Choosing the Right Schengen Visa Travel and Medical Insurance: Schengen Travel Insurance
However, the European Union is aware of the incidents that may happen during one’s travels throughout the Schengen Zone, that’s why it has obliged all travellers to be in possession of travel health medical insurance to protect themselves in case of any emergencies.
You need to be able to financially cover your medical expenses in case of an accident, injury or any other sudden event such as death and repatriation.
Even if you are not required to have medical insurance, you will still need to take care of unexpected expenses that arise while travelling. Therefore, having travel insurance will help you with financial support, peace of mind and comfort shall anything unexpected happen on your travels.
Moreover, getting Schengen travel insurance in place, not only provides you travel insurance such as flight cancellations etc but also offers extended coverage throughout the Schengen Area and the EU. This includes Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland.
Who must purchase Schengen travel insurance for Europe?
Even though travel health insurance is worth having for all travellers to Europe, not everyone is required to have it. A travel insurance policy is a mandatory requirement only for travellers who need to apply for a Schengen visa. This group of travellers is always required to have the needed coverage for the entire period of their stay in Europe, regardless if they go there for business, tourism, studying, visiting family or friends, or for other reasons.
Travel medical insurance is a must, even if you have private medical insurance in your home country. That’s because the chances are it will not cover you when travelling abroad, or its coverage is not sufficient.
Foreign travellers visiting Europe who enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen zone can get their preferred travel Schengen travel insurance policy if they want to and, while it is highly recommended to obtain one, they are technically not required to.
While gathering the required documents for the Schengen visa application, you might get confused when it comes to travel medical insurance and purchase travel insurance instead and it is important to know the difference between the two.
Though both are similar since they may contain features of one another, the European Union wants you to obtain a Schengen travel health insurance (also referred to as travel medical insurance or international medical insurance) and not only travel insurance.
The biggest difference between the two is that travel health insurance focuses on emergency medical or evacuation while travel insurance focuses on the protection of financial investments.
Below, we outline what you need to make sure you have qualifying travel medical insurance for your trip to the Schengen Area.
Requirements for Schengen Visa Travel Health or Medical Insurance
Schengen Area member countries have agreed on the standards that the travel medical insurance for Schengen visas must meet in order to be eligible. Below we have listed these requirements:
- The minimum coverage must be of 30,000 Euros. Make sure to check with your embassy or consulate about any other specific health insurance minimums because they can vary from country to country. Although the minimum medical coverage required is 30,000 Euros for Schengen travel insurance it might be safer for you to purchase insurance of 50,000 Euros when staying for longer in Europe, just in case of a severe medical condition.
- It should cover all member states of the Schengen Area.
- Must cover the entire period of the individual’s intended stay or transit.
- It has to cover unexpected expenses regarding repatriation for medical reasons.
- It has to cover unexpected expenses that might arise as a result of urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment.
- It has to cover unexpected expenses that might arise as a result of the individual’s death.
Travellers often make the mistake of buying Schengen travel insurance that covers them only for the country that they intend to travel to. This is not acceptable as it must cover the whole of the Schengen and EU area. Some insurance providers refer to this as “Europe 2” travel insurance.
Why “Europe 2” or the Whole Schengen Area?
When you get a Schengen visa, you are allowed to travel to all 26 Schengen countries and even more. Additionally, with most border checks abolished, it is easy to travel from one Schengen country to another. Therefore the European Union require you to have insurance that covers the whole territory.
What should my health insurance plan cover?
You are free to choose your own travel medical insurance for your Schengen visa. However, it must meet the Schengen travel insurance requirements as established in Regulation 810/2009 (the Visa Code). In general, the travel health insurance for Europe must have the below-mentioned features:
- Offers an international network of providers.
- Political evacuation benefit.
- Natural disaster benefits.
- Covers hospital room and board (average room rate).
- Covers Intensive Care Unit (customary charges).
