Insurance is not a mandatory requirement to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver and visit the Schengen area. However, plenty of countries around the world ask foreigners to get insured before they travel as part of their visa policy.
This is because there are plenty of advantages to getting insured. These vary from the cover of medical expenses and repatriation to assistance when luggage is lost or flights are delayed. Many travel insurance policies also cover part of the non-refundable costs of your trip if you have to cancel it.
Travel insurance is often the only way to get help in case of medical emergencies and an urgent need to return home — circumstances where the embassy or consulate can’t help (with some exceptions).
Many travellers think of travel insurance as a necessary step in planning their time abroad — just like applying for their visa. This page illustrates some factors to take into consideration when deciding whether to get travel insurance.
Is it worth getting travel insurance for Europe?
Ultimately — unless it is a mandatory visa requirement to enter the country you wish to visit — getting insured is a personal decision and will depend on your circumstances.
However, there are undeniable financial benefits to getting insured. Most people cannot afford to lose the budget they have put into their trip away should something causes your plans to change. Travel insurance will allow you to recover your money in case you have to cancel your trip.
There are plenty of travel insurance options with trip cancellation benefits that can help you get your money back. Reimbursement for prepaid, non-refundable trip costs is normally available when you have to cancel for one of many common situations.
Examples of commonly covered reasons for cancellation include:
- Injury or illness of the insured
- Injury or illness of a family member or travel companion of the insured
- Death of a family member or travel companion of the insured
- Natural disasters or other circumstances making your travel destination dangerous
Travel insurance and medical coverage overseas
When asked “What is travel insurance used for?” most people think of medical emergencies overseas.
That is because the great majority of healthcare facilities around the world will bill foreigners for medical treatment — even in the case of an emergency. Some will require an upfront cash payment and it is very unlikely that they will accept foreign health insurance.
Even in countries where healthcare is public and free for the local population — like the EU — foreigners may not be treated for free. Healthcare is known to be extremely expensive (no matter where you are in the world). An incident abroad requiring hospitalization can break the bank for many people.
These are some of the things you can expect from travel insurance with medical coverage:
- Refund you for healthcare costs you incurred while abroad.
- Refund you for emergency dental care costs you had to pay for during your trip.
- Refund you the costs of emergency medical transportation.
- Pay for you to be transported back home.
Remember: some policies will even pay for all of the above in advance.
How can travel insurance help with missing luggage and delays?
Lost luggage and travel delays may not seem as serious as a medical emergency. Yet, a holiday is one of the worst moments to go through frustrating experiences that may ruin your trip abroad.
Cancelled flights, missing bags, and missed connections may force you to waste hours and even days of your vacation.
Here are a few ways in which travel delay and baggage delay benefits can help in these situations:
- Refund additional accommodation costs
- Refund additional travel expenses
- Refund the costs of purchasing essential travel items if your luggage is lost or significantly delayed
How much should I pay for travel insurance?
Travel insurance prices and conditions vary greatly. That is because levels of coverage or affordability can vary between policies. However, finding the right fit and getting insured may be one of the most effective ways to save money while travelling.
Besides the overall cost of your trip, travel insurance companies will take into consideration your specific circumstances when calculating the cost of your insurance. Factors affecting the price of insurance policies may include:
- The age of the travellers
- The number of travellers
- The length of the trip
- The type of coverage