The perpetual question on whether to take out travel insurance always crops up as you hit the “confirm booking” button for that flight. The British Consulate has issued several reminders to holidaymakers NOT to rely solely on an EHIC for medical treatment but to ensure that they have adequate travel insurance too.
The EHIC will not cover the cost of repatriation back to the UK and if someone needs to be flown back by air ambulance it will run into several thousand euros! Everyone always goes away with the mindset "It won´t happen to me" but accidents DO happen. For the sake of piece of mind do not cut corners. it will cost you dearly in the long run! When shopping around for travel insurance you need to ensure that you declare ANY pre-existing medical conditions including high blood pressure and all medication being taken. A recent article stated that even statins prescribed for cholesterol need to be declared!
Remember, an EHIC is absolutely FREE to apply for, although you will find many websites charge a fee - DO NOT use these! Also for those that have one, remember that they have an expiry date on them so check yours is still valid... and preferably not on the day you are flying out! But most importantly keep your EHIC on you when you go out.... if you have an accident it´s no good back in your hotel safe! If you need to use your EHIC remember that you have to produce the actual card and your passport together - they will not accept one without the other. For those that turn up without an EHIC card you will not be refused treatment but will be charged for a consultation, which can be in excess of 100 euros - they do not accept cash so make sure that your card has plenty of credit on it!
Every health centre in the region now has had a card machine installed to take payment. There is only one Social Security (NHS) hospital in this area which covers Benidorm - the Hospital Marina Baixa in Villa Joyosa. This is the ONLY hospital where you can use your EHIC. The two hospitals in the centre of Benidorm - IMED Levante and Hospital Clinca Benidorm are both PRIVATE and will not accept this card. In an emergency where an ambulance is necessary, hotels will automatically call one of the private hospitals, assuming that all holidaymakers have private travel insurance. They work on a commission and so it is in their interest to send patients via the private route.
A survey reveals that fewer than half of young Brits check that their travel insurance covers "risky pursuits" despite four out of five admitting that they take part in more adventurous behaviour when on holiday. Consulates across Spain in particular have first hand experience of the distress caused to young people who suffer accidents, only to find out that they can´t get home or they face a hefty medical bill because their insurance policy fails to cover dangerous sports!
Most Brits will think that hiring a quad bike for the afternoon or going out on a jet ski for an hour is not a risky pursuit - but their insurance company probably does. That´s why it´s so important that holidaymakers check their insurance policy before they buy and make sure they have full cover for everything they´re planning to do. When taking part in any of these type of sports and activities you always have to sign a disclaimer from the company stating that they are not liable for any accidents or injury sustained during the hire period. The average claim for a personal accident is seven and a half thousand pounds according to a survey carried out by the Post Office, so it´s all the more important to get the right cover for a trip, including adventurous activities. One very important point to remember about private travel insurance is that they will NOT cover you if they find out that you were drunk when the accident happened. Many young Brits drink to excess, especially as the alcohol is so much cheaper here than back in the UK and do silly things, egged on by their friends.