/ European climbing insurance post-Brexit ?
Sorry to bring up the B-word. I'm looking for information, not a political discussion.
If there is a no-deal Brexit, what are the consequences for existing annual mountaineering insurance policies. Will they still be valid? Will we need to pay more (world rates) on existing policies?
Does anyone know?
The EHIC card gives you access to the medical services of that European country much like your access to the NHS. So, last year I had a mountain bike accident. Broken ribs, suspected punctured lung and spinal damage. At the hospital (Briancon) I was checked over, x-rayed, rechecked and MRI scanned. Consultant was brought back in so they could decide on whether to keep me in for two days observation. Given lots of drugs. Total cost was 40 Euros for the drugs. Had we not had the EHIC we would have been facing 1800 Euros. So yes; if we leave with no deal, personal insurance cover will become necessary to pay for what is currently being covered by the EHIC. The insurance companies will have to cover this risk through increased premiums.
My expectation is that insurance policies will still be available but there won't be a discounted European rate taking EHIC into account, simply all policies will be at the same "rest of world" rate because costs will be similar globally.
This is only a relatively small issue for most people (even rest-of-world-including-USA travel insurance is not that expensive when compared to the overall costs of a trip abroad) - but anyone who finds themselves uninsurable e.g. due to having cancer or similar and normally relies on EHIC will effectively be unable to travel outside the UK at all.
For existing policies: I would expect them to remain valid but you would need to read the policy in question and/or contact the insurer to be sure. My understanding of the BMC one for example is that you aren't required to use an EHIC but the excess is removed if you do.
In the future: I would imagine the EHIC arrangement will continue in some form eventually but even if it doesn't I think a European policy would still be cheaper than a world one - the costs of healthcare, repatriation and rescue are still likely to be cheaper (or at least easier to quantify) Europe-wide rather than worldwide.
This Alpine Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...