What should European travel insurance cover?
Emergency medical coverage in the event that you become ill or have an accident is one of the most important features. This isn’t because this is any more likely than it is at home but different countries have different health services and not all are free.
Read the small print carefully to see exactly what is covered. Pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to avoid invalidating your policy in the event of a claim. Once declared, the provider will advise you if they will cover this condition or if there will be an exclusion. If you have a heart condition or terminal illness, in a few cases you may need to provide additional information before you can be offered a policy.
If you’re embarking on an activity based holiday such as skiing make sure you get the relevant add on to ensure you’re covered.
While we’re talking medical coverage, a word or two on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC.) An EHIC gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare across Europe at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free.
It will cover immediate an emergency state-funded treatment until your planned return home to the UK. It also covers the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care. However you will not be covered if you’re taken to a private hospital in the event of an emergency.
Remember though, the EHIC is not an alternative to getting travel insurance. It won’t cover any private medical care, or costs such as mountain rescues or being flown home. It’s also not valid on cruises.
It could be useful to get an EHIC though as many insurers will waive the excess if you have one.