Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) helps you to access some kinds of medical assistance if you fall ill or have an accident while travelling in the European Union. The card covers you for certain kinds of treatment in different countries in Europe, and it’s always best to get travel insurance as well when you travel abroad. In fact, some travel insurers insist you have a valid EHIC card in order to get cover from them when in Europe.
But what if my EHIC card is lost or stolen?
If your EHIC card gets lost or stolen while you’re still at home, you can easily do your EHIC card replacement online. The card will take at least a week (and up to 10 days) to arrive at your UK address. If this means that your EHIC replacement won’t arrive before you travel, then it’s sensible to take the Department for Work and Pensions Overseas Healthcare Team (DWP OHT) telephone number away with you. They may be able to offer advice in case you need medical care while overseas. It’s best if you can get your card replaced before you travel, so try to apply in good time to replace it before you go.
To complete a European Health Insurance Card replacement online, you’ll need to have the following information handy: full name, UK address, date of birth and EHIC personal identification number (PIN), if you have access to this. Remember, someone else may have to apply on your behalf should you be in a bad accident, so it’s always wise to exchange essential details with anyone you travel with.
EHIC card replacement while abroad
If you’re unfortunate enough to lose your card while overseas, you can still arrange for EHIC replacement documents in the event that you need treatment. To apply for documentation that acts as a replacement EHIC card, it’s best to call the DWP’s Overseas Healthcare Team during normal office hours. You’ll need to provide your full name, UK address, date of birth and EHIC personal identification number (PIN), if you can remember it.
They can issue something called a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) which will provide the same cover for you as your EHIC card would have done. This can be sent to you overseas either by fax or email. But remember this phone line is only open during regular office hours, so it may not be much help if you are ill over a weekend or overnight. It’s always best to arrange EHIC replacement as soon as you can.
It’s always best to renew a lost or stolen EHIC card before you go abroad, so try to replace it as soon as possible once you know it’s missing. It’s also a good idea to keep your EHIC card up-to-date even if you aren’t planning a trip. Keep it with your passport so you’ll always have it to hand when you plan a trip. Your EHIC card can be very useful in an emergency, so it’s a sensible step to keep it up to date.