EHIC & Travel Insurance for UK Travellers travelling to Europe

EHIC and travel insurance is an important topic for many UK travellers. For UK residents, our favourite travel destination is Europe. Europe is easy to get to by air, train and by road. A large continent, it offers holidays from sandy beaches to snow capped mountains, fascinating cities and amazing mouthwatering cuisines. Travel to Europe is like any other parts of the world, requires travel insurance.

EHIC and Travel Insurance - Norway
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Village by the water, Norway. Photo credit to Pixabay

UK residents travelling to Europe benefit from EHIC – the European Health Insurance Card. EHIC gives them access to free healthcare when visiting European countries. While EHIC is an essential measure to take when travelling to Europe, it is by no means sufficient cover for travel eventualities or a substitute for a Travel Insurance.

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1 | What is EHIC?

An EHIC is the  European Health Insurance Card. It was introduced in 2004 and allows travellers access to free or discounted care in state-run hospitals or doctors’ surgeries in any EU member state countries and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein,. It’s valid for five years and everyone can get their own, including children.

2 | What is covered by EHIC?

The EHIC gives you great protection when it comes to state run healthcare, that’s all it covers. They cover pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care as well as emergency care. Individuals with chronic illnesses, for example those who require dialysis, can travel knowing they will receive treatment on the same terms as the citizens of the country they are visiting.

However, EHIC does not replace your travel insurance. EHIC does not cover delays, cancellation, lost or stolen goods, and repatriation. It does not cover cruises. Therefore, EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), an air ambulance from Majorca, Spain to UK can cost £25,000.

3 | Do you need travel insurance even if you have EHIC?

The short and the only answer is, Yes – Yes you do. The benefits of EHIC exist alongside a travel insurance. Travel insurance is still necessary to cover other travel eventualities.

3.1 | 12 reasons to consider why travel insurance is necessary even when you have an EHIC

  • When your medical condition worsens and you need urgent care;
  • When you need to be helicoptered out of somewhere;
  • When you need to be sent home;
  • When you have to cancel your trip;
  • When you experience delays and cancelled flights;
  • When your passport is stolen or lost and needs to replaced;
  • When you have to stay longer while awaiting your passport to be replaced;
  • When your money is stolen;
  • When your personal belongings are stolen such as your camera, laptop or any other electronics;
  • When your personal belongings are damaged and need to be replaced;
  • When your luggage is delayed or lost;
  • When you undertake sports or high risk activities such as skiing – accidents do and can happen in circumstances beyond your control such as an avalanche or volcanic eruption;

4 | How does UK leaving the EU impact EHIC?

EHIC and Travel Insurance
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With the UK leaving the EU, you may wonder if EHIC is still valid.

EHIC is valid throughout 2020. So, if you are travelling to any of the EU countries for a holiday, you will still be entitled to the benefits of EHIC as it was before UK left the EU.

What happens in 2021 and beyond will be decided in negotiations on the future relationship between the UK an the EU. The UK government has issued guidelines on country by country advice on healthcare when travelling abroad, in the event there is no deal with continuing on with EHIC.

Learn more on the guidelines relating to country by country advice on healthcare for both EU and non EU countries here.

If you are interested in applying for an EHIC, you can do so by completing the online EHIC form or call the automated EHIC application service on 0300 330 1350. There is no cost involved in applying for EHIC.

5 | My final say…

Be smart! Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish – for a few pounds, you get a whole weight off your shoulders should an unfortunate event occurs.


Is this post valuable to you in answering questions you may have on EHIC and travel insurance? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Happy and safe travels!

Georgina

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EHIC and Travel Insurance to Europe
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EHIC & Travel Insurance for UK travellers to Europe
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A useful guide for UK travellers travelling to Europe in 2020. The use of EHIC and it's cover plus 12 reasons why travel insurance is a must in addition to EHIC. via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/
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