Holiday bargain hunters urged to check travel insurance
29 January 2009 07:00
Holidaymakers have been urged to check that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and annual travel insurance is all up-to-date before setting off abroad, to avoid them having to pay for medical costs that could be covered.
According to the Department of Health, some 50 per cent of Brits are unaware that the EHIC has an expiration date. It suggested that this is becoming a more pressing concern as Brits cut back on vital preparations such as taking out holiday insurance.
The government department also warned travellers that the EHIC only extends to countries in the European Economic Area and Switzerland, adding that it is not a replacement for travel insurance.
"Everyone travelling to Europe should ensure they've got an EHIC. It's a no-brainer. It's totally free, and entitles you to the same treatment in any EU or Swiss hospital as a local would get," said Martin Lewis, of Moneysavingexpert.com.
"Though don't see it as an alternative to travel insurance, as it doesn't provide baggage cover, cancellation cover, and you may need to pay some costs, but it's a strong addition to it."
Earlier this month, it was warned that gap year travel insurance will not cover backpackers refused entry into the US because of a failed visa waiver application.