Travel insurance lack teaches costly lesson

A sad story illustrates the importance of travel insurance

Travel Insurance News - 19/06/2008

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Although travel insurance costs just a few pounds for most trips today, almost a third of British tourists are stepping outside the country without any coverage, a decision which could turn out to be incredibly costly, as Brenda Finch and her family unfortunately learned.

The 51-year old Brenda Finch was celebrating her wedding anniversary with husband Nicolas in Mexico. Two days before their return flight to the UK, Brenda complained of a headache and collapsed in the hotel room.

According to local doctors, Brenda suffered from a brain aneurysm which sent her into a coma for two weeks and finally resulted in her death.

Her family attended her funeral last Tuesday but they are left with a financially devastating legacy. To pay medical fees, the company borrowed tens of thousands of dollars. All of the costs for travel and medical expenses came out of the family’s pocked because Brenda and her husband were travelling without insurance.

The family had little support to help Brenda. “We felt we were fumbling in the dark,” says her sister, Christine O'Connor. “Initially nobody wanted to know because Brenda didn't have insurance. The hospital wouldn't treat her until they got paid.”

Brenda’s care ended up costing £3,000 a day and before her death, her family was also trying to raise £45,000 for an air ambulance to bring her back to the UK. The family ended up having to pay for the air ambulance because Brenda died the morning of her flight and the ambulance had already taken off. Despite this fact, the ambulance would not transport her body home.

“They said Brenda's body was considered cargo and they couldn't carry her because they didn't have the licence to do so,” says Christine. “We had to find another £6,000 to fly her home.”

Christine now believes that every traveller should have insurance in place before getting on a flight. “I don't want this to happen to another family,” says Christine. “It's just not fair on the people left behind.”

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