With tens of thousands of Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea supporters planning to travel to the Champions League and Europa League Finals, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is urging all fans planning their trips to make sure that they arrange travel insurance cover before they go. At least 45,000 supporters of the four clubs are likely to be travelling to either Madrid, Spain or Baku, Azerbaijan.
The semi-final drama and tension of Liverpool beating Barcelona and Spurs late injury time winner against Ajax is nothing compared to the stress and expense of falling ill and needing emergency medical treatment abroad. If going to Madrid, while you should ensure that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as this gives you access to state-provided healthcare available to a resident, it is no substitute for having travel cover, as this can ensure that all medical costs, and any emergency repatriation back to the UK, are covered.
If travelling to Baku, the EHIC does not apply, so having travel insurance is essential.
Overseas medical bills can be eye-watering. In Spain for example, £11,000 to treat a broken arm, with one night in intensive care typically costing £1,100-£1,500. In Azerbaijan’s neighbour Russia, a British traveller who suffered a heart attack had his £22,000 medical bill covered by travel insurance
If you need to return home urgently on medical grounds, the cost of an air ambulance back from Spain to the UK can start from £10,000 – that may be what Mo Salah or Harry Kane earn in just eight hours but will be way beyond the resources of most supporters.
Every year 500,000 UK travellers are helped by travel insurance when things go wrong, including 159,000 people who need emergency medical treatment.
Malcolm Tarling, ABI spokesperson, said;
“Fans travelling to Madrid or Baku without travel insurance will have scored a massive own goal before a ball is kicked. It would be like Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea leaving their goalkeeper at home. Travel insurance could cost you less than the price of a meal and a drink at the airport, and can ensure that you never walk alone if the worst happens.”
The ABI’s top travel insurance tips for travelling fans:
-Make sure that you have adequate travel insurance before you leave.
-Don’t just buy the cheapest policy. Travel insurance is very competitively priced, so make sure that the policy covers your needs.
-Fully disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. You may need to shop around, go to a specialist travel insurer or insurance broker to get a policy that covers any existing medical condition.
-Check your travel insurance terms and conditions carefully before you go, so that you understand the scope of cover, limits, and conditions.
-Take any emergency contact details of your travel insurer with you, should you need to contact them urgently.
-Leave expensive items like laptops at home as they are a magnet for thieves. Travel insurance policies will give limited cover for your possessions, so check your cover.
-Go easy on the alcohol. Excess alcohol could leave you more at risk of suffering an injury or being a victim of crime. And if your claim is as result of excessive alcohol, then you may not be covered by your travel insurance.
Insurance Edge Comment:
When things go wrong overseas you are faced with the biggest initiative test since getting your orienteering badge in Scouts. Language barriers, incomprehensible forms to sign, medical centres that want payment upfront and then YOU claim later – there’s all kinds of problems to solve before you get your broken wrist fixed up and the right painkillers prescribed.
Learn how to say basic words such as; hello, where is, thank you, how much etc in the language of the country you’re visiting because a few words can go a very long way in a crisis. Smile, be patient, even when in pain and take the long term view. Most importantly of all, think carefully before making a quick decision and don’t think that you can speak to foreign Police with the same casual arsiness that you dish out to the PC UK cops. It won’t help, at all.