Illness or accident abroad

Illness or accident abroad

No one wants to think about it, but things can sometimes go wrong on holiday. What do you do if you fall ill when on holiday abroad? What if you suffer an accident? Who stumps up for the medical costs?

Which insurance?

Health insurance provided by the mutual insurance fund also includes travel insurance, but it only covers a limited range of costs. So you should see whether additional travel assistance insurance and possibly hospitalisation insurance are advisable.

Travel assistance insurance from the mutual insurance fund

Your mutual insurance fund also covers you in case you fall ill or suffer an accident abroad. But the cover is limited. Find out from your health insurance fund exactly what is covered before you set off. Can you choose a hospital or are their restrictions? What about medical costs for follow-up care in Belgium? What about repatriation, of yourself or your family members? 


  • Travel assistance insurance from the mutual insurance fund normally also applies to children studying abroad. But some countries are excluded: ask your health insurance fund about this.
  • You should take into account travel advice issued by the foreign ministry. If you travel to a country for which negative advice is given, you won't be covered if you fall ill or suffer an accident.
  • Ask which documents you need to take with you before setting off. You might need an EHIC or World Assistance card. Your SIS card is not enough.
  • Also find out what to do if you fall ill or suffer an accident (the procedure can vary from fund to fund): within what period of time do you have to inform the health insurance fund? Which documents do you have to present at the hospital? ...

Travel assistance insurance

The mutual insurance fund doesn't cover all costs. Travel assistance insurance can often come in handy. Clarify which additional costs this covers, such as repatriation of family members, costs of medical follow-up care, a private room, administrative and logical assistance and so on.

Hospitalisation insurance

If you want to be totally sure that you're properly covered, it's advisable to take out hospitalisation insurance. Once again, find out exactly what it covers. What about skiing accidents: are you covered even if the accident happens off piste? What about search and rescue costs following an avalanche? Could a member of your family come from Belgium and is the cost of this reimbursed? Do you have to pay your hospital bill yourself first or is it settled directly with the insurance company? …

Work out beforehand what you want to be covered for, then compare the various possible policies. Think about what matters to you and bear in mind what you can afford.

Paying on holiday

Cash, payment cards or both? What is the best means of payment to take when travelling?