European Health Insurance Card questions answered

Travelling to a different country is always fun and exciting, but if you unexpectedly become ill or need medical attention, the European Health Insurance Card can be useful. 

Also known as the EHIC, the cover is valid in all European Economic Area countries, such as France, Belgium and The Netherlands.

The person whose name is on the card will be able to receive reduced or free medic al care, while on holiday in any of the qualifying countries. 

What’s the point in an EHIC?

The EHIC gives you peace of mind that you can receive medical treatment, if you need it, while on holiday. 

The card covers treatment for pre-existing medical treatments too, so if you forget to bring your prescription with you or you’ve run out, you’ll be able to get what you need without the expensive bill. 

How much does it cost? 

The EHIC is available free of charge to all UK citizens. 

You can apply for a card by filling out an application online, via the NHS official website. However, other websites do offer this medical card but may charge you for processing the application. 

Can my whole family get covered with an EHIC?

All family members can benefit from the EHIC, but will need to have their own card. Provided you are all UK citizens, you’ll be able to receive the medical cover. 

The EHIC is available to people of all ages, but can only apply if you’re over the age of 16.

How long is the cover valid for?

An EHIC is valid for five years and can be renewed within six months of the expiry date. 

Each time you renew your card, you will have to fill out a new application every time to protect your personal details. 

What proof of ID do I need to apply for a card? 

Unlike using your passport to obtain a driver’s licence, the EHIC application only asks you for your National Insurance number. 

If you’re applying on behalf of someone who is under the age of 16, include their name on your application as your dependant. 

Do I need travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?

Although an EHIC card gives you insurance for some medical care, it doesn’t cover you if you cancel your holiday because of an illness and other benefits that travel insurance offers.

The EHIC card does not cover you for private medical health care, getting flown back to the UK in an event of an accident, lost or stolen property and compensation for cancelled flights. 

Before travelling abroad, we recommend applying for an EHIC card and taking out travel insurance. 

Is the EHIC card compulsory?

You don’t have to get an EHIC card, but it’s always a useful thing to have with you in case you do need medical treatment or a prescription.