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Brexit likely to impact travel insurance

With Britain leaving the EU, travel insurance will become a more important and more expensive purchase, as Britons may no longer have access to state-funded medical treatment through the European Health Insurance scheme.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) have long been a default item packed by Britons when traveling Europe. They allow travelers access to necessary medical treatment in the host country from the state healthcare system at either a reduced cost or free of charge, with the home nation footing the bill.

The continued availability of EHIC will be dependent on whether the UK decides to severe existing ties with the European Economic Area (EEA), as the card is not actually an EU initiative. There are countries such as Norway and Iceland that are EEA but not EU members, therefore the UK could adopt this model. However, considering the Leave campaign’s call for tighter immigration and boarder controls it is likely that Britain will also leave the EEA – which allows for the free movement of people across European member states.

Travel insurance will become a vital product when traveling abroad, to ensure policy holders are not left vulnerable to medical treatment costs if access to the EHIC system ends. A knock-on effect will also be that the cost of travel insurance will rise, as the medical costs currently covered through the EHIC system would be passed on to insurers.

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