European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - News

Is Travel Insurance With Bank Accounts Worth It?

May 9, 2016

All of the major high street banks are now offering packaged current accounts. The deal is usually that you pay a small monthly fee to the bank for your account, and in return they offer you a variety of incentives such as insurance for your mobile phone or cashback on deposits. One of the big attractions for many account holders is the offer of free travel insurance, but is this as really as big a benefit as it’s made out to be?

Eligibility Criteria

In the past, banks have been criticised for not making customers aware that they might not be eligible for many of the benefits associated with packaged bank accounts. People who do not own a car will not be able to use the breakdown cover, and many bank accounts also have limits on the ages of customers who can use the travel insurance. This is usually 70, and travellers who are past this age might have to look elsewhere to get a better deal on their travel insurance. EHIC cover can be used in conjunction with travel insurance if travelling within Europe, but is never a substitute for proper travel insurance. Not all packaged bank accounts have the same restrictions, and some will work out cheaper for older travellers than paying for separate insurance, so always shop around and know what you’re getting for your money.

Health Problems

When buying travel insurance separate from a bank account, the customer has to go through the process of applying for the policy and declaring any health conditions which could raise the risk of falling ill. This often isn’t the case with travel insurance taken as part of a packaged bank account as the cover just rolls on from year to year and the customer is never asked to inform the insurer about changes to their health. This could mean that if customers develop a health condition which the insurer doesn’t know about, they may not be covered. EHIC cover can be used under certain circumstances in Europe for pre-existing medical conditions but will not cover the additional costs of rearranging flights and added extras such as physiotherapy or ongoing treatment.

Getting the Best Cover For Your Trip

Everyone’s circumstances are different, and the “best” cover for one person won’t be the same as the “best” cover for someone else. If you are planning on travelling in Europe, getting EHIC will cover the basics of healthcare and some insurers might give you a discount on your travel insurance for applying for EHIC online. Travellers who are interested in hiking, scuba diving or skiing will require an extreme sports policy and older travellers should go to a specialist insurer or broker for the best price. The golden rule of travel insurance is never to accept the first price offered and always to shop around to make sure you’re getting a competitive policy. The best deal might well be your bank’s packaged account – but you won’t know unless you do the comparison.

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