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Travel insurance and EHIC cards

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

What is an EHIC card?

It's important to carry the European Health Insurance Card (www.ehic.org.uk), which replaced form E111 in January 2006, because it offers free or reduced-price hospital treatment across Europe. Some insurers insist you carry the EHIC, as they can reclaim some of their costs if you use it  The EHIC will cover you for pre-existing medical conditions, which your insurer may have excluded.

Find out more about the European Health Insurance Card...


With an EHIC card, why do I still need travel insurance?

You need both the EHIC and insurance to be fully covered. Fewer than 60 countries have reciprocal healthcare agreements with the UK. If you are travelling to a country within the European Economic Area (EEA), you may be covered under the E111 scheme for emergency treatment. However, cover varies from country to country. In some countries you may be required to pay for the cost of medicines or to pick up the bill for your hospital bed.

The EHIC does not cover:
  • repatriation to the UK
  • bills if you use a private medical clinic
  • private ambulance
  • incidentals such as accommodating a relative in a nearby hotel

......all of which a good insurance policy will cover. Covering the cost of treatment abroad is very expensive, especially in the United States, and buying travel insurance with good quality cover should be a priority. It will also help cover the cost of replacing your belongings if they are stolen, cancellations and delays.