What to do if you become sick while travelling abroad

Find out what you can do in case you unexpectedly become sick while travelling. For example, what to do if you are admitted to hospital. Or what medical expenses are covered by your insurance. 

Attention: Do you need help right away? Call the NetherlandsWorldwide contact centre: +31 247 247 247. 24  hours a day, 7 days a week. Or send us a message on WhatsApp: +316 82 38 77 96.

Before you leave

Your basic insurance will usually cover the costs of going to a doctor or hospital abroad. Note that these costs are often higher than in the Netherlands. To cover these costs you can take out travel insurance or supplementary health insurance that covers medical expenses abroad.

Health insurance in the event of a lengthy stay abroad

If you move abroad for a longer period of time, for example for work or an internship, this may affect your health insurance.

If you are going on holiday in Europe, you can get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your health insurer. The foreign healthcare provider will claim any expenses from your health insurer. This makes it less likely that you will have to advance costs.

Becoming sick while travelling

If you are admitted to hospital abroad, you should inform:

  • your family in the Netherlands
  • your travel insurer’s or health insurer’s emergency support centre
  • your tour operator (if you have one).

If you are unable to do this yourself, the embassy or consulate can help you. 

Hospital admission without insurance

If you are admitted to hospital and you do not have health insurance, the embassy or consulate can ask your family in the Netherlands to transfer money so that you can pay the costs.

If there is no Dutch embassy or consulate in that country, contact the embassy of another EU country, or a Dutch embassy or consulate in a neighbouring country.

Health insurers cover medical costs based on the costs in the Netherlands. You will have to pay excess costs yourself. If you have travel insurance, you can get cover for higher medical expenses.

Whether and how you can get medical expenses reimbursed depends on where you are insured. 

If you incur medical expenses within Europe and you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), the foreign healthcare provider usually claims the costs from your health insurer. You do not need to take any action.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.