Do you really need travel insurance in Gran Canaria ? You’ve saved all your money for months, bought the whole of Boots the chemist in shampoo and sun creams and now you are doing that last minute packing.
Bikini, check, sarong, check, flip flops, check, passport…. Phew yes its in date, check, health insurance, won’t need that, I’ll be on my holidays!
Let’s look at that again. When you are on your holidays, your body unwinds and then decides you now have time to be ill. You trip on some uneven ground or ‘I wonder if I really should have eaten that chicken. I’m not sure if it was cooked enough!
No one wants or plans to be ill on their holiday. But it is something that you should plan for. Make sure you have a European Health Insurance card (EHIC). It used to be called the E111 and was a form, but things have been upgraded, and we now have a handy little blue card. They are valid for 5 years, so check the date. They are for emergency or necessary treatment, anything that won’t wait until you get home.
THE EHIC doesn’t include repatriation or accommodation for a relative, if you need to delay your flight home. In some countries it may not cover all medical bills, and it certainly doesn’t cover private treatment.
So, in addition, you will need travel insurance, from a reputed company like World Nomads . Many insurance companies specify that you must have the EHIC as well. This means that if the local private facilities cannot manage your condition, you can be transferred to the public hospitals. Travel insurance will include the parts that the EHIC doesn’t cover, but you must make sure that they know about any pre existing conditions, even one that you saw your own GP about just before you left home, a chest infection for example. A few days before you leave, you develop a bad cough. You visit your GP who gives you some antibiotics. After a few days of your holiday, you take a turn for the worse. You end up with pneumonia in hospital. The travel insurance will be in contact with your GP who will confirm that this was a pre existing condition!
The card can only be used in the state run hospitals and clinics. In Spain the health centres are called “centro de salud” or "ambulatorios". In the south of Gran Canaria, we have one in Maspalomas covering the area of Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas, San Fernando, San Agustin, and one in Arguineguin covering the area of Arguineguin, Patalavaca, Anfi, Puerto Rico, Tauro, Taurito and Mogan. Make sure you have your passport and the EHIC with you.
If you fall ill in your hotel and call reception for a home visit from a doctor, this will be from a private clinic. You will probably find that you have to pay cash for your treatment in a private clinic. They will provide you with a receipt and then you can claim back on your return home. Keep all receipts, including those for medication. You will have an excess on your policy and so may not get all your money back. Sometimes you can pay a little extra to cover the excess too, but you will still have to pay the clinic the full amount. Generally the clinics only get involved with the insurers when the costs are high or you are admitted to hospital.
Unfortunately, there are still places that may give more treatment than is strictly necessary. If you are unsure about your treatment, or feel you are seeing the doctor more times than necessary, then contact your insurers. They can speak to the clinic to confirm your treatment and your needs or concerns.
Another thing to remember is that travel insurance usually does not cover anything related to alcohol or sunburn.
Those that think that the EHIC is enough for your holidays are also forgetting that travel insurance also covers, cancelled flights, lost luggage, stolen cameras or smartphones, and all those other things that we don’t think will happen to us.
You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from over 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.