For all of us, jetting off on our holidays is the highlight of the year. However, it is important to plan for all eventualities before you leave. A major part of this is knowing how to react in terms of accidents or illness abroad. Getting prepared for this possibility before leaving home could save you thousands in medical bills.
Take out travel insurance
By far the best thing to do in terms of potentially falling ill on holiday is to take out travel insurance for your whole party beforehand. Having travel insurance means that, if you do experience illness abroad, you can then contact the insurance company to help. Just remember when taking out this sort of insurance to ensure it covers you against a large enough sum.
If possible, it is normally wise to speak with your insurer first via the helpline number shown on your policy documents before getting treatment. After this, you can then visit the local Doctor or hospital for care. Just remember to take your travel insurance documents with you to show them. Also, remember to bring along any medication you use so they can see what you are already taking.
Do I need an EHIC also?
The EHIC card is 100% free to apply for and gives you access to free or discounted medical care in EEA countries and some others, including Switzerland. It is key to be aware that this is only in state-run facilities though and not private health centres. If you are travelling to a place where EHIC’s are accepted, then it is worth getting one to show, should you need treatment.
What do you do if you forgot about insurance and your EHIC?
If you meant to take out travel insurance but forgot and never applied for your EHIC, do not panic. If you are holidaying in an EU/EEA country, then phone 112 for guidance first. If you are on a package trip, it is best to speak with your tour rep initially. If you are travelling independently and outside of the EU/EEA, then you may just have to get the care you need and settle the bill personally. In this case, make sure you do not get treated at a private clinic as these are more expensive.
Illness abroad can strike at any time and anywhere. As the above shows, by getting the right things in place before you go and knowing what to do if it happens, you can handle it much better.