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EHIC is not travel insurance Sainsbury's warns 3.5 million Brits

11 November 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
In the last twelve months, 3.5 million Brits have travelled to Europe without travel insurance, mistakenly thinking that an EHIC card will be enough to cover them in an emergency, Sainsbury's Travel Insurance has found.

However, Sainsbury's is warning that an EHIC card is not sufficient, and will only offer access to the state provided medical care of the country visited, it will not cover for private healthcare or any other emergency costs like flights, lost luggage or stolen passports.

And, as the ski season approaches, Sainsbury's travel insurance is urging winter sports fanatics to take out adequate travel insurance that will cover for winter sports, as well as applying for an EHIC card.

Commenting on the mistaken identity of the EHIC card, Sainsbury's Travel Insurance manager, Sam Marrs, said: "Many people wrongly overlook travel insurance because they think their EHIC card will cover them when they are abroad, but it will not cover you for private medical care, nor will it pay for you to be airlifted off a ski slope or repatriated to the UK.

"By not having travel insurance, many people are taking on a great risk when they travel in Europe."

And, according to the research by Sainsbury's, having an EHIC card does not mean free medical treatment. In fact, of those questioned who had claimed on their EHIC card, only 49 per cent did not have to pay anything.

The remaining 51 per cent paid an average of £386 for medical treatment in Europe, a lot more than they would have paid for a single trip travel insurance policy.

You can buy single trip travel insurance for as little as £4 through the travel insurance service.

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