Simon Usborne: £50 premium saved me a bill for £10,000

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The Independent Online

The pain was bad enough – I'd broken my back in a fall while skiing off-piste – but it could have lasted much longer. The helicopter rescue didn't come cheap. Nor did the morphine, the Swiss hospital, the six seats converted as a stretcher on the flight from Geneva, or the fee for the doctor sent to bring me home.

After two weeks on my back on a smelly ward in London, I hobbled home, my torso encased in a plaster cast, to find the doormat loaded with more than £10,000 in bills.

If anything I was lucky – friends have been forced to cough up on the spot and claim later. I simply sent the eye-watering invoices to my insurers, who paid for everything.

Nine years later, my back's fine and the £50 premium that saved me from debt that could have crippled me before I'd even got to university is still the best money I ever spent.