Guide: Travel Insurance For Your Schengen Visa Application
What Is Schengen Visa Travel Health Insurance?
“Schengen Visa Travel Insurance” is an insurance designed to cover emergency health care costs incurred while traveling within the Schengen Area, and is a mandatory requirement that you must submit to the Embassy/Consulate when you apply for your Schengen Visa.
The Schengen travel insurance can cover emergency hospital treatment, such as the cost of a local ambulance to transport you to the hospital, emergency room expenses, the bill for your hospital room, etc.
Also, the travel insurance requested for your Schengen Visa application can protect you financially during your trip because it not only covers emergency medical treatment but also other unexpected situations such as trip cancellation and lost baggage.
However, its main purpose is to protect you in case of emergency health care costs.
The main difference between common health insurance and travel insurance is that the common health insurance offers pre-existing condition coverage (for example, pregnancy and paediatric care, annual checkups, mental health services, etc.) while travel insurance typically covers emergency medical treatment incurred outside of your country of residence and not pre-existing conditions or routine medical examinations.
Schengen Visa Travel Medical Insurance – Requirements
A Schengen Visa travel insurance policy must meet the following requirements:
● Minimum coverage
The minimum coverage for your Schengen insurance must be of at least 30,000 EUR.
● Coverage for all the countries within the Schengen Area
The insurance must cover the following 26 countries: 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.
You do not need to buy separate travel insurance policies for each Schengen country you visit because all the Member Countries have a common Visa policy, according to the Schengen Agreement.
● Coverage for all emergency health expenses
All emergency health expenses must be covered.
Your insurance should also cover the costs related to the repatriation to your home country for medical reasons and the costs for overseas funeral expenses.
● Valid for all the days you spend in the Schengen Area
Your insurance must also cover your day of arrival and day of departure.
For example, if you leave your country of residence and you enter the airport of one of the Schengen Countries late in the evening, your travel insurance must cover that day as well.
No matter the reason why you are applying for a Schengen Visa (business, tourism, or other reason) you MUST have Schengen Visa insurance as it is a mandatory requirement for all the Schengen Embassies/Consulates.
The price for Schengen Visa insurance varies according to the number of days you plan to spend in the Schengen Area and the type of insurance (for example, some insurance policies offer extended protection for the UK and other countries in EU that are not part of the Schengen Region, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus).
Important: When it comes to your Schengen Visa insurance, you should have a clear understanding of two key elements:
➢ The difference between ‘travel insurance’ and ‘travel medical insurance’
Typically, simple travel insurance protects just the financial investment aspect of your journey/trip (e.g., lost baggage, trip cancellation, hijacking, etc), while travel medical insurance covers both unexpected illness or injury that might occur abroad, as well as the financial aspects mentioned above.
Therefore, even if every travel insurance website uses the expression “Schengen Visa travel insurance” a more appropriate expression should be “Schengen travel medical insurance” because it covers both emergency medical expenses and travel expenses.
➢ Your travel insurance must be paid 100% upfront
You cannot “reserve” your travel insurance policy like in the case of your flight and hotel tickets (Embassy/Consulate officers allow you to make flight reservations and hotel reservations without paying upfront, as they are aware that in the unfortunate case of rejection this option allows you to save your money).
However, you should not be worried as Schengen Visa travel insurance isn’t expensive.
Also, you have the option to purchase a package that includes not only your Schengen Visa travel insurance but also all your flight and hotel reservations (just like the one offered by Visas Association) meaning that you will pay less for these services.
And last but not least, some companies that offer Schengen Visa travel insurance, including Visas Association, will refund you in the unlikely event that your visa application has been rejected (as long as you present proof and evidence that all requirements were submitted).
The Importance Of The Schengen Visa Travel Insurance
Schengen Visa travel insurance is one of the most important Visa requirements and is mandatory for all visitors and tourists.
To apply for a Schengen Visa, you must have insurance whether you are a student, employed, unemployed, or retired.
Having insurance coverage is not only important for your application (if you do not submit it your application may be rejected) but also for your own good, as it protects you in the unfortunate case of unexpected illness or injury that may occur during your trip to the Schengen Area.
The Embassies/Consulates require travel insurance for Schengen Visa because, in the unfortunate case that something goes wrong during the trip, medical emergencies can be really expensive and not all travellers can afford to pay the medical emergency treatment.
Consider this scenario: during your stay in the Schengen Area, you get injured after you slip on the ground and end up breaking your leg. At the hospital, you are requested to pay a very large amount of money. If you cannot afford to pay your medical bill, you will cause substantial economic damage to the hospital and become a burden on the country to cover your costs. This is the main reason why Embassy/Consulate officers require you to submit travel health insurance with your application (in other words, they are protecting the Schengen countries from financial loss).
Also, if you are asking yourself why it is so important that the Schengen travel health insurance covers all the 26 Schengen countries in case you do not plan to visit all of them, the answer is simple: because the Schengen Visa allows you to enter all these 26 countries – you cannot just get insurance for one country.
