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How to Obtain Schengen Travel Insurance?

Schengen travel insurance plays a crucial role when traveling to the Schengen Area, as it is often required to obtain a Schengen visa.

Understanding Schengen Travel Health Insurance

Before starting the purchasing process, you must understand what exactly is Schengen travel insurance and who needs it. As stipulated by Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council of 13 July 2009, which entered into force on April 5, 2010, all foreign nationals who apply for a Schengen visa must submit proof of purchased travel insurance.

How to Buy Schengen Travel Insurance?

You can purchase your Schengen insurance by finding a reputable and approved insurance provider and picking a policy for your Schengen travels— keep in mind the following steps when buying your policy:

  1. Find out where to buy your insurance.
  2. Pick out an insurance policy.
  3. Purchase your Schengen insurance.
  4. Submit proof of travel insurance.

Find Out Where to Buy Your Insurance

Schengen insurance providers are typically pre-approved by your country’s Schengen embassies/consulates. To identify approved providers, visit the website of your Schengen destination within your country. While some embassies may accept providers outside the approved list if they meet the Schengen insurance requirements, it is advisable to prioritize providers from the embassy-approved list.

In terms of providers, you can usually opt for one of the following:

  • A local insurance provider. Local insurance providers are usually operating in your home country. You can find them listed along with other approved providers. Local companies may offer more affordable prices for your Schengen insurance, but this varies significantly on the provider.
  • An international insurance provider. International providers usually operate globally and offer coverage outside of the Schengen Area. This may be a good option if you travel outside the Schengen Member Countries on the same trip. Overall, international providers may have higher prices depending on the benefits they offer you.

Some of the best international providers approved by the majority of Schengen members include:

  • AXA.
  • Allianz.
  • Europ Assistance.
  • MondialCare.

Note: the list of pre-approved insurance providers posted on a Schengen embassy/consulate in your country will usually contain both options (local and international providers).

Pick Out Your Schengen Insurance

Once you have identified a provider from the pre-approved list set out by the embassy or consulate, it’s important to note that the provider may offer different Schengen insurance policies to choose from. While all policies must meet the mandatory requirements, there can be variations in coverage limits, benefits, and pricing.

For example, let’s say you have selected an international provider from the approved list, like Europ Assistance. They usually offer two Schengen insurance plans. One is the Schengen Plus insurance policy with higher coverage limits and additional benefits but a higher premium. The other policy, simply Schengen insurance, on the other hand, has lower coverage limits and fewer additional benefits but is more affordable.

In this case, it becomes crucial to carefully review and compare the policies offered by Europ Assistance. Assess your needs, such as the required coverage limits and any additional benefits you prioritize. Consider your budget and determine the level of coverage that provides adequate protection for your Schengen trip.

Purchasing Your Schengen Insurance

As soon as you pick out your policy and provider, you have to purchase your Schengen insurance— there are different ways in which you can complete the purchase, as listed here:

  • Buy your insurance in person. Visit the physical office or branch of an insurance provider to purchase Schengen insurance with the assistance of their representatives.
  • Buy your insurance online. Many insurance providers offer the convenience of purchasing Schengen insurance online through their website. This allows you to compare policies, select the one that meets your needs, and complete the payment process from the comfort of your home.
  • Buy your insurance via a travel agency. Travel agencies sometimes offer Schengen insurance as part of their travel packages. When booking your trip through a travel agency, you can inquire about including Schengen insurance in your package. The travel agency will handle your insurance purchase and payment process.
  • Buy your insurance via an insurance broker. Insurance brokers act as intermediaries between insurance companies and customers. They can help you navigate various insurance options, provide advice, and assist you in purchasing suitable Schengen insurance. An insurance broker, such as Insubuy, can guide you through the options, provide guidance, and help you purchase suitable Schengen insurance.

You can pay for your insurance using a credit, debit card, cash, or bank transfer, depending on your chosen method.

Submitting Proof of Travel Insurance for the Schengen Visa

Regardless of how and with whom you purchase your Schengen insurance, you must retrieve proof of purchased insurance, either a certificate or another official document, to submit it as a part of your Schengen visa application.

