If an injury or illness occurs while you’re travelling overseas, you’ll want to be sure that you can receive prompt, safe and efficient medical care in a registered and approved state-run clinic or hospital. Many UK citizens are approved to receive healthcare in partnering nations, such as European Economic Area and European Union members, with costs reduced or waived for eligible patients. In order to prove your status and claim healthcare services, you’ll need to have a valid European Health Insurance Card as well as a comprehensive travel insurance policy – otherwise you might be liable for charges or unable to receive the treatment you need.
When to renew my EHIC
Renewal of an EHIC is a simple and straightforward process that can be done in one of three ways: by post, by telephone or over the internet. An EHIC is valid for five years at a time, and this applies to both adults and children. Whether your own card needs renewing or you’re applying on someone else’s behalf, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got the right information to hand to enable your application to be processed.
Your card may also need to be replaced if your personal details have changed. If you’ve moved house or if you’ve married and changed your name, you’ll need a new card with these up-to-date details on. Cards replaced before the five years is up or because of a change of details are still valid for five years – the remaining time on your card can’t be transferred to the new one. If your details are the same, online is the fastest and easiest way to apply.
What you will need to renew your EHIC
The details required for an EHIC are the full name and birth date of each applicant, plus their address and National Insurance or National Health Service number. These need to be submitted via the online form or a postal application. Once sent, your new card will be processed and sent out to you – usually within five working days.
If you qualify for a card but are not a British citizen, you need to follow a slightly different process for EHIC renewal as your visa will need to be shown. You can contact the Home Office who can discuss how to get your insurance card.
Why you need an EHIC if you’re travelling to Europe
European Health Insurance Card renewal is an important task and shouldn’t be forgotten about. Some insurance policies require you to have a health insurance card when visiting relevant European countries, and your policy may even be invalidated by a lapsed card. Your card alone is not health insurance, and you must make sure to choose and arrange travel and health insurance before you leave the UK. The EHIC is your proof of eligibility for healthcare, and will also validate your case if you later need to claim a refund for emergency medical care that left you out of pocket.