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Schengen Area travel insurance for Europe
Whether you're stopping in one country or all 26, protect yourself on your European trip.
The Schengen Area is made up of 26 European countries and states — all part of the Schengen Agreement, which erases borders within the European Union to allow travelers to go from country to country without a visa. If you’re planning on traveling to Europe, it’s a good idea to get a comprehensive travel insurance policy to protect you in case something goes wrong.
Compare Schengen Area travel insurance plans
What are the Schengen countries?
The Schengen Agreement covers the following countries and states:
- The Schengen Zone should not be confused with the European Union. While 22 of the Schengen member states are also members of the EU, they have different trade and travel regulations.
How does traveling to the Schengen Area work?
If you’re traveling to a Schengen country for less than 90 days within a six-month period, you won’t need a visa to cross the border. However, you will need to meet passport requirements for each Schengen country you visit.
For example, officials often want to see at least 90 days left before your passport’s expiration, even if you plan a shorter trip. Emergency passports may not be accepted in all Schengen countries like France. You can check your country’s entry and exit requirements on the US Department of State website.
What does travel insurance cover?
Most travel medical insurance plans allow you to tailor your coverage to suit your needs and budget. Some areas of coverage to consider include:
- Overseas medical emergencies. This is the most important area of coverage, and even the most bare-bones policy should cover you for doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations and medications. A comprehensive policy can also include coverage for medical evacuation, which is a good idea if you plan to visit somewhere remote.
- Cancellations and lost deposits. If your trip is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, like dangerous weather or the death of a relative, your insurer can reimburse you.
- Accidental death or disablement. Benefits are provided if you die or are permanently disabled because of an injury from your trip.
- Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal belongings. If your luggage never makes it to baggage claim or your wallet is stolen on the way to the hotel, your insurer can reimburse you. Comprehensive policy can also include coverage for delayed baggage to help cover the cost of emergency clothes and toiletries.
- Travel delays. This benefit covers hotel stays and food when your travel is delayed. If you miss your connection because of a flight delay, your insurer can cover the cost to continue on with your trip.
- Terrorism coverage. You can add coverage for injury or illness from an act of terrorism.
- Pre-existing conditions. Some policies allow you to take out coverage for the sudden recurrence of a pre-existing medical condition.
Is travel insurance required?
Travel insurance is required when applying for a Schengen visa. To qualify for the visa, you’re required to prove you have a moderate amount of medical coverage, including for medical transportation and repatriation. However, other types of coverage could benefit you as well, especially if you face the risk of losing your luggage or canceling your trip altogether.
You wouldn’t need travel insruance if you’re visiting for less than 90 days using just your passport.
What doesn’t travel insurance cover?
Schengen area travel insurance will typically not cover your claim because of:
- A pre-existing condition. If you get sick due to a pre-existing treatment not included on your policy, your insurer can refuse to pay out.
- Non-urgent medical needs. This includes elective surgery, immunizations or routine physical exams, UTIs and traveling to another country for the explicit purpose of seeing a doctor.
- Pregnancy. Not all policies will cover pregnancy-related complications, so read your policy carefully if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- STDS. Insurance will rarely pay to treat STDs. You also won’t be covered for emergency contraception or abortion.
- Risky activities. If you plan to go bungee jumping, play contact sports or try scuba diving, check with your insurer to find out if you’re covered.
- Mental health problems. This includes treatment for anxiety, depression, attempted suicide or any self-inflicted injury.
- Reckless behavior. This includes acting illegally, drinking excessively or using any drugs not prescribed by your doctor.
Traveling without medical coverage
Before their trip to Greece, Marcus and Jane decided not to buy travel coverage because it wasn’t required in the Schengen Area. During the trip, Jane was hospitalized with a kidney problem and later evacuated back to the US for further treatment.
Jane’s medical bills included:
- Initial examination and tests
- Hospital bed
- Incidentals in hospital, such as food
- Surgery back home
Total medical costs: $65,000
Because Jane and Marcus had no overseas medical coverage, they had to take out a loan to pay for the expenses.
Who do I contact in an emergency?
In the event of an emergency, contact:
- Your insurer. Their 24/7 helpline should be clearly displayed on your policy.
- Emergency services. Look up the number for police and ambulance dispatch for every country you plan to visit and save them as contacts in your phone before you leave.
- US embassy or consulate. If you lose your passport, get into legal trouble or if there’s a countrywide emergency, contact the nearest US embassy or consulate.
Whether you’re spending a week sipping wine in Tuscany or a summer backpacking across the continent, Europe holds a beautiful array of cultures, languages and landscapes. Before you pack your bags, don’t forget to pack the most important thing — a travel insurance policy to keep you safe on the adventure.
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