Why you still need travel insurance with an EHIC


Taking a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on your European holiday is a good precaution in the face of any medical emergency, but it shouldn’t be seen, or used, as a replacement for European travel insurance.

Tourists who think that carrying an EHIC card covers them for any kind of medical emergency while abroad on a European trip should think again. This is a common misconception about the EHIC; an EHIC card is not a suitable substitute for travel insurance, as on its own it does not always provide adequate cover.

What makes travel insurance so essential is that it usually covers every medical cost, including travel back home, while an EHIC card cannot. This cover, known as repatriation cover in the terms of your insurance deal, is an important medical cost should you miss your originally booked journey home. This might mean a flight scheduled at a different time, or even an air ambulance in some cases.

Don’t make the same mistake as British tourists who, in the past, have become stuck overseas after becoming ill or suffering a severe injury, all because they were under the illusion that an EHIC card would cover their medical expenses for the trip. Nightmare scenarios such as this make it all the more important to secure travel insurance as part of your trip’s preparations, to go alongside your EHIC card.

Other advantages of travel insurance are the cancellation cover it provides for the eventuality of any complications with your journey, as well as cover for the personal possessions that you take abroad.

Does EHIC cover pre-existing medical conditions?

It should be pointed out that this issue is treated the same by both travel insurance and an EHIC – they both give you the right to medical treatment in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, whether or not a condition is pre-existing.

For those seeking out travel insurance along with their EHIC application, it is advised you notify your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions when you are buying the policy, however minor the condition you have may be.

Photo: Travel by Moyan_Brenn licensed under Creative commons 2