Am I Covered for European Travel Without Insurance?
For EU citizens, travelling in other European countries is relatively straightforward and fun. But there's some confusion over whether you need travel insurance for Europe, and an alarming number of people currently travel without insurance. Here's a quick guide about the basics of travelling in Europe without insurance and the help you're able to receive.
Obtain the European Health Insurance Card
Travelling without insurance in Europe doesn’t mean you wouldn’t receive any help without paying a high price yourself. If you're a UK resident, you're able to obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will provide you access to state-provided healthcare either free or at a reduced rate, when you're travelling to another EU country, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The card doesn’t cost you anything, but you do need to have it with you on your travels. The easiest way to obtain it is through the official website. You have to renew the card every five years.
What Does the Card Cover?
If you travel to Europe and fall ill, you're able to receive state-provided treatment. The card doesn’t allow you to go abroad to receive specific care, but you can get help with an existing chronic condition even during your holiday. For example, if you need dialysis during your holiday, you can get this organised with an EHIC.
It's important to note that you might not be able to receive the treatment for free, just at a reduced price. If a country expects its citizens to pay a certain fee for a treatment, then you need to pay this same fee as well, even if it's normally covered for free back home by the NHS. The NHS provides a list of treatments you can expect to receive in each member state. It's a good idea to check this before you travel.
Do You Need Extra European Travel Insurance?
As you're able to receive a wide range of treatments with EHIC, many people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need additional European travel insurance. Unfortunately, the truth is that even if you travel within Europe, getting sick can end up costing you a lot of money.
As mentioned above, the EHIC only covers medical costs for conditions and treatments that are covered by the country’s own state healthcare system. Something as seemingly innocuous as an ambulance ride could end up costing you a lot of money! If you fall very ill, you might find fewer treatment options available for you and might have to pay for the right treatment.
Remember the EHIC only covers costs related to medical problems.
Getting sick isn’t the only thing you need to consider when purchasing insurance. If you lose your luggage you need travel insurance to cover it. Therefore, you should always get travel insurance that covers accidental damage or the loss of your equipment.
Find the Right Insurance Deal
If you want to have a stress-free holiday in Europe then you should definitely obtain an EHIC as well as additional adequate travel insurance for Europe. The good news is that you can find cheap travel insurance and your extra cover won’t end up creating a big dent in your finances.
If you're a frequent traveller, you might even want to consider things like continuous travel insurance. This way you don’t have to remember to purchase travel insurance each time you go on a holiday, but can just pack your EHIC together with a copy of your insurance policy in your bag and enjoy your trip!