European Travel Insurance
Utilize this article to learn about appropriate travel insurance choices for Europe, as well as health insurance for the Schengen visa.
Europe is a leading destination for travelers from across the globe, but with a mixture of nationalized and privatized healthcare systems, ensuring appropriate health insurance as a tourist or traveler can be confusing. This article will help you understand healthcare agreements between countries in the EU, how to purchase an appropriate coverage for the Schengen visa, and provide a two great travel insurance options.
Travel within EU Countries
If you are traveling within the EU, in most cases you will be covered by the reciprocal agreements as part of the EU Social Security Coordination. Essentially, this means that you will be able to travel through Europe and receive medically-necessary care just as you would in your home country. It’s important to remember that there may be some differences in the way care is sought, and you may be responsible to pay a portion of the medical care out of pocket.
If you are already insured by a state social security system from any Member State of the EU, you are likely eligible for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Even though you will be able to seek necessary treatment, there are still many benefits that a reciprocal agreement won’t cover. For example, emergency medical evacuation, lost luggage and personal liability expenses are not part of this agreement. For these and other unforeseen expenses, it is ideal to purchase a travel medical insurance plan.
Travel from Outside the EU
If you are traveling from a country that is outside the EU, you will not be able to benefit from reciprocal healthcare agreements, and thus will need to purchase travel insurance to protect you.
For travel to Europe, there are a few ways you can approach this:
Purchase a local product that is denominated in € Euros and will be fully administered in Europe: In some cases, purchasing a travel insurance plan that is based in the country or region you are traveling can be the best option. Not only will administration of the insurance plan be on your time zone (should you need to use your plan), but you will benefit from the plan being in € Euros, and is more likely to be accepted than an international plan that could be in a foreign language.
One example of a great plan that’s administered in Europe with both plan benefits and premiums available in € Euros is the GlobeHopper Europe travel insurance plan.
Purchase an international travel insurance plan that is available in your home country: While purchasing a product that’s denominated in the local currency is likely to have more providers considered in-network, international plans typically allow you to seek coverage anywhere you would like. Even if you choose to visit a provider that doesn’t necessarily work with your plan’s network, you will still be able to seek care – you just may need to pay upfront and file a claim for reimbursement.
The Atlas Travel plan has a large network of providers around the world and offers 100% coverage outside of the USA, regardless of where you and your family seek coverage.
Insurance for the Schengen Visa
When traveling to Europe for 90 days or less within a 180 day period, you will likely be required to get a Schengen visa. This visa will allow you to travel freely between the 26 European countries belonging to the Schengen area without having to go through customs at each border. To qualify for the Schengen visa you will need to purchase a health insurance plan that meets a strict list of requirements, and also produce a letter from your insurance company, stating that each requirement is met.
This document is commonly called a visa letter and is available immediately upon purchase of most international travel medical insurance plans, so you can easily print it off and show the consulate at your visa appointment. Along with your name and dates of coverage, this document will list many important components of your insurance plan, such as the deductible, policy maximum, and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.
European Travel Insurance Plans
Regardless of where you may be traveling from or your health insurance back home, purchasing travel insurance for the European Union, and anywhere else for that matter, is an absolute necessity. Many domestic insurance plans won’t provide coverage outside of your home country, and even if they do they won’t include the travel-related benefits you and your family will need for a trip to the EU.
Travel insurance plans are specifically designed to travel with you around the world and will help cover the cost of regular doctor visits, transportation to a nearby hospital in the case you are seriously injured, and will even cover the costs of transporting your body home if you were to pass away on your trip – all benefits typically not covered by a domestic option. They also offer high policy maximums and the flexibility to choose your own deductible, making these plans comprehensive, yet affordable.
Common Benefits or Travel Insurance Plans:
- Doctor visits and Hospitalizations
- Lost Luggage
- Travel Delays
- Emergency Dental
- Personal Liability
- Emergency Reunion
- Travel and Document Assistance
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Repatriation of Remains
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment
There are many great travel insurance options available for travel to Europe, two of which being the Atlas Travel and GlobeHopper Europe Travel plans. Both will offer comprehensive coverage, including the benefits mentioned above, as well as no coinsurance for trips outside of the United States, regardless of where you or your family chooses to seek treatment. They also offer visa letters upon purchase, which will be necessary for a Schengen visa, making them ideal options for European travel.
With many great travel insurance options available, we understand that choosing the best plan for your situation can be difficult. If you would like help weighing your options or a personalized quote, please contact a licensed insurance agent for help.
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