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Understanding How Your EHIC Card Works in a Holiday Accident

If you are injured in an accident abroad, finding that you’re charged for hospital treatment when you thought you were covered may add insult to injury. Making sure that you understand your EHIC card before you fly could save you a lot of stress if you are injured overseas.

A recent study has revealed that many travellers and holidaymakers don’t quite understand how a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC card) works. According to a poll carried out by Post Office Travel Insurance, half of British travellers believe the EHIC card entitles them to free medical treatment overseas, and 5% wrongly think that they are covered for medical treatment anywhere in the world.

Understanding what an EHIC card is could save you a lot of stress later, should you need to use it.

An EHIC card should be at the top of your list of essentials when preparing for your holiday or travels abroad – as well as travel insurance. An EHIC card is not a replacement for travel insurance. It grants medical care relative to the same received by locals depending where you are in the EU. According to the study, three-in-five holidaymakers and travellers own an EHIC card but 27% do not understand where it can be used or what it does, with 57% of people saying their confusion over how the card works ultimately cost them money.

Other countries in the EU do not have free health care systems, and many Britons used to the free NHS find that healthcare overseas will cost. With the EHIC card, some care will be free or at a reduced cost.

EHIC cards are free to most UK residents and may be used in all 27 European Union countries, including Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, but will not be accepted in Turkey or any other part of the world.

Post Office director of financial services, Nick Kennett, stated, “The EHIC should certainly form part of your travel documentation when holidaying in Europe but you really do need to understand its rules.

“Our research shows that if you rely on an EHIC alone, you could suffer financially at a time when you are likely to feel vulnerable.

“The EHIC is far from being a substitute for travel insurance, which provides benefits for a wide range of issues including holiday cancellation or curtailment, theft, damage to property and private health treatment.”

According to another Post Office report, approximately 4.4 million holidaymakers and travellers suffered injuries abroad that totalled over £1.1 billion. Read more on the importance of taking out travel insurance due to the cost of an accident abroad here.

Fundamentally, a holiday accident claim when injured abroad can compensate you for any losses you’ve received through medical costs – both at home in the UK and whilst overseas. If you’re injured in an accident overseas, you can pursue a compensation claim here in the UK.

This is where it is important that you contact and seek advice from specialist travel litigation solicitors rather than a general PI lawyer. Read here to find out how an expert in travel law could help you.

If you or your holiday party suffer an accident abroad, our No Win, No Fee Solicitors can help you with your claim for compensation.

Call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.

From outside the UK please call +44 20 7657 1555.

What has your experience been with using your EHIC card on holiday? Tell us in the comments below.

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