After the best travel Insurance* for your European vacation? Read on for tips to find it.
Travelling to Europe usually at the top of everyone’s bucket list. It’s an opportunity for us to wonder symbolic cities like Paris and to take on adventures like chasing the Northern Lights of Norway.
There’s a long list to adhere to when organising your travel plans to Europe, and one thing you definitely need to add to that list is your travel insurance.
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- Who's travelling to Europe and how much did they pay for travel insurance?
- What does travel insurance for Europe holidays protect you against?
- What European countries are covered for travel insurance?
- Who's travelling to Europe and how much did they paying for travel insurance?
- Is travel insurance a requirement for long term stays in Europe?l
- What if my travel insurance expires whilst I am in Europe?
- Additional cover you may need in Europe
- Common travel insurance mistakes
- Travel insurance claims process
- Who do I contact in an emergency?
- Finding the right travel insurance deal
What does travel insurance for European holidays protect you against?
There are many different types of travel insurance to choose from out there, so it’s important to know what you’re covered for. How basic or comprehensive your plan is, will determine what you are protected against. Some common things you will be covered for with most travel insurance plans include:
- Medical treatment. Getting sick or injured overseas is bad enough, but paying large sums of money just to see a doctor makes things worse. Some countries could have you paying up to thousands of dollars if you need to be hospitalised, so it’s important to find an insurance policy that can cover large medical expenses upfront.
- Cancellations and delays. With so many countries being so close together, Europe is full of small budget airlines. This means that there may be a good chance some flights will be cancelled, and you will have to take a flight at a different time. Missing one flight may mean missing your next flight, train or bus, leaving you out of pocket, and out of time. Most insurance policies will cover your travel expenses if your flight or train is delayed or cancelled.
- Lost/damaged luggage and personal items. Losing your luggage can really bring down the mood of your European adventure. Buying new clothes, electronics and luggage while overseas can put a major dent in your wallet. Fortunately, most travel insurance policies will cover any loss or damage to your personal items and luggage. Just make sure you double check what items are or aren’t included in the cover.
- Emergency support. This is crucial to any good travel insurance policy. Having an insurance provider that offers 24/7 emergency support can be a lifesaver if you get into a sticky situation overseas. From lost luggage, to theft, to medical emergencies, it always helps to have someone you can contact to ensure you receive the support and guidance you need to get you out of the messy situation.
- Death or serious injury. Although no one really wants to consider death or serious injury to be a possibility while travelling, it can happen. Most insurance providers will cover any expenses involved with death or serious injury, potentially saving your family and loved ones from spending thousands of dollars.
Before you travel anywhere check out Smartraveller where you can find travel advice associated with the country you are travelling to. Knowing the situation of a country before you decide to travel will influence what type of insurance you need to buy dramatically.Back to top
What European countries are covered by travel insurance?
When purchasing travel insurance specifically for Europe, it is important to know exactly which countries are included. Generally, European countries covered by travel insurance include:
- the Azores
- the Balearic islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Canary islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma)
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Ireland
- FYR Macedonia
- San Marino
- Republic of Montenegro
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
From a study of 10,000 quotes requested through finder.com.au's quote engine, the most common age of travellers to Europe were 66 to 75 years olds. The average cost of travel insurance for a 66-75 year old going to Europe for two weeks is $184.81.
Prices last obtained October, 2015. Prices are subject to change.
What does a policy at $184.81 get you?
|Cancellation fees and lost deposits|
|Hospital cash allowance|
|Overseas emergency medical assistance|
|Travel documents and travellers cheque|
|Overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses|
|Credit card fraud and replacement|
|Luggage and personal effects|
|Total permanent disability|
|Default excess on claims|
For countries that are part of the Schengen Zone, a visa is required by it's individual member countries for stays over 90 days. An accompanying travel insurance policy that includes at least EUR30,000 in medical cover and medical repatriation back to Australia is a typical requirement of such visas.
If you stay long term in Europe, you may stay beyond the date stated on your initial travel insurance policy. Luckily, many travel insurance providers will allow you to extend your policy if you provide:
- The reasons you are extending your trip.
- Where and when you will be travelling to.
- A disclosure of existing health condition and any changes.
There is an array of adventurous activities to try while you’re travelling through Europe, from skiing in the Switzerland to cycling around Italy. While most regular insurance policies won’t automatically cover things like vehicle hire and snow equipment, you usually add optional extras, or buy specific insurance cover. Some additional types of cover some travellers may need in Europe include:
- Backpacking Insurance. There are increased risks associated with backpacking in Europe, as most travellers are on a budget and will choose cheaper airlines and accommodation. Backpackers insurance usually covers lost luggage, theft of cash/items, medical emergencies and credit card replacement.
