However, although there are problems being reported, it still makes sense to
ensure that you have an up-to-date card. If you try to use it and it is
refused, you should be able to make a claim for the treatment on your travel
But if you don’t have a card, then some insurers won’t pay for any medical
treatment, as the small print of these policies states all travellers must
have a valid card.
It would be foolish in any circumstances to rely solely on an EHIC card. Aside
from the current problems, this card won’t cover all your medical costs if
you need treatment abroad. For example, it won’t cover a flight home in a
medical emergency, nor will it cover additional accommodation if illness
means you cannot return as planned.
Even with this card you may still have to pay for prescriptions, calling an
ambulance, a GP appointment or other medical treatment. If you have travel
insurance you should be able to reclaim such costs.
In addition, travel insurance should also cover lost baggage, stolen cameras
or cancelled holidays if you fall ill in advance. Most also offer 24-hour
helplines and assistance services, putting you in touch with
English-speaking doctors and helping to rearrange flights and accommodation
for yourself and your family in a real emergency.
Finally, remember that EHIC cards need to be renewed every six years. Apply or
renew at the official website (www.nhs.uk/ehic).
Be warned: there are a number of unofficial websites offering to renew cards
for a fee. Stay clear – there is no need to pay for this service.