LAKE GARDA, ITALY – My left heel gaped white at me; like a part-sliced hard-boiled egg. It had been no match for the jagged rocks leering at the bottom of Lake Garda.
I’d been trying my hand at wind-surfing. Skating across the green-blue Italian water with the wind clapping you along like a over-excited mother – man, it looked like fun. And it was fun.
If you were any good at it.
I, however, was crap. It was all too fecking wobbly.
Stand – Wobble – Fall. Stand – Wobble – Fall. And repeat.
I’d spent the entire 45-minute session face-planting into the lake and inelegantly squealing as I did so.
And on face-plant No. 456, the plump side of my heel came a cropper with Lake Garda’s teeth; with one sharp incisor opening it up like a muppet’s mouth. Ouch.
I hobbled to the one-room doctor’s surgery on the campsite we were calling home for our 10-day Lake Garda stay. Luckily, it was open.
The doctor seemed nice – although I couldn’t understand a fecking word:
“Lie on my side? No, not on my side – sit up? Oh ok, don’t sit up – raise my hand? My arm? My elbow? My leg? Sorry, you want a cup of tea – WHAT?”
My heel was cleaned of all the lake bile and swan poo that Lake Garda adorns itself with (I know – I didn’t know that either), and was bandaged up beautifully – no stitches needed.
I was in there all of 30 minutes, and I limped out 55 Euros lighter.
But, it could’ve been a lot worse. A lot, lot worse. And a lot, lot, lot more costly.
It could’ve been like uncle Shaun who developed septicaemia on a trip to Lithuania and was in a coma for days in a foreign hospital; the family making the agonising, expensive trips over to try and communicate with the doctors and get him home.
Or it could’ve been like my mum who is now in Solihull Hospital with a very nasty e-coli infection having been off-loaded from our flight as we were ready to depart for Cyprus.
Fortunately, uncle Shaun had travel insurance through American Express. He made it home safely, the costs covered, and is, today, fit and healthy.
Fortunately, my mum also has travel insurance. I took it out for all of us (mum, myself and my daughter) with InsureAndGo just after booking our ‘Cyprus holiday that never happened’.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
For most people, travel insurance is an annoying little ‘add-on’ – an irritating little pop-up box that stops you momentarily celebrating the trip you’ve just booked online.
Whether you tick ‘Yes, add travel insurance’ or ‘No, I’m fine thanks’ is, of course, up to you – and if you’re in good health, travel insurance may seem completely unnecessary.
Yet, for me (after what I’ve been through in the last few days), travel insurance is essential.
Life is just too damn schizophrenic to trust: whether it’s your camera that’s nicked in a restaurant, or your bag that’s swiped in a market; whether it’s your flight that’s delayed by hours, or cancelled due to bad weather; whether it’s a slashed ankle in Lake Garda, or a serious life-threatening infection that puts a loved one in hospital and causes lots and lots of tears and heart-break…
…the answer to the question, “Should I insure or not insure?”, is a loud and exasperated: