Countries with most expensive travel health insurance including Spain – avoid 'huge bill'


New research from expat insurance provider William Russell analysed international health insurance claims data and revealed the most expensive country to get sick or injured without cover while travelling is Denmark.

Denmark has the highest average claim value of £5,569. Therefore, international health insurance is extremely important when visiting the country to protect one’s health and wallet. Other countries, including Taiwan, Qatar and Lebanon, were also found as some of the most expensive to get sick in without cover.

Interestingly, Spain came seventh on the list. Since the UK left the EU, Britons visiting Spain can’t simply go to a hospital to receive medical care.

Before travelling to Spain, or any EU country, British tourists should request a GHIC (UK Global Health Insurance Card).

Holidaymakers are eligible for a GHIC card if they are legally living in the UK and they do not have healthcare cover provided by an EU country or Switzerland.

The Government website explains: “The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Spanish nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.”

However, it warns: “It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.”

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Medical evacuation is the most expensive claim of health insurance, with the average claim sitting at a huge £10,237.

Other expensive categories are pregnancy complications and emergency procedures, which refer to any issues travellers have with pregnancy while travelling, including the need for an emergency c-section.

The 10 most expensive health insurance claim types:

Medical evacuation

Pregnancy complications and emergency procedures

Treatment for cancer

Cover for newborns

Terminal illnesses and palliative care

Home nursing costs

Advanced diagnostic and genome tests

Prosthetic implants and appliances

Hospital accommodation and nursing

Hospital treatment

The team at William Russell also shared their best tips to make sure “you are fully covered when travelling abroad”.

They said: “If you are planning to travel internationally, then you need to ensure that you are sufficiently insured. You may already have some form of travel insurance, but you should double-check what it covers and whether that includes illness and disruption caused by COVID-19.

“If you travel without international health insurance, then you could be landed with a huge bill in the event of a medical emergency.”

Insurance details

“When you travel, make sure you have a copy of your insurance details with you and have the contact information of your insurer close to hand. This will make life much simpler in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim,” they explained.


The travel and insurance experts also advised considering how long you are planning on staying abroad.

“This can affect the type of insurance you require. Different policies provide cover for varying lengths, so if you’re only going to be abroad for a short time, you won’t need a full year’s cover,” they said.

Health conditions

In terms of preexisting health conditions, they explained: “Additionally, consider your current health condition and the lifestyle you intend to lead while abroad. These factors will help you decide on the level of cover that is right for you. For example, if you or your partner is pregnant or you’re trying for a baby, additional cover may be a good idea.”

Fully covered

“The most immediate benefit of being fully covered is that you can get on and enjoy life without the nagging worry of what if something happens. If you’re covered, then there’s nothing to worry about!” they concluded.


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