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EHIC health insurance

If you are travelling to Europe, an EHIC can help you get free or reduced medical treatment. But it won’t cover everything and, according to advice from the Department of Health, it should not be treated as a substitute for travel insurance, such as Churchill Travel Insurance.

Getting yourself a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to free medical care while travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA) – which includes the European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – and in Switzerland.

It replaced the old E111 form last year, which did the same thing, and it is usually valid for three to five years for UK nationals and some UK residents.

While it is essential to get hold of an EHIC if you’re heading to Europe, it will not cover everything and you will still need adequate Travel Insurance.

The card only allows you basic healthcare treatment under the state system, which, depending on the country, may not include all the things you get free under the NHS. In addition, you may have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care.

The EHIC will also not cover you for repatriation back to the UK, treatment of a non-emergency nature, or private care. And, of course, it will not cover lost belongings, stolen items or the cost of unexpected delays or cancellations.

Churchill Travel Insurance, on the other hand, is much more comprehensive, and will cover you for all these things and more.

As well as paying for medical expenses up to £10 million, including ambulance and rescue services to take you to hospital, Churchill Travel Insurance will cover you for emergency dental expenses up to £500 and funeral expenses up to £2,500. We will even provide up to £1,000 hospital benefit: if you are an inpatient in hospital, we’ll pay you £25 for every 24 hours you are in hospital to help cover all those minor expenses such as phone calls, food and taxi fares.

In addition, if you have to return home early or stay abroad longer due to illness, we’ll cover the extra costs for you and one other person. And if you’re going skiing, add winter sports cover to your travel insurance and we can cover all the potential pitfalls of that, too.

What’s more, if you use an EHIC to reduce the cost of your medical treatment in Europe and we successfully recover 75% or more of any amounts we have paid on your behalf, we’ll waive the standard excess of £50 for medical treatment.

The quickest way to get a new EHIC is to apply online, which will ensure delivery of your card within seven days. Calling the EHIC application line on 0300 330 1350 takes up to 10 days, while filling in a pack at the post office and writing off can take 21 days.

So, get yourself an EHIC and get yourself Churchill Travel Insurance too.