Travel insurance & European Health Insurance Cards
Guidance and advice for holidaymakers travelling abroad
When travelling abroad for your annual summer holiday or even just a short getaway, things don’t always run as smoothly as planned. This guide should assist in helping you to understand the types of cover available to assist with medical fees and reduce the risks of high medical fees if have an accident or suffer illness on holiday.
Insurance considerations when taking a holiday abroad
On occasion, holidaymakers can suffer holiday illness or be involved in an unfortunate overseas accident, which can have devastating consequences.
In such circumstances, the last thing you want to hear is that you may be charged for your medical treatment.
The reality is that most countries around the world do charge for medical treatment. Most don’t have the benefit of an NHS system like we’re used to in the UK, meaning medical expenses can be extremely costly.
We would therefore recommend that you get the correct level of cover prior to your holiday.
EHIC – European Health Insurance Card
Prior to travelling abroad, we would highly recommend that you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The process of applying for this card is simple and applications can be completed online or over the telephone. It doesn’t cost anything, but may well save you a lot of expense if you are involved in an accident or suffer illness on holiday and require emergency medical treatment.
The EHIC will allow you to receive state healthcare at a reduced cost or even on occasions for free. It generally covers medical treatment, which will allow you to continue with your planned holiday until you are due to return home.
The EHIC is accepted in any of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries including Switzerland. More information on specific countries can be found in the EHIC website.
If you are involved in an accident or suffer illness whilst on holiday in Europe and emergency assistance is required, then in the first instance you may wish to dial 112. This is a European emergency number and is valid in all EU/ EEA member states.
This number should connect you to the emergency services such as an ambulance or the police and can be used from any telephone or mobile phone free of charge.
Travel Insurance vs EHIC
We must stress that the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It must be used in conjunction with travel insurance, as the EHIC will not cover private medical fees, such as having to be flown back to the UK, mountain rescue in ski resorts or even lost or stolen property.
It is vitally important to hold both a valid EHIC and a travel insurance policy. This will offer you better protection and mean you are less likely to be out of pocket should you be involved in an accident or suffer illness on holiday.
It is important to note that you may not be able to use the EHIC in some parts of the EEA, due to the fact that some areas do not offer state provided healthcare.
Help in the event of an accident or illness on holiday
If you have been affected by injuries because of an accident or illness which has had devastating consequences or affected your day-to-day living, then please feel free to contact us. We will be more than happy to provide you with advice and guidance to help get you back on track.