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European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

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European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

An EHIC is a card that entitles you to free or reduced medical costs at state hospitals in European Economic Area countries and Switzerland.

Getting your EHIC

You can apply for an EHIC for free at and they typically last up to five years. If you already have one, check the expiry date six weeks before you travel in case you need to get a new one.

European Health Insurance Card (UK) with sample names, date of birth, identification numbers and card expiry date

The countries where you can use your EHIC

  • 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, Switzerland

Please check with the NHS country-by-country guide for the most up-to-date list of countries.

How to use your EHIC and why it's important

If you use your EHIC abroad, we won't charge you an excess for any costs not covered by the EHIC. If you need medical care while you're away, please go to a public hospital and show them your EHIC to get treatment on the same basis as a resident of the country you're in.

If possible, before seeking treatment you should:

  • call our 24 hour assistance number (+44 1243 621 537 from outside the UK)
  • make it clear to any taxi driver, accommodation receptionist or tour guide that you'd like to go into a public hospital
  • tell the hospital you'd like treatment under the reciprocal health agreement. Don't worry, you'll be able to reclaim any costs not covered by the agreement as long as it's for something that's covered by your travel insurance policy

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance

It won't cover all your medical costs and it won't cover things like:

  • covering your holiday costs if you have to cancel or cut short a trip
  • paying for your return journey if you're delayed because of illness
  • special assistance like a medical escort or an air ambulance
  • someone, such as a relative, to fly out to you or stay with you if medically necessary

Also, your EHIC won't cover your belongings against damage or theft.

Remember, your EHIC only covers you in state hospitals. In a medical emergency, you'll probably be taken to the closest hospital, which may be a private one. Please remember to go to a public facility wherever possible as your travel insurance may not cover you if you're treated in a private one.

Find out more about EHICs

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Policy documents

These documents are for new policies.