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Accident on holiday

Confusion over European rules sees fewer insured holidaymakers

Head of International Travel Law Nick Harris

Author:
Dated: 17th September 2015

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has warned that too many UK holidaymakers are travelling without proper insurance.

According to a leading holiday claims lawyer, some travellers "mistakenly believe that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover all their possible needs".

Claims for accident on holiday

"1 in 5 are uninsured when travelling abroad"

ABTA estimates that around 20% of British holidaymakers travel abroad whilst effectively uninsured.

Although this figure is 2% lower than in 2014, ABTA says the number of younger people travelling without cover since has substantially risen, from last year's 22% to 33% this season.

Uncertainty about EHIC

Travel solicitors and ABTA believe the hike in uninsured young people is probably due to confusion about what is covered by the EHIC.

"Adequate holiday insurance cover is absolutely essential," said Nick Harris, Head of International Travel Law with Simpson Millar LLP. "Yet many young holidaymakers remain too reliant on the European Health Insurance Card, wrongly assuming the card will cover every eventuality."

If you are taken sick or you're injured in an accident while you're abroad, the EHIC is only likely to cover the immediate emergency medical care

Nick Harris, Simpson Millar Solicitors

Nick added: "Some 22% of holidaymakers between 16 and 24 think holding an EHIC means they need not take out a regular travel insurance policy."

EHIC "no substitute for regular cover"

Renewable every five years, the EHIC allows the holder to obtain state emergency medical attention in most European countries. However, it cannot replace conventional travel cover.

"If you are taken sick or you're injured in an accident while you're abroad, the EHIC is only likely to cover the immediate emergency medical care," Nick said.

"However, you could still be left with exceptionally high bills for things like air ambulance, longer term accommodation at your resort, private medicine, an unscheduled flight home and many other possible instances.

"It's vitally important to arrange a regular policy with a reputable insurer. Reliance on EHIC alone could lead to serious problems, and could even go against you if you needed to pursue a compensation claim."

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Reputable insurer

It's vitally important to arrange a regular policy with a reputable insurer. Reliance on EHIC alone could lead to serious problems, and could even go against you if you needed to pursue a compensation claim

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