Buying travel insurance for Europe is the first thing you need to get a Schengen Visa, whether you’re studying, traveling, or doing business.
However, if you don’t need a Schengen Visa, you may be asking yourself: Do I need medical travel insurance for Europe? Well, even if you don’t need a Schengen Visa, buying travel insurance for your trip to Europe is always a good idea if you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected if any unforeseen circumstances occur.
Purchasing Europe travel insurance is not only the best way to protect your health when traveling but also your pocket from unexpected expenses that can ruin your account.
Nobody wants to get sick or to use the insurance assistance service when traveling, but the most you travel, the most likely you’ll be to use it at some point.
However, not all Europe travel insurance companies are the same and not everyone needs the same kind of coverage. In this article, we’ll be showing you the best travel insurance for Europe, plus giving you an explanation of the Schengen Visa and how to get Schengen travel insurance. Also, we will talk about the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and how to apply for it.
- What is the best travel insurance for Europe
- Is travel insurance mandatory in Europe?
- What document you need to travel to Europe: Schengen Visa vs. ETIAS
- Schengen Visa Insurance requirements
- How to get travel insurance for Europe
- Travel insurance for Schengen visa quotes and prices
- Tips for buying travel insurance for Europe
What is the best travel insurance for Europe?
So, what’s the best travel insurance for Europe? To start off, we’re going to compare the best travel insurance providers so you can see what’s covered and how much it costs.
Compare travel insurance for Europe
The chart below will help you compare the best travel insurance for Europe.
We’ve used the example of a 30-year-old male from Pennsylvania (USA) who is traveling to Spain for 15 days.
COMPARE BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR EUROPE
Evacuation & Repatriation
150% of trip cost
Customer Service is sometimes overloaded
Customer Service sometimes is overloaded
No 24/7 support. You need to mail the claims to be covered
Insurance doesn't pay up front. You need to make a claim to be reimbursed
Atlas International insurance may be quite cheap, but since they don’t have 24/7 support, their service is very poor. If you experience an emergency while you’re in Europe, you won’t have a customer service number to call to help you find out which medical center to go to. Instead, you’ll have to find a hospital by yourself and, then, once you’re home, send a claim to them by mail, which is a really inconvenient process.
On the other hand, Allianz One Trip Basic is in the same price range as World Nomads and IMG, but it offers nowhere near the same amount of coverage. In fact, its coverage is quite low considering its price tag.
That’s why World Nomads and IMG are your best choices for European travel insurance. World Nomads offers great, thorough coverage for its price and, most importantly, provides 24/7 emergency medical assistance. We’ve used them for years and have always experienced great service.
Use Insuremytrip for buying IMG
IMG iTravelInsured SE is another good option since they also offer excellent, thorough coverage for the price. However, their customer service assistance is not as reliable as that of World Nomads, and it can be a pain to make a claim with them, so if you’re interested in buying this insurance, buy it through Insuremytrip. You’ll get the same price and coverage as buying through IMG, but you’ll get the added bonus of Insuremytrip’s “Anytime Advocates” service, which can help you with making any claims.
Is travel insurance necessary in Europe?
If you need a visa for traveling to the Schengen Area, you will need Schengen Visa insurance to apply for it. Take into account that not all countries are required to have a Schengen visa to visit the Schengen area. We will talk about which countries are required and which are not in the following section.
But before jump in, let’s check why even if you don’t need a Schengen Visa, it can still be very helpful to buy Europe travel insurance. Here are a few of our own experiences that show how useful it can be to have travel insurance for Europe:
- I was studying English in Ireland with my cousin when he had to have emergency surgery for appendicitis. His insurance covered all the costs upfront.
- My brother was on a study tour in Italy when he came down with gastroenteritis and spent three days in the hospital. His travel insurance for Europe covered the costs of his hospitalization.
- On a trip to Germany, my suitcase never came. Luckily, my Europe travel insurance covered all my clothes and basics that I needed for the trip.
- Some years ago, I had a trip to Ukraine planned. For family reasons, I had to cancel it, and since I didn’t have Schengen travel insurance, I lost the money for the flights.
- My mom’s bag was stolen in a bar in London. She didn’t have travel insurance for Europe and lost her cell phone, wallet (with ID and credit cards inside), and camera.
As you can see from the examples above, all kinds of unexpected things could happen to you while you’re traveling. It’s always better to have the security of travel insurance for Europe rather than to risk learning your lesson the hard way.
