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If travelling within Europe, a question you may ask is: ‘Do I need travel insurance if I have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?’

Or if you haven’t previously heard of the scheme or don’t know much about it, the other thing you may be wondering is: ‘What exactly is an EHIC, and what does it entitle me to?’

Basically, an EHIC allows you to access necessary health care in the public system of any EU/EEA member state or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country. If you carry the card, and if the need arises, you can have the same access as citizens of those countries to whatever levels of State-provided free or subsidised healthcare services are available there.

This may make it seem as though you therefore don’t need travel insurance for those countries – but there is much more to consider too, before you make that decision.

EHIC cover varies from country to country

There is a wide variation in the level of State healthcare available in countries covered by the EHIC, and even with EHIC, you may face charges for treatment you receive.

Only a few countries pay the full cost of healthcare for EHIC holders, and you may have to pay for some services that you would expect to obtain for free in Ireland. This can include having to pay for the ambulance that takes you to hospital if you suffer an accident, even if the treatment itself you receive is free. Likewise, there may be a standard charge for visiting the A&E department of a public hospital, just as there is here in Ireland.

EHIC doesn’t cover some things at all

Consider too that there is much that the EHIC doesn’t cover at all. For example, you do not have the option of availing of private medical treatment and later claiming the costs back, as you would with travel insurance. This can be particularly relevant if travelling or staying in rural areas, many miles from the nearest State hospital or medical facility.

Nor does an EHIC cover other expenses you may face in case of an accident, such as sea or mountain rescue, extra accommodation costs or travel costs resulting from your accident or illness, or even an emergency flight home (repatriation) if you need to return as soon as possible.

Private health insurance does not provide full cover either. It will cover you for emergency treatment abroad up to a certain amount (depending on the plan you are on),  but like the EHIC, it does not cover you for repatriation or the costs for additional accommodation or travel expenses.

Travel Insurance brings extra benefits

With a travel insurance policy from Insuremyholiday.ie however, you are covered for up to €10,000,000 in medical care abroad, which surpasses the cover you get on a private health insurance policy or the EHIC. We also cover the following:

  • We will pay the additional travelling and accommodation costs for one person to remain with you if it is medically necessary for you to stay beyond your scheduled return date.
  • If you are travelling alone, we will cover the cost of one person to travel to stay with you if it is medically necessary for you to be accompanied.
  • Reasonable additional accommodation costs necessitated by the medical emergency.
  • Costs of providing emergency dental treatment.
  • Additional travelling costs to repatriate you where recommended.
  • Expenses incurred for the burial or cremation of a deceased insured person abroad or repatriation to Ireland of the deceased insured person’s body or ashes.

Travel Insurance also covers much more

Also remember that a travel insurance policy covers much more than just medical expenses. For example, the single biggest reason for claiming on a travel insurance policy is for having to abandon travel plans before the trip ever begins at all. An EHIC does not provide for that.

Other items covered by travel insurance that are not covered by an EHIC include lost or delayed baggage, flight delay or cancellation, personal money and documents cover, credit card cover, legal expenses cover, and much more.

In fact, a travel insurance policy from Insuremyholiday.ie provides you with all these great benefits:

Gold Plan travel insurance benefits

  • Medical Expenses Cover of €5 Million
  • Personal Luggage Cover of €2,000
  • Personal Money and Documents Cover of €1,600
  • Delayed Departure Cover of €200
  • Cancellation or Curtailment Cover of €4,000
  • Abandonment Cover of €4,000
  • Missed Departure Cover of €500
  • Personal Accident Cover of €55,000
  • Personal Liability Cover of €2,000,000
  • Third Party Supplier Insolvency Cover of €2,000
  • Schedule Airline Failure Cover of €1,000
  • Legal Expenses Cover of €10,000
  • Hijack Cover of €1,000
  • Catastrophe Cover of €750
  • Credit or Cash Card Fraud Cover of €300

Platinum Plan travel insurance benefits

  • Medical Expenses Cover of €10 Million
  • Personal Luggage Cover of €3,000
  • Personal Money and Documents Cover of €2,000
  • Delayed Departure Cover of €400
  • Cancellation or Curtailment Cover of €6,000
  • Abandonment Cover of €6,000
  • Missed Departure Cover of €600
  • Personal Accident Cover of €95,000
  • Personal Liability Cover of €2,000,000
  • Third Party Supplier Insolvency Cover of €2,000
  • Schedule Airline Failure Cover €2,000
  • Legal Expenses Cover €20,000
  • Hijack Cover of €2,000
  • Catastrophe Cover of €1,000
  • Credit or Cash Card Fraud Cover of €500

Ultimately, our advice to you is to carry an EHIC for your travel within Europe – but to take out travel insurance too.

That way, you’ll be fully covered, no matter what happens – and our cheap travel insurance rates mean that you can get that cover for much less than you might think.

Just get a quote now – you could be pleasantly surprised!

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