/ Insurance needed for Spain (Costa Blanca)?

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Luke90 on 02 Jan 2017
So we're going to the Costa Blanca this Easter. We've got some basic travel insurance but climbing is excluded.

We could get "top up" insurance to cover the climbing for 60 or we could join the Austrian Alpine Club for 100 to get their rescue/medical cover for the year.

What I'm trying to figure out is whether the extra money is worth spending. What expenses could we end up on the hook for if we had an accident while climbing?

As far as I can make out from some brief online research, Spanish Mountain Rescue don't charge in that region (and even in regions that do charge it seems to only apply in the case of negligence/incompetence). Assuming that Brexit hasn't had chance to screw things up by April, EHIC cards sound like they should still get us free medical care, provided that we go to a state hospital. Are we likely to struggle to get that free cover?

Any advice?
spenser - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

EHIC reduces the cost of medical care to what locals would pay, you'll need to check if it's free in Spain.
If the top up insurance which you are talking about is part of the policy from the same company it might be ok.
A friend of a friend had an accident in Spain a couple of years ago the various things which could have been costly:
Rescue
Medical Treatment
Hotel Room for his Girlfriend to stay out there with him over Christmas along with his mum and dad.
Repatriation (private aircraft with a doctor, some serious cash probably got burned here)

I think he was insured by Club Easy, apparently they were really finicky with paying out for everything but apparently they did.
JR_NL - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Think about things like repatriation, which already gets expensive with a broken leg, let alone something serious.

While not climbing, a friend of mine had a haemorrhage while on holiday and spent more than 6 months abroad, had transportation by private jet and the insurance claim in the end was well over a million. If you'd fall, land on your head and have a brain injury, would you be able to pay for these sort of amounts (even a 100K)?

If the answer is no, be wise and get the insurance
Luke90 on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Yeah, I guess repatriation is the big one that I didn't consider. Do you really need a special expensive flight for just, say, a broken leg? Can't you just get a seat with extra legroom?

I'm partially playing devil's advocate at this stage, to be honest. Topping up the insurance is clearly the smart option.
Sam Mayfield - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Really interested in following this post as we dont really recommend anyone for our guests and maybe we should!

Mountain rescue issues are been discussed at the moment and not sure if one day they will become like The Alps etc and very costly!

How many would say BMC and have claimed and found them good value etc

Sam Orange

Luke90 on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Sam Mayfield:
> Mountain rescue issues are been discussed at the moment and not sure if one day they will become like The Alps etc and very costly!

So am I right in saying that at the moment, needing to be rescued wouldn't cost you anything?

What's the medical care like? Is free state care easy to access, in your experience? Or would you be likely to be taken to a private clinic in an emergency?
JR_NL - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

With a broken leg you'd need a (significantly) increased legroom seat, and for nearly all intra-Europe flying this means an exit row. But since you have a broken leg you can't sit there, as you are not an able bodied passenger.

Cheapest option would probably be to stuff you in a taxi or if you're lucky a train, but we have a lot of 'just broken legs' on the rescue flights from the Austrian Alps....

My take on insurance is always the question that if shit hits the fan, will I be able to (reasonably) bear the costs? If the answer is yes, I'll take the risk myself as I don't want to pay the premium on having it covered. If I can't afford it (and repatriation can get expensive in a hurry) I'll take the insurance.
Fraser on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Sam Mayfield:

> How many would say BMC and have claimed and found them good value etc

I claimed on my BMC policy 2-3 years ago after a camera theft from our hire car (whilst out shopping just down the road from you! ) and they paid out in full for a replacement within a few weeks of returning home. So I'd obviously say they are good value.

In reply to the OP:

A friend broke her back whilst in Portugal several years ago in a non-climbing accident. She needed a private air ambulance back to the UK, then a helicopter connection to the main local hospital. She told me what the insurance tally was and, although I've since forgotten the number of zeros at the end of the figure, it was pretty eye-watering.
Sam Mayfield - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Nope rescues that we have witnessed and helped in have cost nothing to the person! the rescue service as far as I am aware is ran by the fire department using local climbers etc.

I will try and get that confirmed though and ask David Mora.

The local health care is amazing, I had a suspected broken leg a few years ago when my horse jumped over and on me! I was in and out within 45 mins from the NHS hospital, which is fantastic. I have since been the private hospital Benidorm Clinic as I took out private health care and that was only better in that they spoke English.

Sam Orange
tmawer - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Have a look at "Protectivity insurance"; I have used this but fortunately not had to claim (I note prices have risen since I took my cover out so not sure if it is currently competetive).
rachelpearce01 - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

I recently had an accident on a multi pitch in Costa blanca and got helicoptered off. I didn't want them to bring the helicopter as I thought about the cost and had stupidly taken no insurance out, I tried to get them to not bring it but they wouldn't. My friend abseiled me to the ground and took off all my climbing equipment immediately. Luckily it all was covered with my EHIC.
Luke90 on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Huge thanks for all the feedback, folks! Really helpful of you.

I did take out insurance in the end. I got "top-up" insurance from SportsCoverDirect.com.

Interestingly, though, Protectivity Insurance was the same price for their cheapest full travel insurance as the "top-up" cover was. Wish I'd seen tmawer's post before I paid!

Also interestingly, they had the same user interface for quotes as SportsCoverDirect, which several other websites have shared too. Presumably, most of the sport-specific travel insurance is provided by a single company with different front ends or franchises of some sort.
Dogwatch - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Luke90:

> Yeah, I guess repatriation is the big one that I didn't consider. Do you really need a special expensive flight for just, say, a broken leg? Can't you just get a seat with extra legroom?

I know of someone recently repatriated with a leg injury and the insurance company hired him a private jet. I am sure they would not have done so if a seat with extra legroom was an option.


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