Medical Emergency Expenses

12/06/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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A medical emergency abroad can cost an arm and a leg. 

How much cover?

Standard travel insurance cover limits for medical treatment can vary from £1million to £15million and more.  The farther from home, the more cover you need, especially for the USA and adventure holidays. 

What you can get

  • All necessary medical and surgical treatment.
  • Repatriation back to UK via scheduled airline/specialist air ambulance with medical escort if you’re too sick to continue your holiday.
  • Hospital expenses for food, drink, books, newspapers etc.
  • Replacement medication costs.
  • Emergency dental treatment for pain relief.
  • Travel and accommodation for relative/friend to accompany you home.
  • Transport of body/ashes to UK or local funeral expenses abroad.
  • 24 hour emergency medical/legal/travel helpline.

What’s not covered

  • Medical costs for drink or drug related injuries.
  • Travel for medical treatment abroad/cosmetic surgery.
  • Not getting recommended holiday jabs.
  • Treatment/tests unrelated to the illness/injury you were admitted to hospital for.
  • Treatment and tests that can be done in the UK.
  • Medication/treatment needed that you knew about before leaving the UK.
  • Private hospital room costs unless medically necessary.
  • Convalescent treatment abroad.
  • Replacement spectacles/contact lenses.
  • New dentures.
  • Cost of burial/cremation in the UK.

Pre-existing medical conditions 

Insurers can reject claims resulting from a pre-existing medical condition (eg diabetes, heart problem, psychiatric illness) unless approved when you took out the policy.

Hazardous/adventure activities

Not always covered.  Check listed activities in the policy wording.


The European Health Insurance card (e111 form) entitles you to basic treatment in state hospitals inside the Euro Zone.  Care isn’t always free, especially for ongoing treatment. 

The EU medical card won’t pay for expensive prescriptions, or repatriation to the UK dead or alive.