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Why is it even more important now not to rely on your EHIC as travel insurance?

The schools have started breaking up for the summer holidays and everyone is looking forward to jetting off for some much needed sunshine (April to June have been the wettest on record in the UK) but make sure you take out travel insurance with medical cover before you shoot off.

Worryingly 26% of Brits travelling to Europe believe the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) offers the same cover as full medical travel insurance, therefore don’t bother to buy travel insurance. To clarify, the EHIC will only cover you for the treatment a citizen of the country would receive in state run hospitals,so if they are charged for medicine or dressings etc then you will be too. And remember the NHS is completely unique; no other country enjoys the completely free healthcare we do in the UK, so be prepared to make some contribution to your medical costs in Europe. Furthermore the EHIC is only acceptable at state run medical facilities, which can be few and far between especially in remote areas. It is also worth noting that if you ask your hotel or holiday rep to arrange a doctor they generally contact private clinics or doctors who would not accept the EHIC as a form of payment for medical treatment. The other noticeable gap in the EHIC cover is repatriation back to the UK; don’t assume it will be a matter of buying a ticket and jumping on a flight, if you have been hospitalised the airline may insist that a doctor or nurse accompanies you on the flight, which is a cost you would have to pay personally if you didn’t have travel insurance.

The failing economies of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy should also be a concern to those relying on their EHIC for medical travel insurance cover. These countries are struggling to provide health care for their own citizens so tourists are being referred to private clinics for treatment. As said above these clinics do not accept the EHIC for payment so you could end up with a bill for a couple of hundred pounds for something as simple as dressing a wound.

Travel insurance can feel like a waste of money, what could possible go wrong, all you are planning to do is relax on a beach? Well we have files full of people who are glad they bought travel insurance for that relaxing holiday, as without it they would be thousands of pounds out of pocket.

 

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