Repatriation to the United Kingdom is sometimes mandatory in case of an emergency. Is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covering the costs of repatriation? The EHIC allows you to receive public healthcare when you are travelling in a country of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland as a local resident of the country would benefit from. We recommend you to carry your EHIC for yourself and every single member of your family and to make sure it is up to date before travelling.
The EU Health Card currently lasts five years, and you can renew it up to 6 months before it expires. There is often confusion between the benefits of the EHIC and travel insurance, especially about the coverage in case of a serious accident.
Am I covered by my EHIC if I need medical repatriation?
The EHIC offers peace of mind when you are travelling in Europe and Switzerland. However, it is not a replacement for a private travel insurance policy. We recommend you to have both a European Health card and a valid travel insurance policy.
In fact, the EHIC will not cover the cost of being flown back to the UK from any destination in case of an accident or injury. It can sometimes come as a shock to holidaymakers from the UK but these costs can easily reach tens of thousands of pounds. As the EHIC does not cover these costs, the patient is liable for the costs.
How to get a good Travel Insurance Policy
Travel insurance can offer such coverage. To know more about the benefits of contracting a private travel insurance policy, please refer to our guide here.
We recommend you be especially careful when travelling to ski abroad or when going on a cruise. Indeed, the EHIC does not cover mountain rescue or medical treatments received during a cruise. A travel insurance can cover these and help provide peace of mind. You can have a look at this travel insurance comparison site to find the best offer.
We recommend you to travel with both a valid private travel insurance policy and your EHIC to be sure:
- You can receive basic treatments as a local resident in the country you are visiting;
- Your private travel insurance policy covers you in case a more serious accident happens.
More and more, insurers insist that you have a valid EHIC before agreeing on a policy.