Lentokone lentokentällä

The free consul ride home is fiction

The belief that if you have a serious illness or accident, the state of Finland is obliged to arrange for your trip back home, seems to die hard. Without insurance, you will have to pay for your transport home and the medical treatment expenses out of your own pocket. You must also take care of the travel arrangements yourself.

The "Secure future through insurance" survey by the Federation of Finnish Financial Services shows that 30% of the respondents have the incorrect belief that if necessary, the state of Finland will arrange your transport home in the event of serious travel illness or travel accident. A particularly large segment of those under 30 years of age believed that the state will arrange their transport back home.

Representative offices abroad can give advice and assistance, but Finnish citizens are primarily responsible for themselves.

So if you travel abroad, it is indeed worthwhile to make sure you have travel insurance. The premium is very small compared to the cost of returning on a medical flight. At worst, becoming ill abroad may cost hundreds of thousands of euros.

Medical flight home

Not so long ago, a woman on vacation in Cyprus called Eurooppalainen’s Emergency Service because she had found her husband unconscious when entering their hotel room. An ambulance rushed the man to hospital where he was diagnosed with cerebral haemorrhage.

After the seriousness of the situation became evident, she called Eurooppalainen's Emergency Service number. The employee on duty calmed down the caller and asked for more detailed information on the incident, after which the employee called the local Euro-Center claims office and Eurooppalainen’s doctor on duty.

The doctor determined the patient's situation and ensured that the hospital was the best possible. A payment guarantee was sent to the hospital. The man was treated in the intensive care unit of a private clinic for two weeks.

Eurooppalainen’s doctor on duty monitored his status together with the attending doctor and found out that he, accompanied by a doctor and a nurse, could be taken back to Finland on a medical flight. His wife was flown home on a scheduled flight. Eurooppalainen took charge of all the arrangements and the couple could focus on the husband’s recovery.

The best treatment for just some tens of euros

Before the trip, the man had bought travel insurance costing some tens of euros. The woman had her own travel insurance. The travel insurance policies covered a total of almost 49,000 euros of expenses, and the further treatment in Finland.

Without insurance, the bill would have been hefty:

  • medical care in the intensive care unit of a private clinic in Cyprus: 12,000 euros
  • medical flight to Finland: 30,000 euros
  • medical staff on board: 5,000 euros
  • extra accommodation costs incurred by the wife and the return flight ticket: 1,700 euros

Additionally, depending on the policy, the travel insurance covers the costs of subsequent treatment of travel illnesses generally for 90–120 days and accidental injuries for a maximum of three years from the incident.