A COUPLE who endured a catalogue of misfortune after booking a trip to Benidorm are advising others to read the small print of their travel insurance.

For Gordon and Audrey Simpson, their attempts to book and enjoy a trip to Benidorm were never plain sailing.

First, a spell of ill health for 78-year-old Mrs Simpson meant they had to cancel an original booking and rearrange their holiday.

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Then, weeks ahead of the trip, their travel agent went bust without warning, leaving the Darlington couple unsure as to whether the holiday would ever happen.

In March, they embarked upon their £1,500 trip to the Spanish resort where, days into their break, Mrs Simpson was rushed to hospital with breathing problems.

She was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital, which was a private facility and therefore not covered by the comprehensive insurance policy they had taken out.

Before she could be transferred to a state hospital, the bills for Mrs Simpson’s care rocketed to more than £3,100 – for just one day’s stay and treatment.

Her 77-year-old husband is now warning other travellers to ensure they read their insurance policies in full.

Mr Simpson said it was only when confronted with the possibility of a hefty hospital bill that he scrutinised the small print of his 30-page policy and discovered it did not cover private hospitals.

He said: “I want to stress to others the importance of making sure your travel insurance covers all types of hospitals. We were given no choice as to what hospital the ambulance took us to, they just took us to the closest one, which I don’t blame them for.

“I was reluctant to pay the bill, but our holiday reps told us we would have to, or there could be consequences for us.

“Another person we spoke to at our hotel had had a similar problem and ended up paying out more than £7,000.

“We had to use our credit card to pay and we’re now fighting with our insurance to try and get back some of the money.

“We thought everything was fine and that our insurance covered us for everything – it was the best package we could get with them.

“This holiday went wrong from the beginning, it’s been the holiday from hell and I wish we’d never booked it.”

Mrs Simpson is now being treated at Darlington Memorial Hospital.