Medical costs - European Union

If you're visiting a country of the European Union and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC - freely available from the NHS), you'll be entitled to emergency cover on the same basis as the citizens of the country you're in. Try to remember, though, that won't cover things like medical repatriation, should you need it, or the costs of your family members being forced to stay on longer than planned. You'll need medical cover to help cope with those and other similar related costs.
Let's have a look at the issues involved.

Medical costs - European Union

If you're visiting a country of the European Union and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC - freely available from the NHS), you'll be entitled to emergency cover on the same basis as the citizens of the country you're in. Try to remember, though, that won't cover things like medical repatriation, should you need it, or the costs of your family members being forced to stay on longer than planned. You'll need medical cover to help cope with those and other similar related costs.

Medical costs - Outside of European Union

In countries outside of the EU, such cover might be even more essential. For example, in some parts of the world, if you're ill and need medical attention, unless you can prove your ability to pay through cash or an appropriate policy the medical consequences might be truly horrific.

Non-medical costs

When you're on holiday, it's a sad fact that you're also at additional risk in certain areas.
If you don't know, you should be aware that, whether in the UK or overseas, there are specialist thieves and criminals that target holidaymakers. Luggage or personal possessions can be stolen and you'll need to live with the cost of replacing them unless you have some form of travel insurance. For family groups this is even more important.

Then there is simple misfortune. What would happen if you'd paid for your tickets and accommodation but then were forced to cancel at the last moment, due to personal illness or that of a close family member? What would happen if your airline or holiday company collapsed? Would you have the finances to cope with needing to replace your luggage if it had been lost en-route?

It's tempting to sometimes think that such situations would be dealt with by 'someone else', but would they? As an illustration, if you've booked a hotel privately and find upon arrival you're double-booked or that it has closed down, you may find it very hard to progress a claim against them.