The travel savvy among us will probably be familiar with travel insurance and EHICs but what’s the difference between the two? Well, for starters, the EHIC is free of charge whilst travel insurance does come at a price. The differences are more in depth though and one can’t really be substituted for another. Here, I delve into the ins and outs of each to help you juggle the jargon and know your travel cover before you head abroad.
European Health Insurance Card
As the name of the card suggests, the European Health Insurance Card or EHIC for short, is for use when on holiday in Europe, specifically the EAA. This includes the EU as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The card allows you to get state health care, the same as a resident of the country you are visiting would receive, at a reduced price or occasionally for free. This will cover you whether you require treatment for a pre-existing medical condition, routine maternity care or unexpected illness or accident, and will last until your return home.
That said the card does have limitations. EHIC will not cover costs for many other instances such as an earlier return flight home if you are too unwell to continue your trip, emergency rescue or if you have travelled abroad specifically to give birth or if you have planned medical treatment abroad.
There has always been an on-going debate as to whether or not you really need travel insurance. In my opinion, travel insurance is essential. It can be used on its own, but it is better used in conjunction with an EHIC.
Whilst the EHIC will provide reduced medical costs, (unless it is provided free of charge that is) you will still have to out lay a sum of money to receive medical care. With travel insurance however, any costs will be returned to you in full, minus the excess, or outlaid in advance. Some travel insurance policies now insist that you have an EHIC and will even waive the excess if you have one which is even better.
The additional benefits of travel insurance extend far beyond the realms of EHIC by providing cover for a range of additional potential mishaps during your trip from lost luggage to disrupted flights and more. The exact cover you receive does vary between policies and prices so this will require a little research but it is definitely worth arranging for added peace of mind and complete coverage during your trip.
You can purchase travel insurance here, quickly and easily with the options to choose from a single trip or annual policy, tailored to suit your needs. If you tend to travel abroad more than once a year then an annual policy will likely work out to be much more cost effective for you, whereas if you take just one holiday a year then the single trip will probably be more fitting. When shopping for your policy, do be sure to take note of the amount of medical cover provided and the applicable excess. You can also add specific cover for winter sports as this is a high risk activity where the possibility of injury is largely increased in comparison to say, a beach holiday. For additional protection, remember to purchase your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday so that you are covered should you need to cancel your trip.
For these reasons, you should obtain an EHIC in conjunction with an extensive travel insurance policy if you are going on holiday in Europe. This will allow you to rest easy whilst you are abroad!