These terrifying costs of foreign hospital stays prove why you really should buy travel insurance

13th Jul 18 | Lifestyle

Just make sure you don't get sick in Monaco.

Sunglasses, Passport, Money, Hat and aircraft on the world map

If you’ve never had to cash in insurance on holiday for lost luggage or a medical emergency, it can be tempting to think you don’t need it. But being rushed to hospital abroad can be made more traumatic when there’s a huge bill to pay at the end.

In fact, spending a night in hospital abroad can cost up to 12 times more than the cost of an average 5-star hotel, according to research by, if you wind up in the world’s most expensive hospital bed in Monaco for £2,583 a night.

A hospital stay in Luxembourg could set you back £1,360, while in Norway it could cost up to £1,007. The next most expensive were found to be Qatar, Switzerland, San Marino and Denmark.

A night in a USA hospital will set you back £482, and while you might think it would be cheaper in close-by European countries, it’s not by much – a night as an inpatient in France would cost £428 and £332 in Spain.

These figures don’t take into account the cost of any treatment, so medicine and diagnostic tests will increase the bill even more.

The personal finance comparison website estimate that 25% of Britons went abroad without any travel insurance last year.

Travel insurance can protect you in a variety of ways, including compensating you if your flights gets delayed or cancelled, if your luggage gets lost or any expensive items like cameras or laptops get stolen. Medical costs are also usually covered and most include treatment and emergency repatriation – but it’s always worth checking the cost of medical treatment the insurance will cover and the excess you’ll have to pay.

Jon Ostler, UK CEO of, says: “While most of us are lucky enough to avoid hospitals when abroad, the costs of staying overnight are eye watering – and this is before you take into account the cost of medicine and specialist treatment as well.

“It may seem like something that will never happen to us, but with travel insurance for a week in Europe costing potentially 952 times less than a week in a Monaco hospital (£19 vs £18,081), it really is a small price to pay for peace of mind.”

Check out this interactive map to find out how expensive a hospital stay would be at the destination you’re going to next.

© Press Association 2018