Melanie Bien: No travel cover? You could be lost in Lisbon

By the time you read this, depending on what time of day you sit down with your Sunday paper, I will either be on my way to Gatwick airport, in mid-air or enjoying a leisurely lunch in Lisbon. Or if you leave your newspaper reading until very late in the day, I may actually be at the football.

By the time you read this, depending on what time of day you sit down with your Sunday paper, I will either be on my way to Gatwick airport, in mid-air or enjoying a leisurely lunch in Lisbon. Or if you leave your newspaper reading until very late in the day, I may actually be at the football.

But whether England or France emerge victorious, at least I don't have to worry about my travel insurance because I have an annual multi-trip policy.

Yes, you read that last line correctly. While some people will be fretting over little details such as the game itself, insurers are determined that travel cover should be at the forefront of our minds.

This may sound a bit of a joke: what sort of fan would be thinking about insurance instead of the diamond formation? But there is a serious message here: 14,000 fans will travel to Portugal without travel cover, according to research by supermarket Asda.

And even those who have arranged insurance may inadvertently invalidate their policy doing something that practically every English football fan will participate in: enjoying a beer (or several).

According to research from insuresupermarket.com, a site that lets you compare the cost of various policies, your cover may be worthless if you are under the influence. Although many people don't realise it, the small print of virtually every travel policy includes a clause that states the cover is rendered invalid if alcohol or drugs played some part in the incident for which you are making a claim.

This could be bad news given that treatment for a broken leg in Portugal can cost anything from £500 to £15,000 depending on whether surgery is required. And repatriation to the UK costs up to £45,000 for an air ambulance.

Trying to foot this bill will be too much for many, particularly if the other press releases making their way on to my desk in the past couple of weeks are anything to go by. Fans are already splashing out to follow their team: the average cost is £1,594 per England supporter on flights, accommodation, match tickets and food and drink, according to Capital One.

American Express offers a breakdown of the cost of travelling to Lisbon just to attend the game against France: fans will spend, on average, £459 each. Given that Amex has calculated a lager bill of no more than £5.20 per person, perhaps these fans are worried about invalidating their insurance policies.

The AA has also weighed in with research, this time involving people driving to Portugal. The AA is concerned that "some football fans ... may leave commonsense behind and risk squeezing one more person in their car". It says this is dangerous because that "extra" person won't have a seatbelt and could attract the attention of the police.

Armchair fans at home will also spend some serious dosh, according to yet more research. Capital One estimates that they will fork out an average of £68 each on food, drinks, house parties, and team shirts and flags. England supporters in the North-west will spend the most - £87 each - while the Scots will spend the least - £52 per person. Given that they're not participating, perhaps the Scots are only opening their wallets at all so they can celebrate an England defeat or two.

Even the most tenuous connections are not beyond companies desperate in their quest for publicity. For example, stockbroker The Share Centre is trying to convince investors that the further England progress in Euro 2004, the better it will be for their portfolios - but only if they are invested in the likes of pub operators, off-licences and supermarkets, which all stand to benefit from sales of beer and food for the barbie.

And don't forget the bookmakers, such as Paddy Power and Sportingbet, which are also tipped for a good summer depending on how far England progress.

Tenuous links aside, if you are travelling to Portugal, make sure insurance is up there on your list of priorities, behind getting hold of your match ticket and booking your flights.

And don't forget to take a copy of your travel insurance documents with you, as many hospitals will insist on seeing evidence of your policy before they proceed.

Come on England.

m.bien@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

    Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

    £55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

    Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

    £16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine