Average Medical Claims Made By British Tourists Falling Ill Abroad Reaches £1,333.41

08 August 2011

The average medical claim made by Britons who fall ill or have an accident in a foreign country now stands at a staggering £1,333.41 according to an analysis of 2010 claims data from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance. (1)

The findings demonstrate just how expensive holiday illnesses and accidents can be and Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance is urging holidaymakers to ensure they invest in good quality travel insurance so that, should the unthinkable happen, they are not left to foot expensive medical bills themselves.

Analysis of Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance claims found that the most expensive country for medical attention in 2010 was the USA, with the average hospital visit costing its policy holders £4,725. The most inexpensive country in which to fall ill and require hospital treatment (of the top 10 most likely countries for a claim to originate) was Greece, however the average hospital visit was still a significant £422.

Scott Gorman, Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance Manager, said:“It’s vitally important for holidaymakers to protect themselves and their family when travelling abroad, and the best peace of mind you can have is by having a good quality travel insurance policy. Simply having a European Health Insurance Card – which is not an alternative to travel insurance – will only provide you with the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the country you’re visiting. This means that should you require medical attention you may face huge medical bills, which is a concern, especially in countries such as the United States the cost of medical treatment can be extortionate.

“It has been widely reported that healthcare costs are rising far faster than the rate of inflation, not just in the UK but in other countries as well, so ensuring you have adequate cover and peace of mind while you travel abroad is more important than ever.

“Of course, it’s important to remember that travel insurance is needed not only to cover any medical attention you may require, it will also protect you from other unfortunate instances such as being a victim of crime or losing your luggage.”

Table 1: Average costs of medical treatment abroad, by country (out of the top 10 most likely countries for a medical claim to originate)


Country Average cost of medical treatment in this country
United States £4,725.75
Thailand £1,937.82
Dominican Republic £1,178.41
Cyprus £1,102.59
Spain £1,100.07
Egypt £1,067.93
Australia £989.26
France £869.67
Turkey £850.63
Greece £422.36


Source: Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance

The Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance statistics revealed that Spain was the country where more holidaymakers had to seek medical help than any other, followed by Turkey and Greece.

The research also analysed the most common reasons for seeking medical assistance over 2010. Ear infection was amongst the most common ailment, with the average bill for inpatient treatment amounting to £320.  The most expensive hospital bills were for those unfortunate enough to suffer a heart attack abroad, resulting in medical expenses that averaged £8,147.

Table 2: Costs of the most common illnesses / ailments whilst abroad in 2010


  Top 10 most common complaints Average cost of treatment for this condition
1 Ear infection  £320.35
2 Wound  £767.79
3 Fractured / Broken Bone  £4,238.87
4 Respiratory  £2,193.79
5 Sprain arm/ limb  £1,137.01
6 Skin infections/inflammation  £905.76
7 Insect bite  £ 376.68
8 Cardiac  £8,147.72
9 Minor infections ear/nose/throat  £489.89
10 Back pain  £1,216.19


Source: Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance

For those planning a few trips abroad, multi-trip travel insurance could work out cheaper. Sainsbury’s multi-trip travel insurance offers:

1/3 off online discount until 1st August 2011 – exclusive to Nectar card holders(2)
15% online discount even if you don’t have a Nectar card
Take any number of trips per year – up to 60 days each
Scheduled airline failure cover with our Standard option
Tailor your medical care to meet your needs
To obtain a Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance quote you can log or if you’d prefer to obtain a quote over the phone, call 0800 316 1453.

– ENDS –

For further information, please contact:

Ian Morris / Sophie Woodcock
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7282 1037 / 1072

Notes to editors:

(1) Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance analysis of FirstAssist Insurance travel claims data across 2009 and 2011
(2) To receive your1/3 offonline discount go and remember to have your Nectar card numberready. Offer ends 1st August 2011, for full terms and conditions.

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Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

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For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

Sainsburys Finance Travel Insurance is arranged and administered by FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited on behalf of the insurer, Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC.

FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited (FISL) is one of the UK’s leading providers of tailored, flexible white-label specialist insurance solutions. FISL has five key areas of insurance expertise: travel, protection, budget health, legal protection and small business, covering nearly three million people in the UK.

Driven as a specialist business by an entrepreneurial, commercial management team, FISL provides a unique range of products and marketing solutions for: Banks, Insurers, Affinity Organisations, Corporates, Intermediaries and SMEs.

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