Despite of the facilitation that the Schengen visa has created for many, there are still a lot of requirements that one needs to fulfill in order to be able to obtain a Schengen visa.
Schengen Travel Insurance
The Schengen Travel insurance covers the entire stay in the Schengen territory and all the expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and / or emergency hospital treatment.
Schengen Area member countries have agreed in the minimum coverage of travel medical insurance, which is 30,000 Euro per person.
However, you should be careful when purchasing insurance, since the Schengen Area member countries are asking potential travelers to obtain Travel Health Insurance for Europe (also referred as Travel Medical Insurance or International Medical Insurance) and not only Travel Insurance.
Why Should I Get a Schengen Visa Insurance?
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 travelers to be in possession of Travel Health/Medical Insurance.
Whether you are visiting Europe for vacations, to study, for business, or you are traveling there for other purposes, the competent authorities will ask you to submit proof of purchase of Travel Health Insurance during your application. Even if you are traveling to the Schengen territory from a visa-exempt country, it is still recommended for you to purchase insurance, which would cover your expenses in case of unexpected injury or illness outside your home country.
Travel Medical Insurance is a must, even if you have private medical insurance at your home country. That’s because the chances are it will not cover you when traveling abroad, or its coverage is not insufficient.
Differences Between Schengen Travel Insurance and Schengen Travel Health Insurance for Europe
While gathering the required documents for Schengen visa application, you might get confused when it comes to Travel Medical Insurance and purchase Travel Insurance instead. Though both are similar since they may contain features of one another, the European Union wants you to obtain a Schengen Travel Health Insurance. The biggest difference between the two is that Travel Health Insurance focuses on emergency medical/evacuation while Travel Insurance focuses on protection of financial investments.
What is a Schengen Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a type of a short-term insurance, which protects the financial investments of the traveler during a trip. If your trip has been cancelled or interrupted for a particular reason, the travel insurance company where you are a client has to reimburse you for the eligible pre-paid and non-refundable portions of your trip.
Depending on the policy of the insurance company, it may also cover other cases as: lost or stolen luggage, missed departure, travel delay, travel abandonment, loss of passport, lost or stolen money etc.
Some of the travel insurance policies might also include coverage of eligible medical expenses, but not all of them do so.
What is a Schengen Health Insurance?
Travel medical insurance is another type of short-term insurance, which is designed with the sole purpose of covering unexpected health care costs outside traveler’s home country. Depending on the policy, travel medical insurance usually covers political evacuation, terrorism, natural disaster, accidental death, and repatriation of remains in case of death, among others.
Travel Health Insurance is different from the Domestic Health Insurance, since the latter usually does not cover unexpected incidents like injuries or illnesses outside of the country. While domestic major medical health insurance covers your annual check ups, emergency care, prescription drugs, etc., the Travel Medical Insurance provides you with coverage or reimbursement of unexpected expenses as a result of some illness or injury while traveling. Domestic major medical health insurances rarely provide you little or no coverage outside the borders of your residence country.
This type of Insurance may also cover your financial expenses in case you have to cancel your flight or if it is interrupted. Though some of the reasons for cancellation might be considered non-refundable or partially non-refundable.
Different Insurance Companies offer different Health Insurance plans, among which you can choose the one you think fits you best. However, you must pay attention to the Schengen Visa insurance requirements in order to purchase the right plan.
Schengen Visa Insurance Requirements
Schengen Area member countries have agreed on the standards that the Travel Medical Insurance for Schengen visa must meet in order to be eligible. Below you have the list of these requirements:
- It has to cover unexpected expenses regarding repatriation for medical reasons.
- It has to cover unexpected expenses which might arise as a result of urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment.
- It has to cover unexpected expenses which might arise as a result of the individual’s death.
- It has to cover the entire period of the individual’s intended stay or transit.
- 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.
- It must be valid in all Schengen Area countries.
On the day of the appointment, Schengen Visa applicants must have with them a letter from their insurance company that confirms that coverage meets the minimum level appointed by Schengen member countries. The duration of coverage must match the period of travel stated in traveler’s visa.
Schengen Visa Insurance Letter
The Schengen Visa Insurance Letter is a one page document which confirms that the Schengen visa applicant has purchased Schengen Travel Medical Insurance.
You should submit this letter at the embassy or consulate or your destination country, when you go at your appointment, together with the other documents.
What Does the Schengen Visa Health Insurance Cover?
When purchasing your Schengen Visa Insurance take care to see what it covers, and if it fulfills the requirements of the Schengen Area member countries. In general, the Travel Health Insurance Europe, must have the below mentioned features:
- Offers international network of providers.
- Political Evacuation benefit.
- Natural Disaster benefit.
- 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 traveling.
- 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.
Travel Health Insurance Europe Costs
The cost of Travel Medical Insurance varies from company to company and also in the type of plan you select. Most of travel medical policies charge a standard rate, by calculating the length of the trip with the age of the traveler and the maximum coverage limit he or she selects.
The length of the trip. The amount you will have to pay in order to purchase Travel Health Insurance 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 of the companies take the age of the traveler into account when calculating the price the traveler 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.
While the minimum medical coverage required is 30,000 Euros it might be safer for you to purchase an Insurance of 50,000 Euros when staying for longer in Europe, just in case of a severe medical condition.
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:
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 up front.
This plan covers multiple international trips within a three-months, six-months, or a one-year period.
This is recommended to long-term travelers and expatriates, since it is a continuous medical coverage for the long term traveler and typically paid on a monthly basis. These plans can often be renewed.
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.