What is an EHIC?
An EHIC is the European Health Insurance Card. It allows travellers access to free or discounted care in state-run hospitals or doctors’ surgeries in any EU country, plus a handful of others. It’s valid for five years and everyone can get their own, including children. Just add them to your application.
As of 23rd Match 2020, the UK Government announced a series of restrictions to travel, public spaces and gatherings. For a minimum of three weeks, people are being instructed to stay at home whenever possible. For this reason, travel insurance policies purchased from this date, for trips within the UK with a start date before 13th April 2020, will not be valid.
The UK Government also instructed all British tourists and travellers, that are currently abroad, to return to the UK as soon as possible.
As of 17th March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all non-essential travel abroad for an initial period of 30 days. This means that any travel insurance purchased from this date, for trips outside of the UK with a start date before 16th April 2020, will not be covered by the provider.
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020, so this may also affect your policy, particularly those taken out on or after that date. Please check any existing policies carefully, to find out what you’re covered for.
For more information please see our travel insurance and coronavirus pages.
Frequently asked questions
How does an EHIC compare to travel insurance?
Travel insurance is much more comprehensive than an EHIC. Although the EHIC gives you great protection when it comes to state run healthcare, that's all it covers. It doesn’t replace your travel insurance. In fact, some insurance providers now insist that you have an EHIC and many will waive your excess if you have one.
How do I get an EHIC?
There is no cost involved in applying for an EHIC, just fill in the online EHIC form or call the automated EHIC application service on 0300 330 1350.
What will happen to the EHIC after the Brexit transition period?
UK residents can use their EHIC after the 31 January during the transition phase of the UK leaving the EU. This means that the EHIC can continued to be used in the same way until the 31 December 2020. What happens to the status of the EHIC after the transition phase will be decided as part of the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.
Can I use an EHIC for any type of holiday?
Not quite. You can’t use it on cruises, for example. We recommend you check with your travel agent or holiday provider if you’re unsure.
Can I use an EHIC if I am pregnant, or have a pre-existing condition?
Yes. If you carry an EHIC, you can receive treatment no matter what the condition or how long you've been suffering from it. It also covers routine maternity care. Just be aware – it will not cover you if you are going to the EU purely to be treated for the pre-existing illness.
How long does an EHIC last?
An EHIC expires after five years, so check the expiration date on all the cards in your household. When on holiday, keep the cards with you at all times – anything could happen, and you never know when you might require medical care abroad.