Travel insurance for Europe: How it works

If you’re planning a European holiday, ensuring you buy European travel insurance provides valuable peace of mind should anything go wrong

Travel insurance for Europe is vital, whether you’re going away for a couple of days or taking a longer break. This is also known as Schengen travel insurance as it provides cover in all 26 countries that make up the Schengen Area (where countries have abolished border controls at their mutual borders).

Comprehensive policies will not only cover you for medical emergencies, but also cancellation costs and lost or stolen luggage. Here, we explain what to watch out for when buying cover, and which countries European travel insurance covers. 

Do I need travel insurance for Europe?

Travel insurance for Europe provides you with a financial safety blanket so if anything goes wrong while you’re away, you won’t have to cover any losses or bills yourself. For example, if you have to cancel your trip before you travel due to illness or injury, or you need medical treatment while you’re away, your travel policy should cover these costs. Although it’s not a legal requirement to have travel insurance to travel to Europe, it could prove a serious false economy to leave home without it.

What countries are included in Europe travel insurance?

Europe travel insurance policies typically cover every country on the European continent, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Malta and Italy. However, some Europe travel insurance policies cover certain countries outside Europe too, such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, so if you’re planning a trip to one of these countries, don’t assume you’ll need a worldwide travel insurance policy.

European travel insurance will also cover holidays you take in the UK, provided your accommodation has been pre-booked.

How much is travel insurance to Europe?

The amount you pay for European travel insurance will depend on several different factors, such as your age, whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions, and the type of cover you want. For example, if you’re planning several European breaks over the year, it may be more cost-effective to take out an annual policy rather than several single trip policies. 

Generally, travel insurance to Europe is cheaper than travel insurance to countries further afield, with costs starting from just a few pounds for shorter trips.

What should my travel insurance policy cover?

There are several things to look out for when buying travel insurance for Europe. Most importantly, you’ll want a policy that provides comprehensive medical cover for all ages and conditions, so that if you face any unexpected medical expenses while you’re away, these will be covered. 

Your European travel policy should also cover your personal belongings, so if these are lost or stolen you won’t have to foot the bill to replace them yourself. Make sure your policy covers cancellation or curtailment up to the value of your trip, so that if you’re unable to travel your costs will be covered.

It’s also worth checking any policy you’re considering provides Covid-19 cover, which will protect you financially if your trip is affected by Coronavirus. You should make sure the policy includes cover for emergency medical expenses if you contract Covid-19 while you’re away, cancellation cover if you’re unable to travel or have to cut short your trip, and repatriation cover to bring you back to the UK if needed.

Can I still use my EHIC card?

If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that hasn’t expired, it will be valid until it runs out. The card entitles you to state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or for free. 

It is being replaced by the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which also enables UK travellers to state healthcare when travelling to Europe. The GHIC will not be valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

Neither the EHIC nor the GHIC should be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. These cards won’t provide you with any financial protection if your trip has to be cut short, for example, or if any personal possessions are lost or stolen when you’re away. They also don’t cover repatriation, whereas travel insurance will.

Travelling to Europe with a pre-existing medical condition

Some insurers won’t cover pre-existing health conditions, but there are policies that will provide you with specialist medical travel insurance for Europe. This means you can travel without having to worry that you’ll face hefty medical bills if you need treatment for your condition while you’re away.

Remember that it’s essential to be up front about any medical conditions you have as if you need to claim for an illness that you knew you had but didn’t disclose to your insurer, your claim will likely be refused.

When you buy medical travel insurance for Europe, you’ll be asked various questions about your condition, so that your policy can be tailored to your needs. 

Insuring your next trip to Europe

If you’re travelling to Europe and looking for travel insurance to give you peace of mind, let us introduce you to Telegraph Media Group Travel Insurance, provided by AllClear. Whether you have a pre-existing medical condition, or are looking for a policy which covers Covid-19 claims, AllClear can provide trusted cover to suit your needs. 

  • Get a quote today for your perfect policy with AllClear, providers of the Telegraph Media Group Travel Insurance service.

Telegraph Media Group Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of AllClear Insurance Services Limited, a company that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

The above article was created for Telegraph Financial Solutions, a trading name of The Telegraph Media Group. For more information on Telegraph Financial Solutions click here.