Schengen travel insurance is designed to cover your medical costs while you are visiting the European countries included in the Schengen Zone.
Depending on the policy you choose, travel insurance can also protect you from losses due to trip disruptions, such as a delayed flight, if you need to cut the trip short, or personal liability.
Is Travel Insurance Mandatory for Schengen Visa?
Yes, if you need a visa to travel to Europe, then you will have to get travel insurance because it is a mandatory part of the visa application process. Simply said, if you do not have a valid insurance policy, then the Embassy will automatically reject your request for a visa.
On the other hand, if you do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen Area, then it is not strictly necessary to be insured (although it is still highly recommended!).
Schengen Visa Insurance Requirements
The Schengen visa travel insurance plan must meet these requirements:
- It should cover at least €30,000 for medical expenses and emergency evacuation.
- It should be valid in all 26 countries in the Schengen Zone.
- It should be valid for the entire duration of time you are in Europe.
Luckily, because it is required at Embassies for the visa application, most insurance companies offer policies designed specifically to meet these requirements.
What Should the Schengen Travel Insurance Plan Cover?
Make sure your plan covers:
- Cost of medical treatment. Your insurance policy should reimburse a minimum of €30,000 worth of any emergency medical expenses (such as a sudden illness or accident) anywhere in the Schengen Zone.
- Cost of repatriation. If you become gravely ill or get into a serious accident which requires medical attention from your home country, then travel insurance covers the cost of repatriation. It also covers repatriation in the event of death.
This is what a basic policy has to cover to be valid for a visa application. However, some insurance companies also offer additional, more comprehensive coverage, such as insurance for your trip or liability.
What Other Liabilities Are Covered in My Travel Insurance Policy?
Other than the basic Schengen travel health insurance (for medical and repatriation costs), some insurance companies will also cover other liabilities and risks associated with the trip, such as:
- Assistance in the event of illness. For example, if you get sick, the insurance company pays for someone to travel to be with you (their flight ticket, hotel stay, etc).
- Trip cancellation. If you need to cut your trip short due to unforeseen circumstances, then the insurance policy will reimburse some of your prepaid expenses.
- Flight delay. If your flight is delayed, the insurance company will cover food and accommodation expenses as you wait for another flight, but only for long delays.
- Loss/theft of baggage. If your baggage is damaged, lost or stolen (through no fault of your own) the insurance company
- Personal liability abroad. If you cause personal injuries to someone or property damage while you are in Europe, the insurance company covers some of the cost.
What Does Schengen Insurance Not Cover?
In most cases, you will not have travel insurance coverage in the following situations:
- If you need medical treatment due to a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, cancer, or any lingering previous injuries.
- Medical treatment that is not an emergency.
- If you need medical attention as a result of intoxication (alcohol or drug consumption).
- If you need medical attention because you took part in adventurous or extreme sports, such as bungee jumping, motor racing, etc.
- If you need medical attention as a result of a natural disaster.
- If you have travelled to an area that is considered high risk (there is conflict, political unrest, an epidemic, etc).
Where Can I Get Schengen Visa Insurance?
You can get your insurance policy through some of the leading Schengen travel insurance providers, which include:
- AXA Schengen.
- Europ Assistance.
- World Nomads.
How To Buy Schengen Visa Insurance?
Most insurance companies operate online, so you can simply purchase a travel insurance plan directly from their website. To purchase one, visit the company website, look for the “Get a Quote” or “Start Now” button, and:
- Complete the online application form. You have to give your name, nationality, age, destination, and the dates of travel.
- Select which plan you want. There is usually more than one plan available. You can read the benefits of each plan to find one suited to your needs. For example, if you purchase through MondialCare, one of the leading insurance companies, there are two available policies you can subscribe to.
- Make the payment. You can usually pay by a credit/debit card or through PayPal. The cost of the insurance plan depends on the information you provided (age, length of trip) as well as the plan you chose.
- Download and print the Insurance Certificate. You need this to hand in to the Embassy when you apply for a visa. It will be in PDF format.
Even though purchasing travel insurance online is the easiest and most convenient option, there are other methods as well:
- Through a local insurance company. You can just visit the offices of an insurance company in your country, request a Schengen insurance policy, and purchase one.
