The over 50s are being urged to take out travel insurance after a survey found that one in ten travel without it despite 25 per cent falling ill abroad.
The statistics are based on a survey of 8,650 customers, all of whom were aged 50 and over, by Saga Travel insurance.
The company says that around eight out of ten over 50s will jet off to explore foreign lands, yet the majority of people don’t call their insurer before seeking medical attention.
According to the firm, while many people think the worst won’t happen to them, one in four over 50s have fallen ill abroad, 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, a holiday rep or the hotel receptionist if they need medical assistance. Some five per cent of people say they won’t call anyone but 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.
Head of Travel Insurance at Saga Kevin McMullan 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 five per cent 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:
*Take your travel insurance documents on holiday with you or make a note of your policy number and the emergency telephone numbers.
*Keep a note of any medication you are currently taking so that you can give this to a doctor if you fall ill.
*If you need non-emergency medical treatment always contact your travel insurer before you seek medical attention.