Your insurance company must provide you with this certificate or official document detailing the following information:

  • Full policy information. The certificate should clearly state that it is an insurance policy specifically designed for Schengen visa purposes.
  • Insurance company details. Include the full name, address, and contact information of the insurance company providing the coverage.
  • Policyholder information. Your full name as the policyholder, should be clearly stated on the certificate.
  • Policy number. The unique identification number assigned to your policy should be mentioned.
  • Effective dates. The certificate should indicate the start and end dates of the coverage. Ensure that the policy is valid for the entire duration of your planned stay in the Schengen Area.
  • Coverage amount. The insurance certificate should state the coverage amount in euros (€) and indicate that it meets the minimum coverage requirements set by the Schengen visa regulations (€30,000 or more).
  • Coverage details. The certificate should outline the specific coverage, including medical expenses, emergency hospitalization, repatriation of remains, and emergency medical evacuation. It should also specify that the coverage extends to all Schengen Area countries.
  • Ensure that the certificate is issued in the required language or have it translated by a certified translator. The embassy may require the insurance certificate to be in a specific language.
  • Signature and stamp. The certificate should be signed and stamped by an authorized insurance company representative, indicating its authenticity.

Please note that in most cases, you can download and print this certificate your insurance provider sends you. Keep a copy for yourself and carry it with you during your travels.

What Happens After I Buy My Insurance?

After you buy your insurance and your visa application is approved, you can travel to the Schengen Area with peace of mind knowing you are covered in any unexpected event.

In case something happens, it’s important to understand how to use your insurance and how to file a claim, as listed here:

  1. Understand your policy. This includes understanding your policy’s coverage, benefits, and limitations, which will help you know the extent of your coverage while in the Schengen Area. Remember that you cannot use your insurance to cover anything not included in the policy.
  2. Carry insurance documents. Make sure to have your insurance certificate and policy documents readily available. These documents serve as proof of coverage and provide important contact information.
  3. Contact your insurance provider. It is crucial to reach out to your insurance provider as soon as possible if something happens so they can guide you through the necessary steps to receive appropriate medical care and eventually file a successful claim.
  4. Follow your provider’s instructions. Adhering to the guidelines provided by your insurance provider will ensure a smooth process and potentially enable you to seek reimbursement for eligible expenses.
  5. Keep relevant documents. Ensure you have organized and retained all necessary documents to file your claim. These documents may include medical reports, prescriptions, invoices, receipts, proof of payment, claim forms, proof of travel, incident reports, consent forms, and supporting documents.
  6. Complete claim forms accurately. Fill out the claim forms precisely, providing all the necessary details and including any supporting documentation as requested.
  7. Submit claim documents. Follow the instructions provided by your insurance provider to submit the completed claim forms and supporting documents.
  8. Follow up with provider. Stay in communication with your insurance provider to ensure your claim has been received and to inquire about the status or any additional requirements.
  9. Be patient, as the claim process may take time. Keep in mind that the processing time for claims may vary. Your insurance provider will carefully review your claim, assess its eligibility, and determine the coverage and reimbursement based on the terms and conditions of your policy.

Can I Purchase Schengen Travel Insurance If I Am Already Abroad?

No, if you need to apply for a Schengen visa, you must purchase your insurance before traveling, so you can submit proof of insurance with your visa application.

If you are traveling to the Schengen Area and don’t require a visa, you may purchase travel insurance after arriving— remember that your insurance will not cover anything up to that point.

What Documents Do I Need to Provide When Purchasing Schengen Travel Insurance?

Depending on your provider— this may change— but you usually need to submit your passport, identity card and other personal information, travel itinerary, medical information, etc.

How Long Does It Take to Receive the Insurance Policy After Purchase?

You will usually receive your policy immediately after purchasing and payment confirmation. But this varies by provider, and it can take a few days. Check with your provider for specific processing times and delivery methods.

Do not leave the purchase of your insurance last minute.

Can I Cancel or Change My Schengen Travel Insurance Policy After Purchase?

You can change or cancel your policy; however, depending on your provider, this process varies greatly. Some insurance companies allow you to cancel the policy entirely without repercussions if you do so within a specific time frame after purchasing your policy. Others may require you to pay additional cancelation fees.

This is why you must carefully check and review your insurance policy guidelines and understand their cancellation policy.

Are There Any Age Restrictions for Purchasing Schengen Travel Insurance?

There are usually no age restrictions for Schengen insurance, as all visa applicants must possess valid insurance regardless of age. However, some insurance companies may be more hesitant to cover senior citizens, and you may need to turn to a policy specific to older applicants.

Can I Use My Existing Travel Insurance Policy for Schengen Travel?

If your current insurance is valid for your trip duration and meets all the Schengen insurance requirements, you may be able to use it without purchasing another policy. However, as mentioned above, most Schengen embassies/consulates have preferred or approved providers accepting insurance only from them. So, make sure to check with your Schengen destination embassy in your country.

Can I Buy a Group Insurance Policy?

Yes, you can purchase Schengen insurance that covers more than one person. However, each policyholder must present a copy of their insurance when applying for a Schengen visa.

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