As Spain does not have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement in place with the New Zealand government, you will not automatically receive and subsidised medical care if you fall ill or are injured while travelling. The right travel insurance for Spain can cover you for medical expenses overseas, as well as issues like cancellation costs, lost and stolen luggage, lost passports, unforeseen travel delays as well as the specific travel concerns of Spain.
find out more about comparing travel insurance for Spain
5 Spanish travel concerns that make travel insurance essential
Crime. Although Spain has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, street crime is still a problem in Spain. Petty crime such as bag snatching and pick pocketing is common, particularly in tourist areas and on public transport. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure personal belongings. (Source: SafeTravel)
Terrorism.Spain has been a target for mass casualty terrorist attacks in the past, and remains a subject of terrorist activity. Exercise a high degree of vigilance in public places, particularly at tourist sites, shopping areas and transport hubs.(Source: SafeTravel)
Demonstrations and strikes. Protests regularly occur close to tourist areas and cause disruptions to traffic and public transport, leading to delays and cancellations. New Zealanders in Spain are advised to avoid all demonstrations and protests. (Source: SafeTravel)
Credit card and ATM fraud. Credit card and ATM fraud are on the rise in Spain and often involve the use of sophisticated electronic equipment. As a result, travellers are advised to use the ATMs provided in bank lobbies for extra security.
Spanish Terror Threat
Craig had booked a four-week European holiday to take in some of the continent’s must-see destinations. After a few days in Paris he planned to head to Barcelona for five days and then catch a train to Italy. But while Craig was in Paris, Spanish authorities received a credible terror threat for Barcelona and raised the terror alert level to 5. They cancelled all train transport to Barcelona, which had been Craig’s planned method of arrival, and shut down large parts of the city centre.
Craig was left with little option but to cancel the Barcelona leg of his journey, leaving him almost €1,000 out of pocket in the form of lost accommodation, transport and tour costs. Luckily, Craig had taken out comprehensive travel insurance for Spain before departing New Zealand so he was able to be reimbursed for the full amount.
Five extreme activities that you should consider adding as extras in Spain
While some travellers would be happy spending their Spanish holiday relaxing on the beach, others prefer to experience things at a much faster pace.
Mountain biking. The Andalucian Mediterranean mountains offers a scenic and tranquil journey through various heights and terrains
Canyoning. Andalucia is home to some of Europe’s best canyons and rivers. Some companies offer exploration packages through the canyons which feature abseiling, climbing and swimming
Trekking. Spain is home to some stunning trekking adventures, particularly in territories like the Costa del Sol’s mountain ranges
Sailing. There’s no better way to enjoy the majestic Mediterranean Sea than by sailboat, departing from the Port of Marbella
Quad biking. The El Chorro region of Spain is home to rugged countryside terrain and offers a quad biking challenge for all levels of experience
Always check with your policy
Depending on the activities you are participating in you may need to purchase additional cover for your policy. For example, a travel Insurance company may automatically cover no-contact boxing training, kayaking, bungee jumping and more. But if you want to go abseiling, deep sea fishing or white water rafting, you’ll need to pay an extra premium and purchase a Sports/Leisure Activities Pack with your policy.
Does travel insurance for Spain cover ‘The Running of the Bulls’?
The iconic running of the bulls at Pamplona attracts thousands of adventure seekers to Spain each year. It’s also a recipe for disaster, and there are regular reports of tourists being severely injured in the annual event.
Because the event is so dangerous, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to find an insurer willing to cover you for participation in this event. Some companies will specifically exclude it from cover, so expect to cover your own medical expenses if you’re injured during the running of the bulls.
If I’m involved in a medical emergency in Spain, how am I covered?
Make sure you have travel insurance
While UK and European residents with European Health Insurance Cards can access free or reduced-cost medical care, New Zealand travellers will need to ensure that they have travel insurance that covers their overseas medical expenses (New Zealand has no reciprocal health care agreement with Spain). If anything goes wrong on your trip, from a visit to a GP through to emergency evacuation and repatriation, you’ll be covered with travel insurance.
