Millions paid out yearly
Travel insurance can protect you from the nightmare of astronomical medical bills in foreign countries. But just how much do travel insurance companies pay out? What are the largest payouts in history? We researched a few different travel insurance companies to see what their highest claims of each year were.
It will not surprise you that the US is one of the biggest culprits for extreme medical costs. In 2012, Medibank travel insurance paid out a nearly 450,000€ claim in a case where a traveler suffered kidney disease while in the states. The claim covered both medical expenses and the complete cost to fly the traveler back to Australia. In addition, the entire family of the affected traveler was covered by the policy in that their travel costs were covered as well in the case of unexpected illness in their family.
Medical evacuation is one of the most costly events
This claim amount might seem unimaginable. The devastation that the amount would have made on the life of the afflicated had they not purchased travel insurance is mind-boggling. And yet, this was not the highest travel insurance claim in the world. In 2015, Southern Cross Travel insurance paid out a 475,000€ claim in which a traveler was flown back to New Zealand after suffering encephalitis in an African country. No one is planning for encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain caused by viral infections, and yet when such an event occurs the costs are incredible. While this claim was massive, it is not only the medical care that is to blame for the high costs. Medical evacuation is constantly the most expensive claims paid out, almost always exceed 10,000€ in each single claim. The cost to fly you out with trained doctors and medics is always high, and it showcases the need for travel insurance. Without it, it is very difficult to get back to your home country and the expert medical attention of your homeland. When you look at the medical system of Ireland compared to some less developed countries you may be visiting, especially if you are a backpacker, it highlights the necessity of travel insurance.
While the combined cost of payouts were similar in 2013, the largest claim of the year was less, and yet still crippling in terms of the amount. It was a cruise trip which turned dangerous when a traveler had a cardiac arrest while enjoying the ship. The bill? 230,000€.
You can really see the difference in medical costs worldwide when you see that a brain tumour in Greece cost less than 40,000€. One can only imagine the hundreds of thousands, or even millions it would cost to have such a serious affliction in the United states.
While there are one in a million accidents and serious diseases which can rack up hundreds of thousands of euros in costs, the fact remains that even minor injuries and ailments can be in the tens of thousands. Can you afford to trip and fall while in the United States? What about bumping your head and requiring overnight care at a hospital in Australia? While we hate to think about the possibility, the fact remains that we must prepare for any eventuality when travelling. Travel insurance brings peace of mind. For those who are doing high risk sports, do not forget that you may need special travel insurance such as ski insurance.
We hope that this list of some of the most expensive travel insurance claims has showcased the need for travel insurance!