Holidaymakers neglect dental insurance

One in three British holidaymakers are setting off for their summer holidays without dental insurance, a new survey reveals.

Research by the British Dental Health Foundation has discovered that a third (33%) of sun-seeking sightseers admit they have no holiday dental insurance, to cover them in the event of a dental emergency. While more than half of holidaymakers (55%) admit they are unsure if their travel insurance includes adequate dental protection. And only one in nine (12%) Brits leave the UK knowing their travel insurance includes dental cover.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, says that having medical insurance when abroad is essential and advises dental teams to tell patients to make cover a priority.

Dr Carter says: ‘Dental emergencies can develop at any time, whether you are at home or while you are away. They can range from painful toothaches to broken, loosened or knocked-out teeth, so it is vital that you have the right level of cover to meet any medical or dental needs.

“Take out travel cover as soon as you have booked the trip and make sure you carefully examine the small print to know what your policy entitles you to. Most private medical insurance includes dental emergency cover but make sure you speak with your insurer to clarify this, as dental care in other countries can be expensive.’

In addition to taking out suitable travel insurance which includes medical emergencies, holiday-goers are also advised to make sure they apply for an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will cover any medical treatment, including dental, that becomes necessary during your trip.

The EHIC gives you access to reduced-cost or free medical treatment from state healthcare providers within the EU but it is not an alternative to private travel insurance.

‘Most insurers now insist you hold an EHIC before being able to purchase private insurance. As the card will not cover any private medical healthcare costs, non-medical claims such as lost or stolen property, or trips outside the EU, it is vital you have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy.

‘Taking any prescribed medications and personal identification, as well as having searched for where all the best hospitals or health centres are, is just as important as remembering all your travel essentials. Having an accident abroad can be a draining and traumatic experience and ruin your holiday experience so the message, cliché though it may be, is “better to be safe than sorry” and even though all your pre-planning will not prevent the emergency, it will certainly make it easier for you if something does go wrong.’

‘So before you think about packing your trunks and sunscreen, make sure you pack your travel insurance!’

To find out more about the EHIC and learn how to apply, patients can visit NHS Choices.

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