Your insurer can assist you with finding treatment
If you require medical care while in Spain, your travel insurer may be able to provide a list of recommended doctors in your area. You may also be able to find an English-speaking doctor by asking for help at your hotel or using the Yellow Pages. In an emergency situation, you travel insurer’s medical team can often assist you by guaranteeing payment to the hospital and direct you to the closest hospital.
Hold onto all documents
Hopefully your holiday plans run to perfection and nothing goes wrong, but if you do need to make a claim you’ll need to notify your insurer as soon as possible. You may need to fill out a claim form and provide full details of the incident that led to your claim, while you will also be asked to supply evidence or documentation to support your claim. This may include police reports, receipts and evaluations. If your claim relates to an incident of theft, make sure you report that theft to the local authorities as soon as possible and get a written copy of that report.
What are the specific entry requirements for Spain?
Visa and travel insurance
Spain is a party to the Schengen Convention which, among other things, means that travellers who wish to stay for more than 90 days within Schengen Zone area countries will need to obtain a visa. In order to get a visa, you’ll need to have travel insurance in place.
Passport valid for at least 6 months after
Finally, make sure that your passport has at least six months until expiry following your expected date of return to New Zealand.
When is the best time to travel to Spain?
While the weather is warmest in summer, this also means it can be unbearably hot in some places and also means you’ll have to share the beaches with lots of other tourists. Winter is quieter and features more cultural festivals and events, but the weather can be inclement and you won’t get to experience those famous Spanish beaches.
To help plan your trip to Spain, check out average temperatures and weather conditions throughout the year and examine an annual events calendar to pick the ideal time to visit. Examining flight and accommodation prices is also a good idea.
Organising money for Spain
What currency do I need?
The currency required in Spain is the Euro. The Euro is one of the most popularly traded global currencies so you won’t have any trouble obtaining Euros from a foreign exchange bureau.
Money tips for Spain
Don’t exchange currency at airport booths. You’ll find much better exchange rates elsewhere
Sunday closures. Banks and exchange bureaus are often closed on Sundays
Using a debit card at an ATM is a fast and easy way to get cash. Just make sure that you won’t be slugged with large foreign transaction fees
Be aware of travel money card fees. If you’re planning on using a prepaid travel money card, make sure you’re aware of all the fees that may apply to your transactions
Who do I contact in an emergency?
While you can call the European emergency number of 112 if you ever need help in Spain, there are other specific numbers you can also call:
062 – guardia civil
091 – police
061 – health emergencies
080 – fire fighters
092 – local police
Contact your insurer and home
Consider whether you should contact friends, family, your credit card provider or your travel insurance company. Most travel insurers have 24-hour emergency numbers that can be helpful when you need help finding accommodation, a doctor, or in a range of other situations. You can find the contact details of New Zealand Embassies in Spain on the MFAT website.
Travel insurance traps you must avoid in Spain
When travelling in Spain you must be aware these circumstances that will exclude your travel insurance
Leaving belongings and valuable items unattended e.g. tourists have been known to be victims of theft in cities like Madrid and Barcelona
Losses that occur from being under the influence of drugs or alcohol e.g. hurting yourself partying in Ibiza.
Taking part in adventure activities not covered by your travel insurance policy e.g. quad biking in El Chorro.
You visit a region in Spain where the New Zealand Government has issued a travel advisory warning.
Claims that arise from breaking the law e.g. driving without a license.
5 steps to selecting travel insurance for Spain
When selecting the level of travel insurance you will need, ask yourself these five questions
Where are you going? Understand where in Spain you will be visiting e.g. there may be a higher chance of travel disruptions in Madrid and Barcelona
How long are you going for. This will help you decide if you need to take out extended cover
What will you do there? Look for a policy with cover for adventure sports if you plan on quad biking through the Spanish country side
Are you taking valuable items? Consider extra cover for expensive cameras and electronics
Do you have any medical conditions? Declare your pre-existing medical conditions and pay for the necessary premium
Maurice Thach is a publisher at Finder who covers anything that sounds hard to compare. This includes life insurance policies, side hustle ideas and energy plans. Maurice has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales, a Tier 2 General Insurance certification and a Tier 1 Life Insurance certification. Outside of work, you'll probably find Maurice hitting up the nearest basketball court.
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