Adventure Sports Insurance: What Does The EHIC Actually Cover?


Get hurt in the UK and you might be covered by some form of adventure sports insurance, but what about if you’re going abroad? Well, if you’re an EU citizen then you’re also entitled to a European Health Insurance Card.

Going abroad? Get EHIC and adventure sports insurance. Image: Flickr/ Skistar Trysil

The EHIC was formerly known as an E111 until 2006 when the name was changed to come in line with wider European coverage. You can get an EHIC card for free by applying online here.

We’ve all had to wait six to eight frustrating weeks for a fairly routine appointment or sit for hours in A&E – especially if you like to indulge in sports toward the extreme end of the spectrum. But what happens when you are abroad?

What does an EHIC cover?

It’s valid in all EU member states, as well as other European Economic Area countries like Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

It entitles you to medical treatment necessary during your trip due to illness or injury, either free or at a reduced cost, depending on where you are (every country’s healthcare system is slightly different).

However, the EHIC card is not a substitute for travel insurance and for extreme sports lovers, there are some very important exceptions that you need to know about.

What doesn’t it cover?

The EHIC may entitle you to free or cheap state medical treatment in your host country but it won’t cover any private medical bills or additional emergency healthcare costs, such as mountain rescue or repatriation.

Break your leg on the mountain and waving your EHIC card won’t guarantee you a free pass to hospital. And at £20 a minute for ride in a helicopter, you’re looking at £1,000 just to get to hospital (and you probably won’t even enjoy the ride).

Add to that estimated costs of between £3,000 to £8,000 for four days hospital admission, between £8,000 to £12,000 for emergency fracture surgery and £10,000 for stretcher repatriation.

In total you could be looking at £30,000 for complete treatment.

Around 11% of travellers think the EHIC alone will cover them in case of an accident on the mountain. That’s a lot of people that could potentially be facing huge costs.

The bottom line is to make sure you get private travel insurance and that it covers you for your particular choice of extreme sport.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to be fully covered. You might like the thrill of extreme sports but travel uninsured and it might be a risk too far. And with 10% off travel insurance at Direct Line there’s really no excuse not to get it.

So why get an EHIC?

So, if you need travel insurance and can use money saving voucher codes, why bother with an EHIC? Well, many insurers now insist on you having one.

Remember that not all medical treatment you might need will be in an emergency. EHIC entitles you to standard state care for everything else. In many cases, insurers will even waive your excess if you are the proud owner of an EHIC, so it makes good sense to get yours today.

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