Holidaymakers risk credit card debt ‘if they forget their EHIC’

Travelling without a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) could result in holidaymakers dealing with hefty credit card debt when they return to the U…

Travelling without a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) could result in holidaymakers dealing with hefty credit card debt when they return to the UK.

According to moneysupermarket.com, more than half of UK travellers are oblivious to the advantages of having the EHIC among their documents when they journey to EU and European Economic Area countries – which entitles the holder to have their medical costs covered or discounted should a worst case scenario rear its head on a holiday.

Furthermore, some adults may not realise the EHIC needs to be renewed every five years and so those who applied for theirs in 2006 may need to act fast if they want to be protected this summer.

A third of Britons incorrectly believe that an E111 will provide medical cover for them, despite these being replaced by the current system in January 2006, while four per cent of consumers think their passport will entitle them to treatment.

Furthermore, three per cent of people seem to think their NHS card will cover any costs incurred if they require a doctor's attention overseas.

Travel insurance expert at moneysupermarket.com Bob Atkinson said travel insurance will provide for excess charges not included in the EHIC's policy and stated: "The cost for many serious accidents, extensive treatment and the need for air ambulance repatriation will not be covered by the EHIC and the costs for this can run into tens of thousands of pounds."

And Britons travelling overseas may find their credit card debt is reduced as a result of a ruling against hidden charges by the Office of Fair Trading last week.

However, uSwitch.com personal finance expert Michael Ossei said consumers must look out as travel companies may try to combat this legislation by charging their customers more.

By Amy White 

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