Nobody wants to think about having an accident or being ill on holiday, but every summer sees a spike in holidaymakers who have recently been overseas making claims for accidents or injuries they have suffered on holiday. Travel insurance will often pick up the cost of any treatment, and if you have done the sensible thing and sorted out your EHIC cover before leaving home, any accident shouldn’t leave you too much out of pocket. Knowing what the most common accidents are might help you take measures to avoid them.
1. Road Accidents
Perhaps unsurprisingly, road accidents are the most common causes of injury overseas. UK travellers often hire cars when they are not used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road, are unfamiliar with the local roads and driving conditions, and often when the cars themselves are just not up to scratch. Pedestrians are also at risk of having an accident. Sometimes this is something as simple as looking the wrong way when stepping off the kerb, and accidents are often caused by alcohol. Always keep your wits about you when driving or crossing roads on unfamiliar territory.
2. Slips and Falls
This is the most common class of accidents at home too, but the risks are higher on holiday. Swimming pool accidents are very common, with people slipping on wet tiles around the edge of pools and injuring themselves, falling into pools, or falling from balconies or staircases. Never run around the edge of a pool and take care when in unfamiliar or poorly-lit areas, especially when travelling with older people or those who are unsteady on their feet.
3. Food poisoning
Food poisoning can be very nasty, and is more common in warmer countries where bacteria grow more quickly. Knowing that “risky” foods such as seafood, chicken and salads are more likely to carry bacteria might help minimise the risk, avoid ice in drink and take care with buffet-style meals where the food sits for hours without being replenished. If you do become seriously ill, your EHIC cover should help you access treatment in a public hospital should you need a drip to rehydrate you.
4. Sporting injuries
Again, the swimming pool is the main culprit. Every year many holidaymakers suffer serious spinal or leg injuries after diving into shallow water in a swimming pool. Always make sure you are certain of the depth of water before jumping in. If you’re planning on taking part in a sport such as paragliding, horse riding or scuba diving, make sure you have adequate cover and check that the company organising the activity is reputable.
5. Excursion injuries
Road accidents don’t just happen when you’re a driver or pedestrian, they can also occur when you’re on an organised excursion. Check whether additional insurance is in place when paying for any excursion. If you’re visiting ancient monuments or doing city sightseeing, wearing sensible footwear will help avoid trips, slips and twisted ankles which could see you spending a few hours in a foreign A&E.