It happens to the best of us – things get mislaid, left on buses, thrown out with the rubbish or are stolen in a pickpocketing. Cancelling your credit cards and reporting the theft is a hassle, but with most of us carrying so much stuff in our wallets, it’s easy to forget about some of the items you’ve lost until you need them. One of these things is your EHIC as it’s only when you need to use the cover that you realise you don’t have it any more. So what steps should you take to avoid losing your EHIC in the first place, and to replace it if you do?
Loss of the EHIC Within the UK
If you’re still at home in the UK when you realise that your EHIC has gone missing, then there are a few options for getting a replacement. Call the NHS helpline on 0330 330 1350 during office hours, explain what’s happened and they’ll talk you through organising a replacement. You’ll need to give personal details such as your address and date of birth. If you have a note of your EHIC identification number then this could speed up the process. A good tip is to take photographs of your essential travel documentation such as passport, travel insurance policy and EHIC and either email them to yourself or store them in cloud storage so that if you do lose items or have them stolen, you have all the serial numbers and expiry dates to hand.
Losing EHIC Overseas
If you’re away on holiday when you realise that your EHIC has been lost or stolen you have a couple of options. The first is to wait until you get home to the UK and go through the process of replacing it in the usual way. If however you need to seek medical attention shortly after you’ve lost your card, you’ll have to organise a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). The PRC is issued by the Overseas Healthcare Team at the NHS, and you can contact them by phone during office hours. The team will take your details and will then liaise directly with the hospital where you are being treated to confirm that you’re eligible for EHIC cover. If you’re not well enough to make the call yourself, someone else can do it on your behalf. Once you are home, you will then have to go through the process of organising a proper replacement as a PRC is only issued on a “one-use” basis.
Keeping Documents Safe
Nobody wants to spend their holiday dealing with getting replacement passports or phoning banks to cancel credit cards, so take precautions to avoid loss or theft. Most hotels and apartments will offer safes or deposit boxes – the small charge for using them is well worth it. Don’t make yourself a target for pickpockets by keeping your wits about you and not carrying large sums of cash. And finally, make sure you have enough cover on your travel insurance for the money and other valuables you are taking away with you.