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I have a European Health Insurance Card – surely I don’t need travel insurance as well?

23/06/2014

Avoid confusion - the best advice on travel insurance and EHIC

One of the most often asked questions by travellers is whether having the European Health Insurance Card means that travel insurance is unnecessary. It is particularly important if you suffer from an existing medical condition that you plan your trips carefully. In this article we remove the confusion!
confused about ehic
Photo: Credit

The short answer is "Yes – you do”

If you are travelling within the EU you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card. The EHIC ensures your right to healthcare in the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland while you are abroad. It can also reduce your costs if you need to claim for medical treatment on your travel insurance by reducing your policy excess.

With an EHIC you will still need to buy travel insurance, as not all medical costs will be covered by the card (e.g. repatriation and private healthcare). It can also reduce your costs should you need to claim for medical treatment on your travel insurance policy by reducing your policy excess. To ensure that you are properly covered by your travel insurance you need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance.

Who can have a EHIC & and how is it used?

  • The EHIC is free to UK residents over 16
  • Residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not eligible to apply
  • If you get sick while you are in the EEA or Switzerland, you'll receive state provided healthcare at a reduced rate - in some cases it might even be free
  • The EHIC cannot be used in regions where there is no state provided healthcare
  • Carry your EHIC with you at all times in case of medical emergencies as proof of your entitlement to healthcare
EHIC Card
The European Health Insurance Card: Information on the back of the card

Other EHIC Conditions:

  • If you are pregnant, you can receive maternity care should you need it whilst away. But you cannot receive care if you are travelling abroad specifically to give birth
  • Nor will the card cover you if you are travelling to a country to receive specific medical treatment
  • Bear in mind that types of healthcare that are free on the NHS in the UK might not be available overseas
  • Each individual must carry their own card, The EHIC is valid for 5 years so remember to renew it before it expires, the EHIC is always free be careful when applying
  • If you are taken to or you present yourself at a private medical establishment they will not recognise the EHIC – it is for state funded healthcare only

Examples where healthcare provision varies from the UK

  • In France everyone has to pay 20% of their health care costs
  • In Greece it is expected that the family will nurse you, even in hospital, nursing care is extra
  • In Belgium you will be charged for calling an ambulance and then charged for each kilometre it carries you

Our advisor’s tip

"Even if travelling within the EU make sure you have proper travel insurance cover. I have seen a case where a family in a motor accident in France faced a bill in excess of £40,000 and had to re-mortgage their house when they returned home to England."
EHIC Letter Text
From the letter that accompanies the delivery of your EHIC.

How to obtain the EHIC

It’s easy to apply or renew your EHIC card, through the Post Office in person, online at the NHS or by calling the NHS dedicated phone line on 0845 606 2030.

This product is provided to Travel Insured by goodtogoinsurance.com who are appointed representatives of Ancile Insurance Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – no.471641 By clicking the box at the foot of this page, you will be taken to our dedicated travel insurance site provided by goodtogoinsurance.com where you will be able to get a travel insurance quotation and view full policy information. The quotation you will obtain is provided on a non advised basis which means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. Contact us if in doubt or if you require advice.

This insurance would meet the demands and needs of someone who wishes to insure their trip away from their home for cancellation costs, medical expenses and other specific risks required for that trip according to their individual circumstances..


If you experience any problems when using the site, contact us on 0845 850 1066.

I have read and understood the above detail

click here to obtain an online quote

This product is provided to Travel Insured by Ancile Insurance Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - no.471641. By clicking the box at the foot of this page, you will be taken to our dedicated travel insurance site provided by Ancile Insurance Group Ltd where you will be able to get a travel insurance quotation and view full policy information. The quotation you will obtain is provided on a non advised basis which means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. Contact us if in doubt or if you require advice.

This insurance would meet the demands and needs of someone who wishes to insure their trip away from their home for cancellation costs, medical expenses and other specific risks required for that trip according to their individual circumstances..

If you experience any problems when using the site, contact us on 0845 850 1066.

I have read and understood the above detail.

click here to obtain an online quote

This product is provided to Travel Insured by Ace European Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – no.202803. By clicking the box at the foot of this page, you will be taken to our dedicated business travel insurance site provided by Ace European Group Ltd where you will be able to get a travel insurance quotation and view full policy information. The quotation you will obtain is provided on a non advised basis which means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. Contact us if in doubt or if you require advice.

This insurance would meet the demands and needs of a business which wishes to insure business trips away from the UK for cancellation costs, medical expenses and other specific risks required for that trip according to their individual circumstances..

If you experience any problems when using the site, contact
us on 0845 850 1066.

I have read and understood the above detail.

click here to obtain an online quote

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Travel Insured is a trading style of Manor Insurance Services Ltd, registered office 93/97 Bohemia Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6RJ Company registration number 4824667.
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 303639

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