What documents do I need to travel to Europe?
The answer to this question will largely depend on if you’re traveling to a country that is included in the Schengen Area or not. Keep in mind: not all European countries are part of the Schengen Area. Some European countries are part of the Schengen Area, some are part of the European Union, and some are part of both.
Here’s the difference between Europe, the European Union, and the Schengen Area: Europe is a continent that comprises 50 different countries. Within that continent, different countries have various agreements and accords with each other. The European Union is made up of 28 European countries that have formed a political and economic union. On the other hand, the Schengen Area, which consists of 26 European countries, is a zone where all of the member countries have gotten rid of internal borders. This means that once you’ve entered the Schengen Area, you can move freely from one country to another.
What countries are in the Schengen area?
Here are the 26 countries in the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
From those countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland don’t bellow to the European Union.
What countries required a Schengen visa to visit the Schengen area?
If you are not one from one of the next 62 countries, you will need a Schengen visa: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
However, in 2021, the European visa situation will change. Travelers from certain countries will need an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), while others will need a Schengen Visa. The whole situation can be rather complex and confusing, so to help you, below is an explanation of the Schengen Visa vs. the ETIAS.
Schengen Visa vs. ETIAS
The Schengen Visa currently allows travelers who can’t visit Schengen countries without a visa to travel around Europe. This visa will continue to serve that purpose even after 2021.
On the other hand, the ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization designed to strengthen travel security in Europe (not only in the Schengen Area).
It is specifically geared toward citizens of the 62 countries mentioned above who do not currently need a visa to travel to and around Europe.
Starting in 2021, these travelers who can currently travel to Europe without a visa will need authorization in order to travel to Europe. This will be a big change for citizens of countries like the United States, who can currently travel to Europe without even having to worry about any kind of visa.
Basically, travelers who have always used the Schengen Visa to travel to Europe will still need a Schengen Visa after 2021. However, travelers from the 62 countries who, prior to 2021, never needed a visa to travel to Europe will, starting in 2021, need to obtain either ETIAS approval or a Schengen Visa. Travelers do not need both.
Note: Citizens of the U.K. will also need ETIAS to visit other countries in Europe if Brexit goes through in October 2019.
Which European countries will require ETIAS?
ETIAS doesn’t only apply to the Schengen area but to some other countries in Europe too. These are the European countries that will require ETIAS upon arrival: Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Malta, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
In the next map, you will see all the countries that require ETIAS. Some of them belong to the European Union, some of them to the Schengen Area but not the European Union and some of them to the European Union but not the Schengen area.
Hopefully, our explanation cleared up at least some of your confusion about ETIAS and the visa changes coming in 2021. I strongly recommend that you consult on iVisa your particular case to know what kind of visa or authorization you need.
Which documents are required to get a Schengen Visa
If you’re traveling to the Schengen Area and need a Schengen Visa, these are the documents required:
- Visa application form
- Two recent photos
- A valid passport
- Full trip reservation or itinerary
- Travel insurance for Europe
- Evidence of where you’re staying
- Evidence of sufficient finances
- Evidence that you’ve paid the visa fee
This means that countries in the Schengen Area are the countries in Europe where you absolutely need travel insurance. For countries that aren’t in the Schengen Area, you should check with the specific embassy of that country for document requirements.
Do I need travel insurance to visit the Schengen area?
If you need a Schengen Visa, then it is mandatory to get a Europe travel insurance to apply for the Visa. However, even if you don’t need a Schengen Visa, but an ETIAS, it is recommended to buy travel insurance for Europe before your trip.
European travel insurance is always a good choice if you want security and peace of mind in any unexpected situation. Lost baggage? You’re covered. Flight delay? All set. Medical emergency? No worries.
Whatever your visa situation, get some kind of European travel insurance coverage when you visit Europe. As we’ve mentioned above, it’s always best to be prepared and protected in case of any unexpected situation.
What kind of travel insurance do I need for a Schengen visa?
As we’ve covered above, travel insurance for a Schengen Visa is mandatory. You won’t get your visa without it! However, not any travel insurance is valid to get your visa. A minimum requirement should be met in order your visa is approved.
Here are the Schengen Visa travel insurance requirements:
- A minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical emergencies and accidents: keep in mind that European medical expenses aren’t cheap. If you buy cheap European travel insurance that only covers the minimum of 30,000 euros and you end up needing an operation that costs €50,000, you’ll have to pay €20,000 out of pocket. Do yourself a favor and shell out a bit more for extra coverage and security.
