Over 4 million of us travelling to Europe without travel cover

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With the peak holiday season upon us it is an alarming fact that over 4 million of us will be travelling this year to Europe without travel insurance. Some of the reasons given are at best ill-thought through (for example it is seen by some as being too expensive) and at worst plain foolish (for instance those who think that because they are pretty healthy they don’t need insurance).

However, there is one big misapprehension and that is that you do not need travel insurance if you have an EHIC (the European Health Insurance Card which is available free of charge). Indeed almost one in five of those who are uninsured cite this as the reason with this figure rising to almost one in four in the case of the over 65 year olds.

Although the EHIC entitles holders to the same care that would be given to a citizen of the country you are visiting, there is no guarantee that this will include everything you may need. For instance, you may be required to pay for an ambulance transfer to hospital or even to see a GP, and you would certainly not be covered for things like being flown home by specialist air ambulance, mountain rescue or even extra nights’ accommodation should you be too unwell to travel.

Travel insurers will also give you the peace of mind of knowing that there will always be someone on the end of the phone to help with interpreting; whilst your schoolboy French may be fine for ordering a meal, not many of us (especially at times of stress) would be able to communicate our symptoms to a foreign doctor.

Don’t forget that health issues aside, travel insurance also covers other things such as loss or theft of belongings.


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