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Date: 19/04/2012

Cheap travel medical cover

The NHS is not without its problems with its long waiting lists and old-fashioned hospitals but travelling abroad can make you realise how lucky Britain is to have a free health service.

In many countries obtaining medical treatment comes at a cost and even something as simple as an ear infection could end up costing hundreds of pounds if you need to be seen in a hospital.

UK citizens can apply for a European Health Insurance Card but this is not a replacement for insurance. An EHIC will entitle the holder to the same level of medical treatment as nationals of the country the incident occurred in, but in many cases this means the patient will have to pay a portion of the cost

No-one likes to think they will fall ill whilst on holiday but if the unthinkable happens, you won't want to be worrying about how you are going to pay for treatment or even worse, how you will get home. An EHIC card will help with some of the costs of treatment but not all conditions will be covered and how much you have to pay will vary between countries. In addition, it will not provide any financial assistance in helping you to return home, if your condition has prevented you from leaving as planned.

It's also important to be aware that if you have a problem getting back home, neither the Foreign Office nor the local British Embassy will be able to provide any monetary assistance.

Cheap travel medical cover can easily be found online, with a number of providers offering comprehensive insurance at a low cost. However, it's important to ensure that you are completely honest about your medical history when you apply for a policy.

Failing to tell an insurer about a medical problem could mean in the event of a claim, your policy will be invalid, leaving you stranded and facing a large bill. Even if you have a history of medical problems, in many cases you will still be able to obtain cover although you may have to pay a slightly higher premium or accept special terms

Knowing that your insurer has all the necessary facts means that if you do have a mishap or fall ill, any claim can be sorted out swiftly and with the minimum of fuss, hopefully leaving you to enjoy the rest of your holiday.