Travel insurance misunderstandings for Euro holidaymakers


Millions of tourists heading off to a place in the sun in Europe are risking travelling with no medical insurance.

A third of holidaymakers wrongly believe they have medical cover in Europe when they don’t – and could easily remedy the problem with the right free documentation.

One in three Brits offer an E111 to cover the costs of medical treatment in another European countries – but they are unaware the cover was withdrawn in 2006 and replaced by a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Others offer their passport as proof they do not need to pay (4%) and some even believe their NHS card is enough to cover treatment (3%).

Anyone travelling this summer should check they have an up-to-date EHIC – they expire every five years. The card is free and available online.

An EHIC entitles a UK citizen to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the country you are visiting. Broadly speaking, whatever they have to pay, a UK holidaymaker has to pay, too, although some costs may be reimbursed back in the UK.

Patients cannot go overseas to seek medical care, but pregnancy, renal dialysis and managing pre-existing or chronic conditions that arise while abroad are all covered.

An EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance, but many insurers will not pay out for claims that would otherwise be covered by the card.

When shopping for travel insurance, the minimum cover is considered as:

  • £2 million medical expenses cover
  • £1 million personal liability
  • £3,000 cancellation – or enough to cover the cost of  the holiday if less
  • £1,500  for lost baggage
  • £250 for lost or stolen cash
  • A policy excess of £100 or less
  • Cover for delays

Check the excess – this is the amount of any claim paid by the traveller. If the policy is a joint policy , including with children, the excess may be per person rather than per claim.

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