Participants are advised to acquire appropriate health and travel insurance for the whole duration of the trip. Basic health insurance coverage is usually provided by the participant’s national health insurance during his/her stay in another European Union country through the European Insurance Card. However, the coverage of the European Health Insurance Card or private health insurance may not include all possible cases, especially if repatriation or specific medical intervention is needed. In those cases, a complementary private insurance is advisable.

More information about insurance can be found on the right.

European Health Insurance

What is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.

Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider.

More information can be found on the European Commission’s website.

What does the European Health Insurance Card not cover?

It is important to know that the European Health Insurance Card:

  • is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,
  • does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,
  • does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is accepted only by doctors or hospitals affiliated to the statutory health care system – private health care is not covered. If you use private health care, you may be able to claim reimbursement when you get home – but you should check your rights first, as reimbursement rules can vary.

How do I use the European Health Insurance Card?

On the European Commission’s website you can find detailed information on how to use your EHIC card in each of the countries. Click here and select the country you’re visiting to view the related content.

How do I get the European Health Insurance Card?

You obtain a card by contacting the health insurance institution where you are insured and which is therefore responsible for assuming your healthcare costs.

Contact your local health authority to obtain the card.

Travel Insurance

Is taking out a private travel insurance mandatory?

It is not mandatory, however recommended. If you use an EHIC to get medical care, some insurers won’t ask you to pay the excess on your medical claims. The EHIC might not be enough on its own though. You are recommended to still get travel insurance that includes medical and repatriation cover.

Travel insurance often also cover theft, loss and failure of a travel company.

There are a wide variety of policies, and some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’, which can include scuba diving, motorcycling, winter sports, adventure sports or even hiking. So check the small print!

Where can I find private travel insurance information and companies?

If you own a credit card, a repatriation insurance as well as other insurance services may be included in your fees. For more information, contact your bank.

Companies such as World Nomads, True Traveller, Europ Assistance or Chapka Assurances are well known travel insurance companies.