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Heading to Europe this summer? Don’t forget your EHIC

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Holidaymakers heading to Europe should still pack their European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) regardless of the Brexit vote.

The EHIC, which will need to be re-negotiated once the UK officially leaves the EU, gives UK citizens access to free or reduced-price healthcare in other EU countries.

It is not an alternative to travel insurance but many travel insurers will waive their excess if you have an EHIC.

Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show last year insurers came to the aid of nearly 500,000 travellers who needed help overseas, paying out the equivalent of £1m every day.

The average cost of medical treatment was £1,200, compared to the £33 a year cost of the average annual travel policy

However, nearly one in five still travelled abroad without travel insurance.

Mark Shepherd, manager, general insurance at the ABI, said: “Most people will enjoy their overseas summer holiday. Yet for anyone falling ill, getting injured or losing their possessions abroad their sunshine break could be traumatic and very expensive. Medical treatment overseas can cost tens of thousands of pounds which is why travel insurance is a must have. Yet too many people still seem likely to buy sun tan lotion before travel insurance – despite the fact that 500,000 travellers need to claim on their travel policy a year.”

This year, Brits are expected to take 34 million separate holidays in Europe. Spain is set to be the most popular destination, with 13 million visits, followed by France (8.8 million) and Italy (3.5 million).

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