Travelling to Europe soon? Make sure you have your EHIC in place, as well as your European travel insurance. Here, we explain why it’s best to travel with both.
What's an EHIC?
EHIC stands for European Health Insurance Card. It's a small plastic card, like a credit card, that gives you the right to state-provided medical care in countries within the European Economic Area and Switzerland. This includes all the most popular European holiday destinations like France, Spain, Italy and Greece.
EHIC covers you for state treatment and any costs not covered can be claimed against your travel insurance.
Does it replace European travel insurance?
In the UK, we're used to the NHS providing free medical care at the point of need, but in some European countries, the state may charge for medical care. So, if the local residents are required to pay for some GP services for example, so will you.
EHIC covers you for state treatment and any costs not covered can be claimed against your travel insurance. With LV= travel insurance, we waive the excess if the EHIC has been used to reduce the cost of the claim.
In addition to medical cover, LV= travel insurance can also cover you:
- If you need to cancel your holiday
- For repatriation to the UK (if medically necessary)
- If you need to cancel booked excursions
- For lost or stolen baggage, money and passports
- For emergency rescue while taking part in winter sports
Why do I need an EHIC?
Many European travel insurance policies, including LV=, expect you to use public health facilities, not private ones, where possible. To do this, you'll need to ask to be treated at a public facility and show your EHIC when you arrive at the hospital or clinic.
The good news is that when you use your EHIC to get public healthcare in Europe, you won't be expected to pay the excess on your insurance policy.
The EHIC will also cover you for pre-existing medical conditions that won’t necessarily be automatically covered by your European travel insurance. So if you're receiving treatment for a heart condition in the UK, that treatment will be available if you need it when you show your EHIC in Europe. However, you can’t specifically travel to Europe to get treatment using your EHIC.
If you're pregnant and you need treatment for your pregnancy, your EHIC will cover both routine and emergency treatment while you’re in Europe.
Do I have to pay for an EHIC?
How do I get an EHIC?
Do children need one?
How long does it last?
Things to remember about your EHIC
- It's not a substitute for European travel insurance - you need both
- They're free, so don't pay for one
- Children need their own EHIC
- They last for up to five years
- Carry it with you at all times when you're in Europe
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