- Provides terrorism coverage for eligible medical expenses.
- Reimbursement for unexpected medical costs due to emergency medical care.
- Reimbursement for unexpected dental costs due to an accident.
- Advance payments to medical facilities and help get emergency medical transportation when you are injured.
- Coordination of and payment for emergency medical evacuation services, including medical care providers to attend to you until you reach an appropriate medical care facility. Covers local ambulance charges for covered illness or injury.
- AD&D and travel accident benefits to help take care of you or your family if you are seriously injured or killed while travelling.
- 24/7 emergency travel assistance services to help you locate an appropriate medical facility to care for your medical needs and those of your family.’
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How much do travel health insurance policies usually cost in Europe?
The cost of travel medical insurance varies from company to company and also in the type of plan you select. Most travel medical policies charge a standard rate, by calculating the length of the trip with the age of the traveller and the maximum coverage limit they select.
- The length of the trip. The amount you will have to pay in order to purchase travel health insurance for Europe depends on the number of days you are planning to stay in the Schengen territory. The longer you stay, the more you will have to pay.
- Your age. Most companies take the age of the traveller into account when calculating the price, the traveller will have to pay. As your age group increases, you will likely see an increase in your daily rate (and vice versa).
- The maximum coverage limit. This is the maximum amount of expenses the company where you are a client will have to pay in case you face any illness and injury while abroad. The higher the coverage limit is, the higher your daily rate will be and vice versa.
Even though the Schengen visa has its minimum requirements, it is recommended to purchase additional coverage, when you are leaving your home country and entering Schengen, especially for longer trips.
Where do I purchase my Schengen Visa travel health or medical insurance?
There are several companies that allow you to purchase online, but make sure that their policy meets all the Schengen visa requirements or else your visa application could be rejected.
You may already have a health insurance policy through your employment, your bank or another source. It may cover international medical emergency expenses, but you need to check the limitations on what is covered. Our advisors can advise you on whether these are suitable if we are processing your Schengen visa.
Some travellers purchase individual Schengen travel insurance policies for the exact days planned in Europe. You will need to make sure the company you choose is licensed and accepted in the Schengen country you are planning to travel to.
You may want to avoid buying single trip Schengen travel insurance if you plan to get multiple entry Schengen visas. This is because some consulates use this as an indicator that you only intend to go to Europe once.
We have been helping clients with choosing Schengen visa insurance and we have seen more successful applications using policies from AXA Travel Insurance, Europ Assistance, Coverwise, Worldfirst and Traveltime Travel Insurance. These companies are accepted by European Embassies and Consulates worldwide. You can also cancel them free of charge if you present proof that your visa has been rejected or if you no longer need them.
At IaM, we place our trust in a select few Schengen travel insurance providers, including World First travel insurance, AXA Travel Insurance, Coverwise and TravelTime Travel Insurance specialists. World First has a range of travel insurance plans that can be purchased for your trip within the Schengen Area.
To ensure any of the products are adequate for your personal needs, we recommend you review and compare the benefits of their plans. Once you’re ready to obtain a quote, include the timeframe you will be travelling within the Schengen Area and select the region of Europe as your destination to help ensure you’re covered.
Types of Europe Travel Medical Plans
A travel medical plan comes in four variants depending on the amount of time you wish to enter the Schengen Area and if you are planning to enter this territory alone or with other people. These plans are as below:
- Single-Trip Plan – This is the most commonly purchased plan since it is a standard plan that provides coverage for the duration and destination(s) you specify for a single trip abroad, for up to six months, and it is paid for upfront.
- Multi-Trip Plan – This plan covers multiple international trips within a three-month, six-month, or one-year period.
- Long-Term Plan – This is recommended for long-term travellers and expatriates since it is continuous medical coverage for long-term travellers and is typically paid on a monthly basis. These plans can often be renewed.
