Boris Johnson has just been elected Leader of the Conservative Party and has now become the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He replaces Theresa May, who had been Prime Minister for 3 years before him. She was unable to deliver Brexit as she ruled out no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson’s approach is much more direct. Indeed, he is ready to go ahead and crash out of the European Union without any deal. But what does this radical change mean for British holidaymakers?
Why Brexit matters for holidaymakers
Brexit is due to take place on 31 October 2019. However, newly elected President of the European Commission Ursula Van der Leyen has granted a longer extension if needed. New UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims he will not need this longer extension as he has taken a harder approach to Brexit. Indeed, he is not ruling out no-deal, unlike his predecessor Theresa May. There are many uncertainties about how Brexit could affect the holidays of British travellers, such as EHIC, passports, visas, private travel insurance… Let’s check what cover you really need before travelling.
European Health Insurance Card and Brexit
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) offers medical protection for citizens of the European Union and other countries such as Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand. The UK leaving the EU threatens the validity of the card. For now, the card will stay valid until the official leaving date (31 October 2019), and probably during the transition period. The transition should last 2 years if there is a deal signed between the UK and the EU. However, if there is no deal, there will be no transition period. Therefore, the card may not be valid after Brexit. We will keep updating this article when there are new announcements about EHIC and Brexit.
The UK has announced it will work on reciprocal deals and agreements with the countries of the EU. This way the same level of cover the EHIC provides until now will be guaranteed in the future. However, nothing has been signed yet and no deal is in place. To be sure you are fully covered, make sure you do not buy a private travel insurance policy insisting on you having a valid EHIC for emergency medical treatment. Indeed, if the UK leaves the EU without any arrangement in place, you could be liable to pay hefty bills if you have received medical assistance abroad.
In conclusion, we do not know precisely what will happen with the card. Even if it becomes obsolete due to Brexit, you will at least be covered during the 2019 holiday season. If a deal is signed, your EHIC will stay valid during the 2-year transition period. Before the end of the transition period, the UK should have signed agreements with each country individually.
Private travel insurance and Brexit
Your private travel insurance could be irrelevant in case there is a no-deal Brexit. Indeed, policies usually give you a list of reasons and causes that allow you to claim your money back, and it is unlikely that Brexit is one of them. You should look for a policy that will cover you for that and will offer you cancellation and delayed travel cover for anything. Look for words and phrases such as “events you could not have been expected to foresee or avoid’ or anything ‘beyond your reasonable control.” Especially if you are travelling around 31 October 2019. And of course, make sure that your travel insurance policy covers you for outbound and return journeys.
We are expecting travel chaos on Brexit Day (31 October 2019) There will probably be cancellations and delays and we suggest you simply avoid to travel around the date. There will certainly be disruptions on flight and Eurostar trains for at least 1 day.
As far as we are concerned, Brexit will happen on 31 October 2019. There are still a lot of uncertainties about the impact it may have on British holidaymakers. Therefore we will keep updating this article each time we receive new information. Please comment below if you have any question about EHIC and Brexit. You can also reach us via phone or email.