11 Feb Do you need travel insurance when going to Europe?
We get asked this question a lot. Every traveller is familiar with the horror stories of uninsured tourists going to hospital in the US and getting handed a whopping great bill. But when it comes to whether you need travel insurance when going to Europe, the response can be uncertain.
We doubt there’s anyone that hasn’t heard of the EHIC card, but there’s still a lot of confusion with this. So in this blog post we’re going to explain exactly what it is, what it covers and what it doesn’t.
What is an EHIC card?
The EHIC is a card that all European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss residents are entitled to free of charge. Once you have one, you’re entitled to receive medical treatment in any of these countries, on the same basis that a resident of that country can receive treatment.
Which countries can I use the EHIC card in?
Any country within the European Economic Area and Switzerland. Here’s the full list:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
There are a number of countries within Europe that are commonly presumed to be covered by the EHIC card, but in fact are not. These are the following:
The Channel Islands; including Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican.
What does the EHIC card cover?
The EHIC card gives you access to state provided healthcare in the above countries, for treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return date to the UK.
Do I have to pay for medical treatment when I have an EHIC card?
It depends. The EHIC card only provides access to state-provided healthcare on the same basis as a resident of the country you are in. So there are generally two instances where you may end up having to pay for treatment:
- If you’re in a country where certain state provided medical services charge a fee. Examples include the “co-payment” systems where patients are required to pay a fee to access some medical services. Countries that have this system include Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.
- If you’re in a country where state provided medical services aren’t as comprehensive or as widespread as the NHS. In this instance, your only option may be to receive treatment in a private hospital. This is not covered under the EHIC card.
What doesn’t the EHIC card cover?
It doesn’t cover any costs that may be related to your medical treatment or hospital stay. This includes things like ski resort mountain rescue costs, or the costs of having to repatriate you to the UK. It also doesn’t cover any of the other things that a typical travel insurance policy would cover, for example trip cancellation or lost or stolen baggage and money.
So do I need travel insurance even if I have an EHIC?
Do you want to make sure you can receive treatment throughout Europe without running the risk of having to pay for it? Or do you want to cover other things like baggage and money and trip cancellation? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then the only option is to buy travel insurance.
So if you’re travelling within the EEA, carry your EHIC card with you, but don’t forget to buy travel insurance as well. Get a quote from Coverontrip, with 3 days of European cover from just £2.53 for a 25 year old.