Travel Insurance. European Health Insurance Card Replaces The E111.

You may not have heard of the E111, but it is a form that you get from the post office that means if you’re taken ill in Europe, you can access their medical care facilities without any trouble. It doesn’t matter if you never got around to it as now it’s been replaced with the new European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It will fit in the wallet and generally be a lot more user-friendly than the old paper form.

This EHIC is valid for 3-5 years and much the same as with the E111, it allows you access to the same medical care that basic ‘insured’ people in that country would get. This doesn’t mean that the standard of care that you’ll receive will be the same as in the UK however, and treatments that are free with the NHS may not be free in the country you are visiting. So it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any charge to yourself. That’s why we still recommend getting travel insurance as well as the EHIC card.

It is essential to get the EHIC as it will cut through a lot of the red tape that you can encounter in a foreign country, because it is a recognisable card that is known about in all countries. Having travel insurance alone can make it more complicated especially if you are very ill and unable to communicate.

This is why we still recommend getting travel insurance:

1. Not all European countries have state facilities that are as good as the NHS. With the EHIC card you will receive state medical treatment; you will not be able to access their more advanced, private facilities. With travel insurance, you will be able to get treated straightaway at a private facility. If standard of care is nor your first concern then consider the queues you will have to wait just like everyone else to receive your treatment.

2. Hospitals provided by the state are usually located where people live and work, in highly populated areas that probably aren’t the places where you would choose to go on holiday. These hospitals are also usually hundreds of miles apart. It is quite likely that you will not be anywhere near a state hospital whereas there will be plenty of private medical and dental clinics in tourist areas where they are specifically placed to provide care for the influx of holidaymakers. They will be expensive to use if you do not have travel insurance, but the standard will generally be higher than the state facilities.

3. Getting travel insurance is not just about covering you in case you need medical treatment while abroad, it covers a wide range of issues. If you become seriously ill, most policies will pay for you to be flown home and treated in the UK, also cancelling the holiday, stopping the holiday short, and losing baggage are all extra reasons to buy travel insurance.

We recommend getting the European Health Insurance Card and finding the best comprehensive travel insurance you can. Travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive, and in any case it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that it brings to a holiday.

Look to the internet for the best travel insurance deals a simple search with the term ‘travel insurance’ will pull up a wide range of cheap options. The brokers usually offer the best deals and by filling out a quick online form you’ll be able to compare deals and buy online it should only take about 10 minutes. The problem with looking at specific company sites is that there’s nothing to compare them to, unless you have the time to keep filling out your details again and again for separate company websites.

Follow our advice get them both and enjoy your holiday without worrying about what may go wrong because you’ll be covered!

Find out more

To find out more about the European Health Insurance Card, you can visit You can also ring the Department of Health on 0845 606 2030. The card itself is available free from the Post Office.

You will be able to use the card in the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Cyprus (but not Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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