re finding that only 5% of customers contact us before seeking medical attention. However, if people are able to call us as straightaway then they should as we can direct them to the most suitable doctor or hospital and guide them through the whole process. It also means we can get their insurance claim settled as quickly as possible.
“We hope that those going on holiday have a nice time and won’t need to use their insurance. However, if anyone does fall ill and it’s not an emergency then we’re urging people to call their insurer first.”
Saga is offering the following tips so people know what to do if they need to use their travel insurance whilst abroad:
1. Take your travel insurance documents on holiday with you or make a note of your policy number and the emergency telephone numbers.
2. Keep a note of any medication you are currently taking so that you can give this to a doctor if you fall ill.
3. If you need non-emergency medical treatment always contact your travel insurer before you seek medical attention.
If Saga Travel Insurance customers need any advice before they head abroad they can call Saga’s special travel assistance helpline on 0800 027 1337. If people are already abroad and need help they can call +4420 8763 4879.
Notes to Editors:
*Populus interviewed 8,650 Saga customers, all aged 50 and over, online between 16th and 23rd May 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information visit www.populus.co.uk.
**Populus interviewed 9,794 Saga customers, all aged 50 and over, online between 12th and 19th September 2014.
About Saga Travel Insurance
Saga Travel Insurance is a Which? Recommended provider and Defaqto 5 star rated. It offers wide-ranging cover including:
• Cover for most pre-existing medical conditions
• Up to £10 million emergency medical cover, which can pay for your return home, if necessary
• Up to £10,000 cover (per person, per trip) should you or your travelling companion have to cancel or abandon your trip
• Up to £5,000 for lost, stolen or damaged baggage so you’re not left out of pocket
• 24-hour English-speaking travel assistance helpline for advice before and while you are away.
• Saga has no upper age limit
• For more information about Saga Travel Insurance, please visit http://www.saga.co.uk/travelinsurance