Do I need travel insurance for Europe?

12th January 2019by Joanna White

When it comes to travel insurance, many people are reluctant to buy it as they see it as an ‘unnecessary’ purchase; especially if they’ve never had to make a claim on their policy before.

However, while travel insurance isn’t a strict legal requirement in many countries around the world, you do need to have travel insurance for Europe.

In this guide you’ll find everything there is to know about whether you need travel insurance for Europe.

What you need to know – do I need travel insurance for Europe?

There are 50 countries that reside in the European continent and each country has its own rules and regulations when it comes to travel insurance rules, healthcare systems and EHIC policies.

When travelling to Europe, regardless of which country you’re visiting, it’s important to have a travel insurance policy in place that will ensure you’re fully covered in the event of a medical emergency, cancellations and loss and theft of baggage.

EHIC – European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to free or heavily discounted medical treatments when you are travelling in a European country.

You’ll be able to receive the same level of treatment that citizens of that country are entitled to; including medical costs such as treatments, medical assistance and access to GPs.

Your EHIC card is completely free to obtain and is valid for up to five years; meaning that you can travel to any country in Europe and be entitled to the same treatment as its residents.

It’s important to remember however, that not all European countries offer their residents free medical care, so if they must pay for their treatment, then you’ll be required to pay the same rates too.

Travel insurance versus EHIC

Oftentimes, many people think that the European Health Insurance Card is a substitute for travel insurance; it’s incredibly important to remember that it isn’t a substitute but something that should be used alongside your travel insurance.

The EHIC only covers you for medical cover, whereas travel insurance covers you for a vast range of other things. Therefore, an EHIC shouldn’t be used in place of a travel insurance policy; if you want to ensure that you’re covered for every eventuality when travelling to Europe then you must have both.

What the EHIC will cover in Europe

Your EHIC will cover you for any medical treatment that you require when travelling to a country in Europe. Below you can find a list of everything you’ll be covered for when travelling with an EHIC in Europe.

  • Any necessary medical treatment required due to illness or accident
  • Treatment for chronic illness or pre-existing medical condition
  • The supply of renal dialysis, routine medical care and oxygen if required while in Europe
  • Reduced medical costs or free medical treatment, depending on the European country’s rules

What travel insurance will cover in Europe

As you can see, the EHIC will cover you for a whole manner of medical related incidents while you’re on holiday in Europe, but there are still a few things that you won’t be covered for, which is why it’s important for you to take out a travel insurance policy as well.

Here’s what a basic travel insurance policy will cover you for in Europe:

  • Cancellations of trips and excursions
  • Delayed departures
  • Medical costs and expenses
  • Personal liability
  • 24/7 medical assistance helpline
  • Loss or theft of baggage and personal belongings
  • Missed departures
  • Cash (up to a certain amount)
  • Lost documents (such as passport)

Of course, travel insurance is more expensive than simply obtaining an EHIC (which is free) but it does mean that you’re covered for much more than you would be with just your EHIC.

Many people think that if they have a European Health Insurance Card then they don’t need a travel insurance policy when travelling to Europe, however that couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you want to ensure that you’re fully covered in every eventuality when travelling to Europe, then you must have a suitable travel insurance policy.

Conclusion – do I need travel insurance for Europe?

The European Health Insurance Card is an excellent thing to have when you’re travelling to places in Europe, but it’s important to remember to use it in conjunction with your travel insurance policy; not as a substitute.

Ensuring that you have a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy, as well as an EHIC when travelling to Europe, will mean that you can rest-assured that you’ll be covered for every eventuality, including the likes of medical emergencies, cancellations and loss of baggage. M&S Travel Insurance offer a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you and your family for europe and worldwide. You can get a Free quote and immediate cover online.