Need to know
Your Belgian national health insurance (SIS) card cannot be used abroad. If you’re travelling in one of the countries of the European Union (plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and require medical attention, your health-related expenses can be taken care of, or at least partly reimbursed, if you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on you. This card is valid for two years and can be obtained free from your health fund (so long as you are up to date with your mandatory health insurance contributions
Who offers what?
Choosing the right travel insurance policy and the right company is made more complicated by the fact that, nowadays, insurance is offered, sometimes free of charge, by other bodies. Many holidaymakers think their credit card accident and cancellation cover, home insurance or private health cover is sufficient. While it is true that most credit cards (especially the ‘gold’ ones) now come with a built-in cancellation policy, and that your private health and home insurance company will cover you to an extent, it is worth remembering that it is not their primary function to provide cover against holiday-related mishaps. It may be the case that, in an unfortunate chain of events, all your expenses are covered, but by separate bodies – a rather taxing prospect. A one-stop, all-in-one travel insurance policy is therefore the most stress-free solution. There are now many insurance companies specialising in holiday cover, from cancellation to hospitalisation.
Read the small print
There are, always, numerous exceptions, both of the regular- and small-print variety, and it is strongly recommended that you pay attention to them when considering taking out a policy. On top of medical bills, a good insurance policy will cover you for cancelling, postponing or cutting a trip short. Less obvious reasons for this may include redundancy, jury service, burglary, strike action, pregnancy – as well as bereavement.
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