A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a document that allows the named holder access to free or reduced cost medical treatment in many European countries. As a British citizen, you are entitled to apply for an EHIC through your contributions to National Insurance. The scheme is managed by the UK’s National Health Service, and it operates across 30 separate European nations. If you find yourself unwell or injured during a trip to the continent, the EHIC will make it quicker and easier to see a medical professional in a public hospital or clinic.
However, the European Health Insurance scheme should not be confused with personal travel insurance. Travel insurance is taken out by anyone with plans to travel, and covers everything from loss and theft of property to incidents of injury or illness. While EHIC travel insurance is a state-operated and funded scheme that ensures you can access life-saving care in an emergency, private travel insurance is a flexible way to cover a wider range of incidences – and to receive reimbursement for any personal loss and damages.
Any traveller heading to Europe for business or for pleasure should consider taking out private travel insurance, as well as ensuring they have a valid European Health Insurance Card. There are plenty of insurance agents available with comprehensive travel policies, so shop around to find a coverage plan that best suits your needs. Your travel advisor may also be able to help with travel insurance requirements. When it comes to your EHIC, you can turn to us to take care of all the details. Apply for your EHIC online or over the telephone for a fast process that’s simple and straightforward.
To get yourself an EHIC you will need to provide proof of your identity and your status as a British citizen. You will also need proof of a permanent residence, as the card is registered to a name and an address to prevent fraudulent use. These details can be verified through utility bills, local authority correspondence, and personal documentation such as passports and birth certificates. Once the valid information has been checked for errors and omissions, your application will be submitted and you will receive your EHIC in the post.
Make sure you apply for your EHIC in good time. If you leave it too late, it may not be ready by the time you travel – and without it, you may be denied treatment or left with excessive costs. The EHIC scheme gives you access to clinics and hospitals across 30 European nations, at greatly reduced cost or entirely free of charge. If you travel in a group or with family, remember that every member of your party will need a valid EHIC and a comprehensive travel insurance policy. This should ensure that in the event of an emergency abroad, you will always receive the medical care that you need and you will not be left out of pocket as a result.