- Through your tour agency. If you will visit Europe via an organized tour, the agency may offer you a complimentary insurance policy added to the overall price. Be mindful of these offers, because they may inflate the price of the policy and not give you adequate coverage. If you have the option, always read the policy beforehand – and if you don’t like it, see if you can opt-out.
How Do I Get Schengen Visa Insurance From the USA?
If you are from the USA, you can get travel insurance for your trip to Europe in the same way as everyone else – by purchasing a plan online. Companies like MondialCare or AXA make it possible to subscribe to travel insurance through their website and get the Insurance Certificate as a downloadable, printable, electronic file. If you need a visa, you can just submit this Certificate to the Embassy.
Proof of Purchased Health Insurance for Schengen Visa
When you apply for a visa, the Embassy will ask to see proof of purchased Schengen travel insurance. This usually goes by the name of “travel insurance certificate” and your insurance company will give it to you when you subscribe to one of their plans.
If the Embassy you apply in has certain specific requirements about the insurance certificate, then just contact your insurance company and they will most likely give you a certificate suited to your situation.
How Exactly Does Travel Medical Insurance Work?
Travel health insurance protects you from financial losses as a result of medical emergencies while you are visiting Europe. If you have a valid insurance policy during your trip, then when you seek medical attention, the insurance company will take over the costs. There are two ways it usually works:
- The hospital sends the bill directly to the insurance company. You do not need to pay anything upfront.
- You pay the bill yourself, then make a claim with the insurance company to reimburse you. Make sure to save the bill you receive from the hospital.
If you are in an emergency situation, make sure to contact the assistance center as soon as you can so that they can help you or inform you on how to proceed.
What Is The Best Travel Insurance For Europe?
The best travel insurance for your trip to Europe is one that complies with Schengen requirements. As such, it should cover:
- In-patient and out-patient medical treatment.
- Doctor visits.
- Prescription medication.
- Emergency dental care.
- Medical evacuation/repatriation.
- 24/7 assistance.
It must have coverage for the aforementioned items in the entire Schengen Zone and for the entire duration of your stay.
How Much Does Schengen Medical Travel Insurance Cost?
There are three main factors which affect the price of your travel insurance policy:
- Your age. The cost of the insurance policy increases along with your age. For example, older individuals (especially over the age of 60) have to pay higher premiums for the same insurance plan than someone who is younger.
- The duration of your trip. Usually, insurance companies calculate the cost of the policy on a daily basis. So, the longer you plan to stay in Schengen, the higher the price of your policy.
- The maximum coverage limit. There are usually 2-3 insurance plans you can choose from, regardless of the insurance company. As such, the basic plan with health insurance coverage of up to €30,000 will be cheaper than the one with maximum coverage of up to €100,000 or more.
However, Schengen insurance is not usually too expensive in comparison to the overall price of the trip. For a one-week trip, in general, you would pay between €20 to €50, depending on the policy.
Should I Purchase Schengen Health Insurance If I Have Domestic Insurance?
Yes, you do. If you have domestic insurance (for example, you are an American citizen travelling within the U.S.), but you also plan to travel to Europe, then you will have to get a Schengen visa insurance plan to cover you abroad. Domestic insurance plans have coverage only within the country they were purchased in, and do not cover international travel.
Can I Get a Refund If My Schengen Visa Application Is Refused?
Many companies offer you a refund of your insurance policy if you do not receive a Schengen visa, but not all. Usually, you can learn whether or not you can get a refund by looking at the FAQ section on a company website, or by contacting them directly.
Does Schengen Medical Insurance Cover me for Countries That Are Not Part of the Schengen Area?
Usually, Schengen insurance is aimed only at the countries within the Schengen Area. However, if you plan to travel somewhere outside the Schengen Zone, you can get an international travel insurance plan or an additional insurance plan aimed specifically at those countries.
Will I Get Covid-19 Coverage When Buying a Schengen Visa Travel Insurance?
If you get sick with Covid-19 while traveling, most travel insurance companies will cover your medical costs only if you follow the travel recommendation set by your country or the destination country, as well as those by the World Health Organization.
In other words, if you visit a place which has travel bans in place or a high number of Covid-19 infections, then you likely do not have coverage for coronavirus.