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.
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. Schengen Area member countries have agreed on the minimum coverage of travel medical insurance, which is 30,000 Euro per person. Although 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.
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. 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.
What Are the Requirements for the Schengen Travel Medical Insurance?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
What Should My Health Insurance Plan 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 for Europe must have the below-mentioned features:
- Offers an 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 Insurance vs Travel Medical 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.
Schengen Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a type of a short-term insurance, which protects the financial investments of the traveler during a trip.
What does it cover?
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.
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. However, some of the travel insurance policies might also include coverage of eligible medical expenses, but not all of them do so.
Schengen Medical Insurance
The Schengen Travel medical insurance is a type of short-term insurance, which covers unexpected health care costs outside traveler’s home country.
What does it cover?
Depending on the policy, travel medical insurance usually covers:
- Political evacuation
- Natural disaster
- Accidental death
- Repatriation of remains in case of death.
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.
Do I Need to Purchase Travel Medical Insurance for my Trip to Europe?
Travel Medical Insurance for Schengen visa which is valid in all Schengen Area countries is a must for anyone applying for a Schengen visa, as indicated by the “Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009”.
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 Schengen visa 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.
Proof of Purchased Health Insurance for Schengen Visa
On the day of the Schengen visa appointment, 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 the visa sticker.
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.
How Much 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 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.
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 traveling 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.
Should I Purchase Schengen Health Insurance If I Have Domestic Insurance?
Domestic major medical health insurances rarely provide you little or no coverage outside the borders of your residence country. Travel Health Insurance is different from 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.