Mentioning the word ‘travel’ will make most people think of Europe. Europe has remained the top destination of travellers since decades, but tourism to Europe has seen a tremendous increase in the last few years. This has been made possible by detailed online information about European countries and descriptive online reviews. In addition, many travel companies have identified Europe as a great market and have come up with pocket-friendly European trips.
It is essential to know all the relevant details about insurance before travelling to Europe. The following sections contain the most frequently asked questions regarding EHIC application, EHIC card renewal and its coverage during travel.
- What exactly is the EHIC?
The EHIC is a form of state covered insurance provided to a traveller. This card is accepted in all member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
- What is the fee for obtaining an EHIC?
All residents that are registered in the social security database of Switzerland and any EEA member-state can get this card free of cost. An online application is the most convenient way to apply, but some people hire third-party application assistants to help them with this process. In this case, the assistants charge a fee, according to the services they provide.
- Which European countries are covered under EHIC?
All European countries except Monaco, the Channel Islands, Vatican City, Macedonia, Serbia, San Marino, Montenegro and the Isle of Man, are included in the insurance covered by the EHIC.
- What is the validity of an EHIC?
The EHIC remains valid for a period of five years from its date of issue. It is recommended that the process of EHIC card renewal is started about half a year before its expiration.
- What are the processing times for EHIC?
EHIC applications can be processed as quickly as in seven working days if the information filled on the application form is true and accountable. However, longer processing times can be expected, depending on the application numbers, public holidays, applicant’s history etc. It is to be noted that an EHIC application cannot be expedited by hiring an application assistant.
- Does EHIC cover all types of medical expenses abroad?
No. EHIC will cover only those medical treatments abroad that would normally be covered in the country of residence of the traveller. This means that medical treatments and procedures availed at private hospitals and clinics are not covered. Also, if a medical procedure requires repatriation or air-lifting, the traveller has to bear the cost of these services.
- Whom to contact if the EHIC is lost?
If the EHIC is lost in the country in which it was issued, a new one can be requested. However, if it is lost abroad, and the traveller needs medical care, then the traveller must ask for a provisional number from the issuing authority in the country of residence.
In order to reap the financial benefits of an EHIC, it is advisable that the traveller does not delay EHIC card renewal, and always carries a valid EHIC during his/ her travel anywhere in Europe.