We’ve heard plenty about the cost of living crisis engulfing households as inflation spirals. That will be making many families think very carefully about whether they can afford a holiday abroad this year.
At best, a lot of people will be looking to holiday on a budget this year and cut out unnecessary costs.
One thing you shouldn’t skip, however, is travel insurance. Unfortunately, far too many people do. Especially when travelling to the most familiar and popular destinations, like Spain.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 18 million British holidaymakers travelled to Spain every year. But according to travel association ABTA, one in five people travelled without any form of travel insurance, while another quarter had the wrong type of policy for their trip.
You might argue that travel insurance is an unnecessary expense if you never make a claim on it. After all, Spain is only a couple of hour’s flight away. It’s hardly like jetting off to some far flung corner of the world. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, quite a lot actually. Spain might be a relatively near neighbour in global terms. But it is still another country. And that means there are certain financial risks for foreign visitors that they would not face at home.
Put simply, while you might think you are saving money by not taking out travel insurance, you are in reality taking a huge financial gamble. Here are some good reasons why you should take out travel insurance for Spain and avoid an unnecessary costa living crisis.
British tourists are not automatically entitled to free healthcare in Spain. If you have a GHIC card (the new post-Brexit version of the EHIC card in the UK), you will get medically necessary treatment free of charge. If you don’t have a GHIC card, you will have to pay for any and all medical care at private rates. And that can be very expensive indeed.
Even if you do have a GHIC card, it won’t cover everything. It won’t, for example, pay for medical repatriation – being flown home so you can be treated in a UK hospital. If you suffer a serious illness or accident, you will have to wait out treatment in Spain. And then you would have to pay to get home out of your own pocket.
With or without a GHIC card, travel insurance will pay out on a wide range of medical-related eventualities. It’s no exaggeration that this could save you thousands of pounds should you or a member of your family end up being hospitalised.
Cancellations and delays
We’ve had a stark wake-up call over the Easter holidays that it may take a while for the wheels of international travel to run smoothly. A combination of high demand and depleted workforces at airports and airlines has led to hundreds of flight cancellations and long delays at airports as people tried to take advantage of their first restriction-free opportunity to get away in two years.
There’s no guarantee similar problems won’t be repeated over the Spring Bank Holiday and into the peak summer season. If your airline cancels your flight, you should be entitled to a refund and compensation to cover costs. That’s fine if you have booked a package holiday. But if you have booked flights and accommodation separately, the maximum compensation payout is £520 – which might not be enough to cover the full cost of your hotel for two weeks.
Find a good cancellation policy on your travel insurance, and you can guarantee the full cost of your holiday being covered.
Similarly, if you miss your flight because of delays on the roads or even getting through security at the airport, there’s not any legal obligation on your tour operator or airline to give you a rebooking or cover your costs. It depends on the policies of the individual companies. Travel insurance will give you that extra peace of mind.
Finally, if you are travelling with children between the ages of 12 and 18, bear in mind that they will have to take a COVID-19 test to get into Spain if they haven’t been fully vaccinated (unvaccinated adults cannot enter Spain full stop). If they test positive, that’s your trip cancelled. Travel insurance with COVID cancellation cover is the only guaranteed way to get your money back.