​Uninsured travellers turn to Capital Air Ambulance to bring them home

A recent survey revealed that almost 50% of holidaymakers had no idea if their travel insurance covered their needs – and a majority either undertook high risk activities during their trip without checking if they were covered in the event of an accident, or committed to a trip without knowing if urgent treatment for a pre-existing condition would be covered.

In the survey, the majority of travellers confessed to purchasing travel insurance without even reading the small print. Although with many policy documents running over 60 pages in length – it’s perhaps hardly surprising! A frightening 20% of UK travellers confessed to not purchasing any insurance at all.

Unfortunately, many policyholders read the policy only at the time of making a claim, or after a claim has been refused, despite being required to confirm having read, understood and agreed to the policy terms at the time of purchase.

As a result, almost 160,000 UK citizens faced medical bills running well into six figures for hospital stays abroad last year – having also had no insurance to cover the cost of bringing them home for treatment in the UK.

This often leaves tour operators assisting injured or unwell customers who can’t travel on their planned flight, and simply do not know where to turn for help.

That’s often where we step in. When travellers become injured or ill without insurance, Capital Air Ambulance supports tour operators, 24 hours a day, undertaking complex medical retrieval missions from wherever they are in the world – just as we would if they were insured.

In the past twelve months alone, Capital’s fleet of air ambulances have brought uninsured travellers home from across Europe and the rest of the world following injury or illness.

We are on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's list of approved air ambulance providers and are accredited by EURAMI – the European Air Ambulance standards body – to the highest levels.

Our fully equipped air ambulances can also accommodate a travelling companion - unlike many of our rivals - so a friend or relative can fly with the patient, which often gives great comfort in a stressful situation.

We take tour operators and travellers, step-by-step, through the process of arranging a medical assistance flight, whether that is by private aircraft or using a scheduled airline service. We give a clear idea of costs right at the start, to help them to make an informed decision.

Then, once someone has decided to use Capital Air Ambulance, we take the strain. Our experienced, multilingual team take over negotiations with the medical staff at the hospital where the patient is being treated, reviewing medical needs and making all necessary preparations for the transfer, including arranging a hospital place in the UK. Our job isn’t done until our Flight Medical Crew has completed a detailed handover at the destination hospital and the patient is receiving treatment.

We work closely with all of the major insurance companies and support their efforts to encourage travellers to take travel insurance seriously. There are significant costs involved in chartering a private aircraft or ground ambulance to bring someone home and it is surely preferable that these costs are taken care of by a properly-purchased insurance policy? But with such large numbers of Britons continuing to take the risk of travelling whilst uninsured or underinsured, Capital will continue to be on standby to help, for when problems do arise.