- Group Plan – When travelling in groups, this is the best type of Travel Health Insurance to purchase. Typically, it can insure 5 or more people under one policy, often at a discounted rate.
Can you buy Schengen travel insurance from any country?
Depending on the embassy you submit your application to, some embassies do not accept travel insurance issued in other countries. For example, in the UK a popular Schengen visa information website was advertising the services of Mawista Visum. Although it may have been a reputable company, it was based in Germany. Because of this, consulates in the UK were not accepting such Schengen visa insurance products from them.
You, therefore, need to check if the Insurance is acceptable for your consulate of submission. So far, we have noted that Schengen travel insurance policies from AXA Travel Insurance, World First, Coverwise and TravelTime Travel Insurance are being accepted for your Schengen visa applications.
Coronavirus and Travel Insurance Restrictions
The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Countries have either limited their borders to essential travel or even closed their borders to travellers in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. Those who have been able to travel have been left with the uncertainty of whether their travel insurance will cover Covid-19.
It is important to be aware of what your existing health policies cover, as well as the possibility that any international coverage that may be included in your current health plan can be voided simply by travelling to a Covid-affected region.
Will I be covered for Covid-19 when buying Schengen Travel insurance?
Most travel insurance companies design their policies to protect their customers against unforeseeable events, such as sudden illnesses or accidental bodily injuries. Epidemics and/or infectious diseases such as Covid-19 are generally excluded.
In most European countries, however, you will get free medical attention for urgent cases. So, in case of Covid-19, you may get covered by National Health Services, but if fees are applied, you won’t be able to get a refund from your insurance.
Schengen states like Portugal and Spain (only for the Canary Islands) are even offering free insurance in an attempt to boost tourism in the areas.
If you’re going to travel to a Schengen country that doesn’t offer free medical care or insurance, however, there are a few travel insurance companies that do cover coronavirus in their travel insurance policy.
If you already have your own travel insurance, read the fine print to know what is and isn’t covered in the policy.
If you’re still looking for one that specifically covers Covid-19, here are a few trusted options that IaM can suggest:
Remember to check out their individual FAQ pages to see what they do and do not cover.
How Much Does Schengen Insurance Cost?
Prices for Schengen travel insurance varies from one company to the next. The cheapest we see currently are coming from Coverwise. We also note that some of their policies are underwritten by Axa too. Therefore, here are the premiums for AXA Schengen. They advertise that their premiums start at €1.50 per day:
|Duration of travel||AXA Low Cost|
(Schengen area only)
|AXA Europe Travel|
(Extended protection, Schengen + EU countries)
|up to 8 days||20 €||30 €|
|up to 15 days||36 €||55 €|
|up to 31 days||56 €||74 €|
|up to 45 days||65 €||103 €|
|up to 62 days||73 €||117 €|
|up to 90 days||89 €||152 €|
|up to 180 days||168 €||271 €|
|Find out more||Find out more|
For more information about choosing the best Schengen insurance plan for your needs, please visit the AXA website, World First, Coverwise, or TravelTime Travel Insurance providers. We will be putting together more comparisons so keep an eye on this space.
What are the Other Common Travel Insurance Restrictions and Limitations?
- A number of travel insurance companies don’t provide insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions internationally. You will need to speak to your insurance company to arrange cover ahead of time.
- Sports – Participation in high-risk activities such as extreme sports e.g., scuba diving, skydiving, etc., can be excluded. But most travel insurance companies have packages that cover sports.
- War – Policies may exclude coverage for injuries caused by war when travelling to an endangered war zone.
- Duration – Many policies specify a time limit for coverage (e.g., 60 days) and the costs differ accordingly.
- Suicide in an international or domestic domain is excluded from any insurance policy as well as self-inflicted injuries.
- In the case of any substance abuse, drugs or alcohol, domestic or international the medical expenses won’t be covered by your insurance policy.
Are you confident about your travel medical insurance? If you have any questions, feel free to ask them below!
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