EHIC not a substitute for travel insurance

08 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Some Brits travelling abroad this summer could be putting themselves at risk by presuming that the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is a substitute for taking out a separate health insurance policy.

According to research from American Express, 2.3 million Britons have travelled in the EU during the last year without travel insurance because they believed that they EHIC provided adequate cover, but this is not always the case.

With a lot of British families staying within Europe this summer to keep the cost of the holiday down, American Express urges them not to confuse the EHIC with travel insurance.

While the EHIC provides free or reduced health care in countries within the EU, it does not cover all eventualities, such as having to return home if there is an emergency or repatriation back to the UK.

Because the card is free and valid for five years, a lot of people don't bother to buy separate travel insurance, which can also cover lost luggage, delays and cancellations whereas the EHIC does not, and they could consequentially find themselves up the creek without a paddle.

"With so many Brits planning a summer holiday in Europe this month, travellers should be careful not to rely on European Health Insurance Cards." said Chris Rolland, head of American Express Insurance Services commented.

"They are not a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance so you will not be covered for delays, loss of baggage or cancellations or experience other benefits of having an independent travel insurance policy.

"EHIC cards are solely for emergency medical treatment in Europe and people must make sure that they have independent, quality travel insurance to ensure that they have comprehensive cover to avoid any unwanted financial difficulties."

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