Case of Cambodia backpacker Calvin Hill highlights the need for travel insurance as 1 in 12 UK holiday makers say they never bother with it: Plane

13 July 2018, 09:44

Case of Cambodia backpacker Calvin Hill highlights the need for travel insurance as 1 in 12 UK holiday makers say they never bother with it


  • Calvin Hill from Carmarthenshire has spent two months in a Cambodian hospital after developing sepsis from mosquito bites
  • He is insured through Insurer Flexicover which is picking up the bills for treatment and arranging a flight to a hospital in Thailand before flying him back to the UK.
  • The total cost could run to tens of thousands of pounds, especially if he needs a medically assisted flight home
  • 27% of Brit holiday makers don’t always make sure they have travel insurance for trips abroad
  • 8% (1 in 12) say they NEVER bother with travel insurance

As millions of holidaymakers get ready for the Summer getaway, the case of Welsh backpacker Calvin Hill serves as a stark reminder of why it’s so important to have the appropriate travel insurance when you go abroad.

Mr Hill Was backpacking in Cambodia when he developed sepsis as a result of infected mosquito bites. He has spent two months in hospital including two weeks in a coma and several more on life support. He is now preparing to be flown home.

Thankfully Mr Hill had appropriate travel insurance through Flexicover and the insurer is picking up the bills for his treatment and return home. The total bill for his treatment and medically assisted flights could easily run into tens of thousands of pounds. According to the ABI, one recent claim for an air ambulance repatriation of a seriously ill British holidaymaker from the Canary Islands back to the UK included a bill of £23,000 for the flight alone.

Recent research carried out by GoCompare Travel Insurance revealed that only 73% of Brit holidaymakers always have travel cover when they go abroad and a worrying 1 in 12 (8%) say they NEVER bother with it.

The most common reasons why holidaymakers don’t take out travel cover are that it’s too expensive, that they usually forget, that they can’t be bothered and a belief that insurers won’t pay out anyway. 7% just feel that ‘they won’t need it’.

Travel Insurance for a two-week trip to Cambodia this summer for a couple aged 35 offering a minimum of £5m medical expenses cover can be found for as little as £19.03** through GoCompare.

Georgie Frost, Consumer Advocate at GoCompare, commented: “Stories like this bring home just how important it is to have appropriate travel insurance when you go abroad. Thankfully Mr Hill had taken the sensible step of getting travel insurance, he received life-saving treatment and will hopefully soon be on his way home to his family following his awful ordeal.

“Unfortunately, cases when families and friends have to club together or crowd fund bills for treatment and repatriation when holidaymakers haven’t taken out even the cheapest of travel insurance policies are all too frequent. Medical bills can be huge, especially in places like the USA, and the cost of repatriation from long haul destinations can be astronomical. Whilst no one wants to think about the chances of them having a serious accident or illness on their holiday, sometimes things can go wrong. A few minutes spent arranging travel insurance for less than the cost of a bottle of posh sun cream will give you the peace of mind that that if the unthinkable happens, you and your friends and family won’t have to worry about how to pay the medical bills.”

For further information about travel insurance visit GoCompare’s guide at:


For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson/Martyn John/Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 654 725 / 01633 655132

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

*On the 05 June 2018, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 1,461 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panellists and have been on holiday abroad in the last five years. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

**Figures correct as of 12/07/18 for a 35-year-old couple travelling to Cambodia between 1st August 2018 to 15th August 2018 on a single trip policy, with no previous medical issues. Showing cheapest quote with Thomas Cook Insurance, covering £10 million medical expenses. Policy features vary, please ensure you compare levels and types of cover via the 'More Details' button before making a purchase. 

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