Don't be fooled by its name: a European travel insurance policy no longer covers all of Europe.
Some insurers will now exclude popular tourist destinations like Spain from their so-called European cover, or at least charge you MUCH more for a policy covering those areas.
As at least 31% of you are heading off to Europe at some point this year, it's a small print change that could affect plenty of you.
Why certain destinations are excluded or cost you more
The problem here is the cost of medical treatment in some of these sunny holiday hotspots is rocketing. That's because they are starting to rely more on private healthcare for tourists to help to ease the strain on public resources. That means a costlier medical bill, and subsequently much larger claims.
A number of insurers have now essentially divided Europe in two when it comes to their travel insurance: policies that include the likes of Spain and Cyprus, and those that exclude them. Insurers doing this include the Post Office, All Clear and Insure & Go.
[SPOTLIGHT]Insure & Go says that policyholders who call in to declare a medical condition are placed into two categories to establish how much they pay. Travellers to Spain, Cyprus, Turkey and Malta are placed in category A, which is more expensive; the rest of Europe is put into category B. However, this relies on you telling the insurer exactly where you are going. Fail to do so and you may find that you travel without cover. As reported in the Daily Mail this week, one holidaymaker was put into the wrong category when he called in, resulting in him travelling to Malta without adequate cover.
The insurers argue that by approaching premium pricing in this way, it means that holidaymakers heading off to other areas of Europe do not have to pay higher premiums. But if your holiday plans change and you end up spending time in one of these other countries, the European cover you bought may not be any use.
Read the small print
With any kind of insurance it’s imperative that you read the small print.
As well as making sure that you’re covered for the country that you’re visiting, check that you’re insured for any medical complaints you have or dangerous activities you’re planning to take part in, like skiing. If your organisational skills aren’t the best, read through your policy to see if you’re covered for missed flights too.
Remember your EHIC
Even though it’s not a substitute for travel insurance, take your European Health Insurance Card with you. It entitles to you to healthcare on the same basis as the locals in whatever country you're in.
Find out more at What does an EHIC really cover?