Easter is here, so if you’re heading off on holiday in the next few days, remember to pack travel insurance.
Many people who go to Europe forgo travel cover because they think the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will provide them with sufficient protection, but this could prove a costly mistake.
An EHIC only entitles the cardholder to the same level of state medical care provided to eligible nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) country they’re in. EEA countries include all 27 members of the European Union (EU) as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. However, it won’t provide help if you need to be repatriated back to the UK and you may well be expected to contribute to any medical costs. It also won’t provide financial protection if there are any other issues on your trip, for example if your trip is cancelled or any of your baggage is lost of stolen.
According to research from comparison site GoCompare Travel, 69% of UK holidaymakers wrongly expect an EHIC to provide entirely free emergency medical treatment in Europe and 7% expect it to pay for an air ambulance to fly them back to the UK.
Worryingly, more than one in four Brits (27%) who had travelled abroad admitted they didn’t always take out travel insurance cover and 6% said they never did. Georgie Frost, Head of Consumer Affairs at GoCompare, commented: “Many British holidaymakers still don’t understand what benefits an EHIC can and can’t provide. There’s no doubt it’s a ‘must have’ for any holiday in Europe, but it’s no substitute for having travel insurance with a good level of medical expenses cover.”
Check your policy before hitting the slopes
If you’re going skiing this Easter, make sure your travel policy includes winter sports cover. Less than one in five (18%) annual policies and only 9% of single trip policies include winter sports cover as standard, according to independent financial information business Defaqto, so if you have insurance, don’t assume you’re automatically covered.
Brian Brown, head of insight at Defaqto, said: “Skiing holidays are growing in popularity thanks to the boom in cheap flights going to the continent. However, winter sports holidays can be much riskier than a standard beach holiday as you are more likely to get a serious injury or damage expensive ski equipment. If you are planning a winter sports break, it’s vital you check your insurance covers you for this just in case the worst happens.”
Remember to check your policy for exclusions too. For example, some policies won’t cover you for off-piste skiing at all, whilst others require you to be with a guide.
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