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A guide to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

All you need to know now that Britain has left the EU

A guide to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

All you need to know now that Britain has left the EU.

Can I still use the EHIC?

Now Britain has left the EU, you’re probably wondering if you can still use your EHIC if you’re heading off on holiday somewhere in Europe. For most of us, the answer is no. However, there are some exceptions. According to, this includes UK students studying in the EU and some British state pensioners who live in the EU, and their families.

To find out if you might still be eligible for the European Health Insurance Card, and to apply, visit

What is a European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card, also known as EHIC, is a free card that allows free or reduced-cost state medical care during a temporary stay in another European country.

For those eligible, the card can be used in any EU country, including the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The EHIC cannot be used in the Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, the Isle of Man, Monaco, San Marino, or the Vatican City.

How EHIC works

If you need medical help while on holiday in Europe, simply show the health card on arrival at the hospital or medical centre.

You’re entitled to the exact same state-provided healthcare that citizens of the country you’re visiting have access to.

Whether you’re eligible for free or reduced-cost medical care will depend on what country you’re visiting.

What does EHIC cover?

  • Medical treatment for accidents and illnesses
  • Medical care for pre-existing conditions
  • Routine maternity care
  • Treatment for chronic conditions such as kidney dialysis

A European Health Insurance Card only covers the named cardholder, so your family will need to have their own individual cards.

European travel insurance

At Sainsbury’s Bank, we recommend you take out a travel insurance policy if you’re going on holiday somewhere in Europe.

We offer single trip annual multi-trip and extended stay policies, find out more about our travel insurance.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE.


Travel guides

Whether you’re off to Europe or somewhere further afield, our travel guides are packed with helpful information.

Dealing with flight disruption

Find out what to do if your flight is delayed, cancelled or disrupted

Travel insurance in Europe

See what you’re covered for when you’re travelling in Europe

Keep your money safe

Handy tips on how to look after money, cards and valuable items abroad


Any questions?

Check out our most frequently asked questions about EU travel insurance. If you still need to talk to us, our friendly team will be happy to help.

Call 0345 305 2621.

Sales and service lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekend and Bank Holidays. Calls may be monitored or recorded. Calls are charged at local rates from landlines and mobiles.

Helpful phone numbers.

Terms and conditions

This guide aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any decision, financial or otherwise. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this guide. All information correct at date of publication.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, a German insurance company with its headquarters at Königinstrasse 107, 80802 Munich. UK Branch office: 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London, EC3M 5BN, company number SE000083. Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch, is authorised and regulated by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht. Deemed authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details of the Temporary Permissions Regime, which allows EEA-based firms to operate in the UK for a limited period while seeking full authorisation, are available on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Hood Travel Limited, registered at Companies House 08318836. Hood Travel is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 597211. Hood Travel Limited’s registered address is at 52/54 Alexandra Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1BJ. Hood Travel is an insurance intermediary providing a non-advised service. We act for and on behalf of the insurer.