Off The Beaten Track - Be Sure To Insure

 By: Jack Harris
For those not in the know, these consist of dropping all responsibilities at home and taking off to a far-flung destination for adventure and parties. The attractiveness of such a jaunt is easy to see: after years of hard study or trying to forge a career in a chosen industry sector, the need for some sort of break is apparent. But worryingly, an increasing number of travellers are choosing to take their break without the necessary travel insurance, leading lights STA travel have reported.

STA specialises in so-called ‘learning holidays’, where studying and practicing a new skill are integral to the break away. Popular choices include cookery courses in Thailand and horse-riding in Argentina. The relative remoteness of these locations means that travel insurance is even more of a necessity than for a short break away in Europe. A spokesperson pointed out that “The further you are away from home, or the more secluded your location, the more expensive it would be to repatriate the traveller back to the UK in the case of accident or illness.”

Just recently, an alarming case was reported involving Dennis O’Keeffe, 47, who holidayed to the Dominican Republic with his wife Marie. For the past month, he has amounted hospital bills of £30,000 after developing pneumonia. He was also told that he requires specialist medical care only available at home, and the emergency flight back would cost thousands more. The couple had rightly prepared for such an eventuality, having bought travel insurance for nearly £70 from a leading supermarket chain. However, the company is refusing to pay-up.

They say that because Mr O’Keeffe had been diagnosed with pneumonia a few years ago, he was predisposed to contracting the disease and was thus not covered by the policy. The O’Keeffes argue that because they had gone for a pre-trip check-up and were given the OK to take the trip, there was no existing risk to any diseases, and Mr O’Keeffe was no more likely to catch the disease than any other person. They couldn’t find a leaflet when they applied for the insurance detailing the specifics of the policy, and were thus in the dark about what they were exactly covered for.

The situation remains deadlocked, and Mr O’Keeffe continues to languish in a Dominican hospital, despite him having an insurance policy. What will happen to him is unknown, but it should serve as a warning to all other potential travellers to exotic locales. The fact that trips of this nature are generally expensive should play a part in budgeting for insurance in the initial cost plan, and that concessions should be made for any ‘dangerous’ activity that you might be doing – off-piste skiing and snowboarding for example. The last thing that anyone wants is to end up freezing at the top of a mountain with a shattered ankle, and not wanting to call an air-ambulance because of the costs involved. Plan carefully and a trip of a lifetime can easily be had.
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