I'm a British citizen going on holiday in a couple of days to an EU country. By not paying attention too closely, I've allowed my EHIC card to expire and won't be able to get a new one in time for my flight.

Will I be protected by just having appropriate travel insurance, and will not having access to a non-expired EHIC prevent me from acquiring appropriate cover?

  • It will depend on the terms of your travel insurance policy. Have you read them?
    – phoog
    Sep 17, 2019 at 16:16
  • @phoog As indicated I haven't bought insurance yet, nor did I know that it would be addressed in the policy. Should I expect to see a clause about it?
    – James
    Sep 17, 2019 at 16:20
  • @James There's fairly likely to be a clause, but it's unlikely to invalidate the entire policy by not having one. The most common one is usually "medical excess is waived if you use an EHIC".
    – origimbo
    Sep 17, 2019 at 16:26
  • Contact the EHIC people, you may get instructions to bring other proof of being insured. And bring your old EHIC card even when expired. (Replacements do not take as long as they tell you but still a few days.) I had to replace my (Dutch) EHIC equivalent one year and only found out two days before travel and was send a paper form to bring.
    – Willeke
    Sep 17, 2019 at 16:52
  • Ah, sorry, I missed the indication that you didn't yet have travel insurance. I don't know anything about UK travel insurance, but I would guess that it's at least possible that they either assume you have EHIC (and therefore don't cover stuff that it does) or charge extra if you don't (to cover stuff that it isn't covering because you don't have it). But I also know little about EHIC, and Willeke's comment raises some good points related to that that are definitely worth looking into.
    – phoog
    Sep 17, 2019 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


I've certainly had travel insurance that required an EHIC when travelling in Europe. On that occasion it must have been fairly prominent. It's a few years since I got mine but I vaguely recall some instructions about what to do if the card doesn't come in time. Seeing full terms without buying the policy isn't always easy.

The benefit of EHIC varies with the destination country. It's most important for emergency treatment and having it to hand was certainly beneficial when I ended up in hospital in Ireland (I didn't end up using my travel insurance for anything despite several days in hospital).

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