Travel insurance and medical cover

When travelling in Europe it is important to know that you will be able to get medical care if you need it and you can get this by having:

  • A still valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC); or
  • a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC; AND
  • travel insurance with medical expenses cover

An EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. It is probably best to have both before you travel.

Each national healthcare system is different, and in some countries or in private hospitals, despite you presenting a valid health insurance card you will be asked to pay for some treatment or care. That is why travel insurance is essential and can be a help to pay the costs of medical care (sometimes costing many thousands of pounds) if you fall ill or have an accident while you are abroad.

Travel insurance cover is wide. It is not just for cancellation. A comprehensive policy might include emergency medical and dental treatment, medical repatriation if you are in a serious condition, the costs for a friend or family member that needs stay with you if you are hospitalised or paying for the missed portion of a trip and travelling home once you are able to do so.  This might be on top of cover for lost or stolen items or documents. It’s as important to have as your passport!

Driving in the EU

There are certain things that have changed that you need to know if you are deciding to drive in your own car, van or motorcycle from the UK to EU countries. This will not affect you if you decide to hire a car in the country you are visiting.

Even though the UK has agreed a trade deal with the EU, at the moment this doesn’t allow us to be part of the Green Card Free Circulation Area, which includes all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries as well as Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland. The rules will be changing shortly, as the EU has agreed to allow British drivers to drive in the EU without Green cards find out more here. 

You will have to ask your insurance provider to send you a Green Card and its best to give at least six weeks’ notice for them to issue it. They may post it, email it or send a link for you to download it but you must print it. The European police and border control authorities are not allowed to accept an electronic copy.  If you tow a caravan or trailer you must have a separate green card for that as well.

Most countries will insist you put a GB sticker on your vehicle – and you might want to check if there are different motor laws in the country you are travelling to or through.

Holiday Homes

If you have a holiday home in the EU and are a UK citizen, you should be able to continue to arrange your insurance through your insurance broker. Otherwise check the situation with your provider.

More information 

For a Euroream view of how EHICS and GHICS work visit the Schengenvisa info  site here. 


Find Insurance Service

Call 0370 950 1790

Our dedicated team of experts can help you find insurance