The perils of travelling uninsured
We asked Campbell Irvine insurers for a recent story from a traveller who failed to insure adequately and here it is...
Our story starts when Bob set off to Australia on his gap year. Having bought his ticket, booked his first week's accommodation he also bought his travel insurance for that just in case moment. His original trip of a lifetime was to be for a total of 6 months in duration. Bob decided to extend his stay down under for an extra couple of months as he was having such a great time down under. The idea was simple he would now be back just in time for Christmas. Unfortunately when he revalidated the return date on his flight ticket he decided to save some of his cash, which was running low by now, and elected not to contact his travel insurers to extend the period of cover on his policy. Bob ended up uninsured for the last 2 months of his trip.
A week before Bob was due to fly back home, he and his friend decided to go horse riding along the beach. Set against the beautiful costal sunset, Bob's suddenly horse bolted and he fell hitting some rocks. Disorientated and clearly in pain, his friend was able to summon the local lifeguards who assist Bob by taking him to the local hospital to be checked over in their pickup.
With Bob's pride hurting almost as much as his two broken ribs and fractured collar bone. With x-rays in hand and his arm in a sling Bob headed off to the airport to check in for his long awaited return flight home. Hoping to use his powers of persuasion and the sympathy effect gained by having his arm in a sling, he hobbled up to the check in desk thinking he might even get a free upgrade if he played his cards right.
You can imagine his concern with the check in assistance asked Bob to wait in a small room for the airline's Doctor to give Bob a clean bill of health. Annoyed but with the thought of green and pleasant lands only a flight away, Bob sat down and waited for the airline's Doctor to arrive. After a brief examination and a few basic questions relating to his accident, the airline's Doctor gave Bob the not so good news.
Bob was told that he could not fly on his booked flight that afternoon due to the airline's policy on flying with broken bones. He was given two options. Bob could either purchase a new flight ticket to depart in a minimum of 3 weeks subject to having a letter from the hospital confirming that he was fit to fly. Alternatively Bob could arrange to pay for a nurse to fly out from the UK wait a night and fly accompany him on the flight back. The airline also refused to refund Bob for the original unused return flight.
The Airline's doctor explained in some detail that high altitude has the effect of expanding the lungs, which in the case of Bob would have resulted in an increased risk of a punctured lung given the injury he has sustained to his ribs.
Having decided not to extend his insurance to cover the final part of his holiday, Bob was going to have to pay to get back home himself. As this was nearly the busy Christmas period the cheapest flight he could find would be over £2,000, not to mention having to cover an additional 3 weeks stay in Oz. The other alterative was going to cost him an extra £18,000 to pay for the nurse escorted repatriation back home.
The moral of the story is always ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover the full duration of your trip, as not having insurance can be an expensive way to end your holiday.