- Coverage of repatriation fees in case of medical incidents or death: if you suddenly need to return to your country, your insurance has to cover the cost.
- Coverage of all 26 Schengen Area countries that lasts the entire length of your trip: Even if you’re not planning to visit all 26 countries (which would be mega ambitious!), you need to be covered in all of them. Make sure you check the fine print of your insurance policy to ensure you don’t have any problems when you apply for your visa.
How do I get a quote?
Now you know you need Europe travel insurance for a Schengen Visa. What’s next? Buying it, of course!
Below, we give you a step-by-step guide to buying travel insurance for Europe online and to get your travel insurance for Europe quote.
In this section, we will explain you step-by-step how to get a Europe travel insurance quote from the two best companies from the comparison above: World Nomads and IMG (booked through Insuremytrip to get the Anytime Advocates service).
World Nomads travel insurance quote for Europe
Let’s start with getting a World Nomads travel insurance quote for Europe. It only takes a couple of minutes.
- Go to worldnomads.com.
- Click on “Get a Price”.
- Input your details: the countries/regions you’re traveling to, your home country, the dates of your trip, and your age. We used our previous example of a 30-year-old male from Pennsylvania (USA) who is traveling to Spain for 15 days.
- Click “Get a Price.”
- You’ll be shown your quote for the “Standard” and “Explorer” plans. Scroll down for more information on each plan.
- Choose the plan you want to buy and click on it: either “Buy Standard” or “Buy Explorer.”
- Complete the personal details and payment information, and submit it. You’re all set!
IMG travel insurance quote via Insuremytrip
Let’s get now a quote for buying IMG iTravelInsured SE through Insuremytrip. Remember: you want to buy through Insuremytrip so you can take advantage of their “Anytime Advocates” service, which can help you file claims and advocate for you if your claim is denied.
- Go to insuremytrip.com.
- Input the country/countries where you’re traveling and click “Start a Quote.”
- Input your travel dates, age, citizenship, and residence, and click “Next.”
- Input your total trip cost and the date your first deposit was made (optional), and click “Next.”
- Select everything you’re planning to do on your trip. Then click “See Plans & Prices.” For our example, we just selected “Taking a flight” and “Staying in a hotel or resort.”
- IMG’s plan isn’t listed in the first few plans, so scroll down and click “Go to all 36 comprehensive plans.”
- Find IMG iTravelInsured SE and click “Buy this plan.”
- Complete the personal details and payment information.
- Submit everything. You’re done!
How much is travel insurance for a Schengen visa?
You may be asking yourself a couple of questions: How do I get cheap travel insurance for Europe? How much is travel insurance for Europe?
Well, never fear! We’re here to help, so we’ve made a handy comparison chart for you below. You’ll see we’ve compared World Nomads and IMG plans based on length of trip and price. Keep in mind this is just an estimate since your price will be based on a variety of factors, including residency, age, and cost of the trip. We’ve used our usual example of a 30-year-old male from Pennsylvania (USA) who is traveling to Spain, and for Insuremytrip, we said the trip cost $2,000 and would involve a flight and hotel stay.
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How much is travel insurance for Europe?
Tips for buying travel insurance for Europe
We realize this article contains a lot of important information, so to help sum it up for you, we’ve compiled our best tips for buying travel insurance for Europe:
- Know your visa requirements: if you need a Schengen Visa, travel insurance is mandatory! Make sure you know all the things your Schengen Visa insurance should cover before you purchase it.
- Decide your budget and the level of coverage you want: both these factors will affect what kind of travel insurance for Europe you end up purchasing.
- Do your research: compare all the best European travel insurance companies so you know you’re getting the insurance that’s best for you. Use our article as a guide, as well as Insuremytrip, to help you compare plans and prices.
- Make sure you have decent customer service assistance: if you experience a problem while you’re traveling around Europe, you’ll want to know that your insurance company is there to help you. That’s why we’ve suggested purchasing World Nomads, or IMG iTravelInsured SE insurance through Insuremytrip, so that you get their “Anytime Advocates” assistance to help you file claims and support you if your claim is denied.
Note: If you like any of the other insurance policies offered on Insuremytrip leave us a comment and we will check how good the customer service assistance is.