You bought your airline tickets, you booked your hotel room, your bags are packed and you’re heading for an unforgettable trip to Europe. But wait, aren’t you forgetting something? Your travel insurance.
Difference between travel health insurance & travel insurance
Before we dive into the topic of travel insurance, let’s figure out the difference between travel health insurance and travel insurance. Travel health insurance covers medical and dental emergencies that you might face when traveling abroad and it’s required by law from some of Europe’s visitors.
A travel insurance covers non-medical related things like a lost luggage, stolen items, airplane ticket cancellation and so on. This type of insurance is not required for people visiting Europe, but it’s a nice add-on.
Is travel insurance worth it?
We’re not here to scare our readers, but it’s our responsibility to recommend getting a travel insurance, because we have had first-hand experiences of getting sick abroad and it was not fun. That’s why we’re listing the top reasons why you need travel health insurance for Europe and why a cheap travel insurance is worth the money.
It’s cheaper than getting sick: Like the famous saying goes, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Trust me, anything can happen while traveling. You will walk a lot, you’re doing fun activities, your body is not used to the environment so there’s a high chance you might get sick or sustain an injury.
Most insurance plans might cost you less than what it would cost to get to the emergency room, get tests done, buy medication and come back for follow-ups. So it’s better to get a cheap travel insurance and enjoy your vacation without worrying about unnecessary expenses.
I have my own horror story of getting sick abroad. The only year I traveled without travel insurance, I paid $110 + medication to get to the emergency room for a piece of metal that entered my eye. An international travel insurance would have cost me less than $40 and covered me for my whole trip and my follow up appointments if needed.
It’s good for when things don’t go as planned: This applies to travel insurance. Imagine you lose your luggage, you get mugged or your flight or hotel reservations gets canceled – a cheap travel insurance provider can refund you all these things if their policy states it. Some providers even give you a daily allowance including food, accommodation, taxis and phone calls in case of emergencies.
How to get a cheap travel insurance: World Nomads Travel Insurance
I choose World Nomads Travel Insurance as it has a great & fast customer support, worldwide coverage. Moreover, it donates a part of your payment to some humanitarian cause, so you’re actually doing some good buy choosing this company.
- Generates a quote easily
- Can include family members in plan
- Claims can be submitted online
- It covers many countries
- Fulfills Schengen visa requirement
- Their simple policy covers health, dental and travel emergencies
- A portion of your purchase goes to a humanitarian cause
Tips & Tricks when booking your World Nomads Travel Insurance
- From my experience, if you are doing a long trip that ranges several different countries it is better to book the insurance on a weekly basis. This way you lower the costs – because you are doing insurance for one country at a time -, and if something happens and you need to cancel your trip (it happened to me when travelling to Bolivia) you won’t need to ask for a refund.
How to make sure you get your money back
Not all travel insurance providers operate the same, but we’re giving some universal pointers that can help you make a successful claim.
Call first: When you’re facing an emergency situation aboard, call the number on your insurance certificate immediately. That way, you’ll know what to do and your insurance provider might send you the help you need. Also, some insurance companies refuse your claim or discount it if you don’t call beforehand.
Keep all your receipts: Don’t toss any of your receipts when you’re traveling because you might need to submit some of them with your insurance claim. That applies to things like clothing, medications and so on.
Print doctor forms: It’s better to print multiple doctor forms which are provided by your health insurance company before you leave and keep them with you. That way, when you see a doctor, he can fill the form on the spot so you can send a successful claim. Here’s an example of a doctor statement form.
Gather all reports: Whether it’s a police report or a doctor diagnoses, make sure you have a copy because your insurance provider might ask you for such document when you file your claim.
Ask questions before your trip: If you have any doubts about your insurance policy, it’s better to get in touch with the provider first and request information. Make sure this information is emailed to you so it’s kept in your records.
Do you need travel health insurance to visit Europe?
Citizens of certain countries are obligated by law to obtain a travel health insurance to enter Europe. However, there are countries that are exempted from this requirement. Read below to find out which case applies to you.
Case 1: Citizens of countries needing a short-term visa → Mandatory
If you’re on this list of these countries that need a visa to enter Europe, then travel insurance is mandatory. The coverage must be at least €30,000, but it’s always good to ask the nearest European consulate/embassy for the amount required.
Case 2: Citizens of the UK, European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland → Optional *
If you’re from the countries mentioned here, you don’t need travel insurance to travel within Europe short-term. You have the same rights to health access and health discounts as a citizen of the European country you’re visiting. All you need is to carry your European Health Insurance Card, which you can obtain in your home country. To learn more about EHIC card, visit this link.
However, if you lose your luggage or get robbed, you won’t be reimbursed unless you have a travel insurance. So it might be worth it to consider getting a at least a cheap travel insurance.
* UK citizens can still use their EHIC across Europe, for more info, click here.
Case 3: Citizens of the United States, Canada and Australia → Recommended
Travel insurance is not mandatory for citizens of the United States, Canada and Australia who are staying in Portugal for less than 90 days. However, if you face a health emergency and need to be hospitalized or if you lose your luggage, you will pay out of pocket and you won’t be reimbursed for the loss of your belongings. That’s why we highly recommend you to get a cheap travel insurance even if you’re not obligated to have one.
I am traveling with kids, do I need travel insurance?
It’s really a smart idea to get a travel insurance for your kids, especially when you’re visiting a foreign country. Traveling itself is already hard on adults’ immune system, can you imagine how it is for children? The kids run around, eat new food, drink water from a source they’re not used to and they have a high risk of getting sick. So you want to be prepared for the sake of your children’s safety and your bank account balance by getting a cheap travel insurance.
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