Travel Insurance for European Getaways

Why is travel insurance important?

Forking out for your two-week getaway to the sun is probably one of your biggest annual expenses and you've likely saved hard for it. If you or a member of your family were to become ill or suffer an accident while on holiday, emergency medical treatment can be a very costly and unexpected expense.

Travelling uninsured puts you at risk of paying substantial medical bills if you require treatment abroad, and in some cases, hospitals may refuse to treat you without insurance or sufficient funds to cover the medical costs.

Travel insurance is usually a low-cost way of providing peace of mind for you and your family and could prove to be a godsend should anything happen while you're sunning it up in Lanzarote.

As well as covering medical expenses, a good travel insurance policy should also cover lost luggage and belongings, holiday cancellation and delays, personal liability and curtailment (cutting your holiday short).

Do I need travel insurance for Europe?

With Brexit negotiations in full swing, you may be confused about whether you need travel insurance for trips to Europe. The simple answer is yes, you do.

Even when travelling within Europe, travel insurance is a must. It's a common misconception amongst travellers that a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will provide all the cover you need during your trip, but this simply isn't true. While the EHIC is a good addition to your travel documentation, it is not an alternative to travel insurance.

A European Health Insurance Card only provides access to state medical care in the European Economic Area and does not cover other costs such as repatriation to the UK or additional accommodation costs should you be unable to return home.

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Will my EHIC still be useful after Brexit?

You should also remember that the level of free public healthcare can vary between countries, so you may not have access to the same specialist treatment that you would at home. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends having both an EHIC and separate travel insurance when visiting any European country.

It is still uncertain whether the EHIC will remain valid for UK citizens once Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019. But until then, British travellers can still use their EHIC to gain access to state-provided healthcare in member countries.

So, we've established that purchasing travel insurance for your European trip may be a very wise move, but as all European countries have their own healthcare systems and costs for medical care, they also come with their own set of considerations when it comes to travel insurance.

Do I need travel insurance for France?

A popular holiday destination for Brits, France plays host to around 17 million British holidaymakers every year. While most visits to go without a hitch, the most common problem reported is pick-pocketing, so it may be wise to check whether your travel insurance policy covers you for stolen possessions and what value limit they set on this.

Bear in mind, if you are visiting France with the intention of travelling to The Alps for a spot of skiing or snowboarding, make sure your insurance covers you for this and any other activity you wish to take part in. It may also be wise to ensure your policy covers you for extra medical costs, repatriation back home and possible transfer to neighbouring Switzerland for treatment.

Do I need travel insurance for Spain?

While Spain may seem close to home, don't make the mistake of travelling there uninsured. As with all European countries, you should get your free EHIC before leaving the UK but do not think of it as an alternative to travel insurance. The EHIC will give you access to public medical care on the same basis as a Spanish citizen, but it's worth bearing in mind that some medical costs are not covered by the EHIC - so it is possible that you will have to pay some money towards any medical treatments you require.

Also, some European policies do not cover Spain or may charge you extra for cover in this country due to the high cost of medical treatment often seen in this popular holiday destination, so always check before you travel.

Is Turkey part of Europe for travel insurance?

If you are planning to travel to Turkey, make sure it is included within the countries covered in your travel insurance policy. While some providers consider Turkey to be part of Europe, other travel insurers class it as a 'worldwide' destination - so it's vital that you check.

Unfortunately, your EHIC is not valid in Turkey, so be sure to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover any medical expenses you may incur. You'll also need a visa to enter Turkey but may be refused one if your passport isn't valid for at least another six months after your planned visit.

Is Iceland in Europe for travel insurance?

While Iceland is not a member of the European Union, it is classed as part of Europe for the purposes of taking out a travel insurance policy. Iceland is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), so this brings a few benefits for British holidaymakers. Firstly, you have access to state-provided healthcare with your EHIC card, although again, this is no substitute for a travel insurance policy. Secondly, you can drive in Iceland using your UK driving licence.

It's worth noting that Iceland experiences extremes in weather conditions, so it's easy to have your travel plans disrupted by storms. And with 30 active volcanoes, volcanic ash clouds could leave you stranded or unable to travel to Iceland. So, it's highly recommended you purchase a travel insurance policy that covers volcanic ash disruption.

Please note: Iceland is a popular stop off point on Scandinavian cruise holidays, so if you are planning to visit Iceland on a cruise ship, you will need special cruise cover for this.

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Do I need travel insurance for Ireland?

Known for its rugged landscape, traditional pubs and vibrant music, Ireland is a popular destination for Brits seeking a short trip away. With the emerald isle being so close to the UK, you may think you can forgo travel insurance when planning a trip there. But whether you're visiting Northern Ireland or the Republic, travel insurance may be a very wise purchase.

Northern Ireland

When it comes to travel insurance, Northern Ireland is typically covered under UK jurisdiction, and as such, British visitors are usually covered for any accidents or injuries by the NHS. However, travel insurance may still be beneficial for your trip as it can cover flight (or ferry) delays, cancellation, lost luggage and transfers to a hospital back home, if needed.

The Republic of Ireland

As the Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom, there is no NHS to rely upon should you fall ill or suffer an accident during your trip. In the Republic of Ireland, your EHIC card entitles you to the same state healthcare as Irish nationals, but again, there are exclusions to this cover such as repatriation and private care, so travel insurance is a must. As Ireland is a popular destination for stag and hen dos, you should be aware that if you fall ill or suffer an accident due to too many pints of Guinness, your travel insurance is unlikely to pay out for your medical treatment.

How can I compare travel insurance policies?

We're sure your European jaunt will go without a hitch, but sometimes the unexpected does happen. Purchasing travel insurance means you can relax and enjoy your well-earned break without the fear of a potential hefty hospital bill or lost luggage putting a dampener on your holiday.

At Compare Cover, we've made finding and comparing travel insurance quick and easy. Our online quote form is simple to use, and our travel insurance guides are full of helpful facts and information to answer any questions you may have about purchasing the right travel insurance policy for your trip.

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