Remember that you are also requested to submit your detailed travel itinerary to the Embassy/Consulate meaning that you MUST declare all the internal travel you plan in the Schengen Area.
However, Embassy/Consulate officers cannot guarantee that an individual who booked a trip to only Switzerland won’t travel from Switzerland to Italy or any other Schengen country and this is another key reason why Embassy/Consulate officers will not accept a travel insurance policy that covers one or just a few countries in the Schengen Area (or any other type of insurance that does not cover all Schengen countries).
How To Get Schengen Travel Insurance And How To Choose One That Fits You Best?
You can get Schengen Visa insurance from a travel agency, travel insurance company or a company that offers services related to the Schengen Visa application (like Visas Association). They will provide you with an insurance certificate that you can print off and attach to your application.
You can enter the website of one of these companies/agencies and follow some easy steps (most of the time, you are required to fill out a form) or just contact them by phone or write on their email address and a customer service team will guide you. Once you pay for it with debit or credit card you will get your insurance certificate.
Also, if you want to save time and money you can book all of your hotel & flight reservations and travel insurance through Visas Association for one flat rate for up to 30 days of travel (for more information, do not hesitate to contact us).
Make sure the company you choose is licensed and provides cover to every country in the Schengen Zone (meaning that you must contact a Schengen travel insurance company and not just any company that offers travel insurance because not all of them are valid in the Schengen Zone).
Getting insurance for a Schengen Visa is not a difficult process.
However, we recommend you pay attention to two key elements when choosing it: the length of the trip (the number of days you plan to spend in the Schengen Zone) and your personal situation (in case there is any condition that may require you to choose a specific Schengen insurance policy).
● Length of your trip
You must choose your Schengen insurance according to the duration of the travel – please note that when you count the number of days you intend to spend in the Schengen Area you should include the day of arrival and the day of departure as well.
For example, you can choose a Schengen Visa travel insurance plan that is valid for 8, 15, 31, 45 days, and even more (some packages also offer Schengen Visa travel insurance that is valid for up to 180 days).
● Your personal situation
➢ You are over 75
We recommend you find a reputable Schengen Visa insurance company that offers travel insurance plans without age limits as many travel insurance companies offer for senior citizens insurance packages that are a lot more expensive.
➢ You travel to the Schengen Area by car
In this case, you may need Schengen travel insurance that also covers the loss of valuable possessions and car rental (in the unfortunate event of a car accident, you risk losing valuable objects).
➢ You plan to visit other countries outside the Schengen Area
With a Schengen Visa, you can visit the United Kingdom or other countries in Europe, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, or Croatia (you can find the full list of countries you can visit with a Schengen Visa here).
If you would like to see one of these countries, we suggest you purchase Schengen travel insurance valid for these countries as well, so that you can cover your entire trip in one travel insurance policy.
➢ You suffer from pre-existing conditions
If you suffer from diabetes, asthma, or any other condition for which you have received treatment or diagnosis before applying for your Schengen Visa, you should choose a Schengen travel insurance policy that covers medical treatment for any emergency caused by a pre-existing condition.
Alternatively, you can get additional insurance to assist you with these situations.
➢ You plan to practice sports with elements of risk during your trip to the Schengen Area
If you plan to practice skiing, scuba diving, surfing, skydiving, etc., you may need a Schengen Visa insurance package that covers medical expenses in case of injury occurred during practicing one of these sports.
Alternatively, you can get additional insurance.
➢ You plan to rent a car during your trip
You should choose a travel insurance policy that covers the damages of your rental car in the unfortunate event that you have a car accident.
➢ You are an employee
In case your employer offers you international medical insurance, we recommend you check and see if it covers the Schengen countries and if it meets the Schengen travel insurance requirements.
If the international medical insurance from your employer is valid also for the Schengen Area, you may need to check what type of policy covers and if there is any additional insurance you must get.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Getting Schengen Travel Insurance
Below you will find a list of common mistakes you should avoid when getting your Schengen insurance policy:
- Not getting travel insurance that covers the entire period spent in the Schengen Area, including the day of arrival and the day of departure.
For example, if a company offers 2 insurance packages, one that is valid for up to 30 days and one that is valid for up to 45 days and you are going to spend 32 days in the Schengen Area you should choose the package that is valid for up to 45 days (unless the company doesn’t allow you to pay per day).
- Getting travel health insurance that covers less than 30.000 EUR – The Embassy/Consulate officers will not accept it and you risk being rejected and jeopardising your travel plans.
- Not declaring pre-existing medical conditions – If you suffer from any pre-existing medical condition, you should declare that to the insurance company. Paying a little bit more for your Schengen insurance can help you save a lot of money in case of an emergency.
- Not getting Schengen travel medical insurance that covers other countries outside the Schengen Area in case you plan on visiting them.
For example, if you plan to visit Romania and Bulgaria during your trip (you can cross their borders using a Schengen Visa), you will have to get travel insurance that covers these countries as well (or, additional travel insurance). Otherwise, your Schengen Visa may be rejected (because you must declare all your travel itinerary and therefore the Embassy/Consulate officers will know exactly which countries you will enter.