Don’t Forget About Claiming Your Free EHIC Card!

Free health insurance is always a good thing, especially when you’re traveling. If you are a UK resident, you can get your free European Health Insurance card. This will give you the power to get free or discounted medical treatment at all state-run hospitals and even general practitioners in any EU country, along with Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. It’s free and valid for free years.

You basically get treated the same way as a citizen of the country. This means that if you get free medical treatment as a resident, you would get free treatment as a tourist as well with the card.

Even if you already have travel insurance, this is just an extra level of protection — why wouldn’t you want to pursue it when it’s free to apply for and get the card? All you need is residency, which isn’t a problem at all if you’re already a resident.

Before you take off, you want to make sure that if you do have an EHIC card, that you really do take the time to make sure that it’s not already expired. It’s valid for five years, but a lot can happen in five years. You might forget all about the card expiring, and then you won’t be covered by the benefits. You can renew it if it’s set to expire, so don’t feel that you have to go without basic protections.

Keep in mind that one card will not cover the whole family. You must make sure that every family member has a card. You need to just include your kids as dependents when you apply, and they’ll receive their own cards.

This is very important, because if you find yourself in a situation where you really do need to use that card, you will need to make absolutely sure that you have it on your person. If you have left it at the hotel, you will not be covered.

You also might have to pay first and then get reimbursed. It really just depends on where you are traveling to.

Travel insurance is still going to be critical, because you are going to have cancellation, delay, repatriation, baggage loss and theft covered under the right policy. The EHIC is just purely medical stuff, which means that you could be left woefully underprotected if you’re just relying on that. No matter how long you plan to be gone or how short your trip is, you still need to get good travel insurance. It’s really not as much as you might expect it to be, and you never know when you might need it!

As far as your EHIC card goes, you want to make sure that you apply for or renew as soon as possible. There are many renewals and applications going on, so you don’t want to get delayed before your next big holiday!