Many of us are lucky enough to travel throughout our lives, whether you prefer a relaxing beach holiday once a year, or you’d prefer to soak up the culture of a country while backpacking. But there is one non-negotiable when it comes to travelling aboard, and that’s health cover. In the past, if you were travelling to Europe, you may have had an EHIC card that allowed access to health care at the same price as the country you’re travelling to, or for free. This card has recently undergone changes, so ensuring you upgrade to a GHIC card is essential.
Applying for this card is crucial if you’re travelling to Europe, but it’s worth noting that the treatments it covers can differ depending on each country. If you’re travelling outside of Europe, you’ll need to look at other travel insurance options. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how to benefit from additional health cover when travelling abroad.
Choose a policy
When you’re travelling abroad, it’s essential that you choose a travel insurance policy that suits your needs. To do this, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Look for a policy that covers someone of your age, lifestyle, and family history. You should also ensure that a provider will cover any existing medical conditions that you have. These factors will determine the type of policy that would suit you and help you to narrow down the insurance that will cover all bases for you when travelling aboard. For example, some travel insurance providers will not cover those with existing conditions, so you’ll need to ensure the policy you choose covers any potential check-ups, treatment, or doctor visits you may need to have when travelling.
Get to know the healthcare your destination offers
This can be helpful when it comes to benefiting from healthcare when abroad should you need it. Each country may require different actions when it comes to treatment, for example, you might find that some countries will require you to pay for medical assistance upfront and claim back the amount on your insurance, but others may work differently. You should also check your policy to find out what’s included when it comes to medical treatment, and what you’ll be able to claim back. If you have an existing medical condition, this is essential as it means you can find a provider that will include all potential treatments within your insurance agreement.
As mentioned above, if you’re travelling in Europe, check what your GHIC card covers in your chosen country.
Insurance cards and documents
When you find insurance cover to suit you, make sure you print off the details of the cover and take them with you when you’re travelling. You should also ensure you have health cards like a GHIC, and any other important information surrounding any existing conditions. Having this information on hand will make it easier for you to get help when you need it most. It also means that you can contact your insurance provider for clarity should you need it whilst travelling.
Keep track of expenses
If you do need medical assistance for any reason, you should make sure that you keep track of your spending. You could do this by keeping receipts or any invoices that you may have from the treatment you have received. This is essential when claiming the costs back with your insurance provider. Make sure you’re aware of the time frame in which you must report these claims, as it may differ depending on your policy.
How to apply
If you’re applying for travel insurance before you head off on holiday, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Research your options. Look for health coverage that includes comprehensive medical cover, as well as emergency care, hospitalisation, and medical evacuation. This will mean you’re covered when it comes to a range of eventualities.
- Compare. To get the best deal and to find the cover that suits you, compare policies to find an option that suits your needs and budget. Compare the benefits and coverage of each insurance policy so you can find an option that suits your circumstances.
- Apply. When you’ve found the cover to suit you, fill out your application form and provide all information required – which may include personal information, travel dates, and medical history.
- Receive documents. Once you’ve applied, you’ll receive your documents which include an insurance card, policy details, and emergency contact information. Be sure to keep these safe in case you need them throughout your trip.
Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.