A pensioner has issued a warning to holidaymakers this summer about travel insurance after her dream cruise trip turned to disaster when her husband fell ill.
Betty Ridgway, 77, of Auburn Grove, South Shore, travelled to Santa Cruz in Tenerife with husband Malcolm, 80, on July 8 for a two week trip.
But while visiting the idyllic island, Malcolm, who had a heart attack 10 years ago, started to suffer chest pains and was taken to hospital for a week for treatment.
According to Mrs Ridgway, her husband’s treatment was covered by his European Health Insurance Card – but she was forced to spend more than £3,000 on taxis, accommodation and flights home to support him after problems with the pair’s insurance.
The former Marks & Spencer worker told The Gazette: “Everything was wonderful until the sixth day. Malcolm started to feel very ill.
“He could not walk more than five steps.
“We went to see the ship’s doctor and within 40 minutes we were off the boat and at a hospital.
“Malcolm was there for seven days. Taxis from my hotel to the hospital visiting him cost at least £500.”
The couple had joint travel insurance with Nationwide and Mrs Ridgway said she felt she would be covered for the costs of hotels and taxis, when asked to keep hold of receipts.
But because of Mr Ridgway’s previous heart attack, the couple were not covered for any heart-related incidents he might have – a mistake Mrs Ridgway is warning other holidaymakers not to make.
She added: “I knew we would have to pay for the treatment on the boat, but I did not realise if my husband was poorly they (Nationwide) would take it off me.
“I have lost all that money and lost a holiday.
“Young people are quite clued up about this sort of thing and these mistakes do not tend to happen.
“What I want to say to people reading this is for goodness sake make sure you read the small print.
“Now I can’t get the money back.”
A spokeswoman for Nationwide, which offers travel insurance as part of a deal to people with accounts, said: “It’s important to be aware that pre-existing medical conditions are not covered unless they are disclosed to your insurer.
“Your insurer will provide a definition of what constitutes a pre-existing condition.
“If you want to cover any pre-existing medical conditions you’ll need to contact your insurer to see if cover can be extended – for some conditions, there may be an extra cost and sometimes, the insurer might not be able to extend your cover.”
Following Mr Ridgway’s treatment, the couple flew home to the UK.
Mrs Ridgway added: “I just could not take it anymore. We were supposed to be on a dream trip for two weeks but it ended up turning into a disaster.”