If you are the holder of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will probably be aware of the fact you have the right to medical treatment in the countries that comprise the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as Switzerland.
The important facts
What you might not know, is that your card has a sell by date. European Commission regulations mean that it will expire after five years. What is also worth noting, is that if you plan to renew the card ahead of travelling to different parts of the world, you will need to do this before the ‘six months left’ mark.
You should also know that, unfortunately, the remaining time on the card that you put up for renewal will not be added to the new one.
Lost or had your EHIC stolen?
On rail trips through Europe, weekend breaks on the continent, and even family holidays, it is imperative to keep your EHIC card as secure as you would any important identification such as a passport, a driving licence or a student card. There will be times, however, that you might be in the stressful situation of having lost it. For this reason you should note in advance that any card holder that loses their EHIC must apply for a new one immediately in order to avoid risking losing their rights.
This can be done by our application forwarding service, this will cost you a fee of £29.99 in order to process the new card application on your behalf.
Something important to consider is a name change. If you have married recently, or perhaps got divorced or changed your name for any other reason, you will need to notify the EHIC team in order to avoid any confusion.
If you have been informed that it is best to deal with your EHIC by post or over the phone, this is not correct. The best way to contact them via the main website. Correspondence used to be set up easily via the Post Office, however you should note that this arrangement is no longer in place.
Many travellers only feel safe venturing abroad if they take out a travel insurance policy. This can safeguard against missing luggage, and medical problems while abroad, depending on the policy. Most providers of travel insurance will insist on an EHIC card which is valid and up to date being produced, so before you get your insurance finalised, remember that you must ensure your EHIC card is eligible. It is worth repeating: the lifespan of an EHIC card is five years, but you must renew it before there is only six months left on the card.
Your EHIC may not last as long as a passport, but five years is a considerable amount of time. But as we all know, five years can go by in a flash, so if you are not sure that your EHIC is up to date, check it soon to avoid any holiday dramas.