- Snow/Skiing Insurance. Anyone heading to Europe in the winter knows that they have some of the best ski slopes in the world. Many insurance providers offer snow, skiing or winter sports travel insurance including cover for things like damage to hired equipment, bad weather delays/closures, medical expenses and avalanches/evacuations.
- Car/motorbike Hire Insurance. For those who prefer to travel by road, hiring a car is a very convenient way to get around Europe. Car or motorbike hire insurance covers you for accidents, theft, excess amounts, and rental deposits associated with your hire car. Be aware of the legal age for hiring a vehicle in many European countries is around 25 or over.
Looking at what you’re not covered for is just as important as looking at what you are covered for. There are some losses insurance companies will exclude from cover, and you need to be aware of them so you don’t come back from overseas with unexpected bills to pay for. Some common exclusions from travel insurance policies include:
- Using a scooter/motor bike without a helmet. It is your responsibility to take all necessary safety precautions as you would in Australia when riding a motorbike or scooter. If you injure yourself while not wearing a helmet, you will not be covered by travel insurance.
- Any undeclared pre-existing medical conditions. If you become hospitalised overseas for a pre-existing medical condition, it must have been declared when you bought your travel insurance or you will not be covered. If you’re not sure, declare anyway as it’s better to be safe than sorry before you rack up a hefty hospital bill.
- Reckless or unlawful behaviour. If you purposely break the law, or act in an irresponsible and aggressive manner, travel insurance will not cover you for any legal, medical, or damage expenses.
- Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Losses that have occurred while the insured is under the influence of drugs or alcohol are rarely covered by travel insurance providers. It’s completely fine if you want to have a few cocktails whilst on holiday, but it is completely unacceptable to drink so much that you put yourself and others at risk.
- Leaving your luggage with the hotel after you’ve checked out. If you have an early check out, but a late flight, some travellers will leave their luggage with the hotel concierge while they do a little exploring. Be aware that travel insurance will not cover your luggage for any loss or damages in this situation.
Travel insurance claims process
The process for making travel insurance claims will differ with each insurance provider. Most can now be done online, or with a simple phone call. Be aware of the specific procedures you will need to follow if something does go wrong, such as calling an emergency phone number, or obtaining documents to provide proof of an incident. There are also certain things you can do to make the process much faster and smoother so you receive the benefits sooner. Some tips include:
- Be detailed, accurate and specific when applying. When you apply for travel insurance you need to make sure the information you are giving is accurate. Any mistakes made when applying will cause you grief if you need to make a claim later on. Make sure you double-check the dates you are travelling and exactly where you are travelling. It is also imperative that you clearly detail any pre-existing medical conditions. If you do not clearly make them known, you won’t be covered for them.
- Talk to your insurance provider. If you have any questions at all, or just want to make sure all of your information is up-to-date, just give your provider a quick call a day or two before you leave. It will give you much needed peace of mind and assurance before you depart.
- Document everything. For any incident, accident, flight delay, or medical emergency, get written documentation from police, medical staff or airline staff. Providing proof will help make things go smoothly when submitting a claims.
- Take photos. Take a photo of your luggage before you leave, so you have a record of the items you’re taking with you. If any of these personal items are damaged along the way, take a photo of the damage in case your insurance provider asks for proof.
If you find yourself in an emergency in Europe some of helpful contacts include:
- You travel insurer. You insurance provider will have an 24/7 helpline for claims and medical emergencies.
- Australian Embassies and Consulates. You can find the contact details of Australian Embassies and Consulates in Europe below.
Finding the right travel insurance deal for Europe
When it comes to travel insurance, it’s important to get a policy that suits your destination, and the activities you will be involved in. Lower prices generally mean you won’t be covered for as many things, but expensive cover does not necessarily mean you will be covered for the right things. Here are a few things to consider when trying to find a suitable insurance policy for you:
Q. Do I have the right medical cover for my health?
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions you must make sure you are covered for them. General medical cover usually won’t include hospitalisation for things like allergies, asthma or other conditions unless you specify them when purchasing your insurance.
Q. Is every country I intend to visit covered?
Make a list of all of the countries you are visiting and compare them with all of the countries your policy will cover. Make sure that the list you are planning on travelling to are covered by your European travel insurance. Use the list in the earlier section to work out if the countries you are planning on visiting are part of Europe.
Q. Is the cover amount for personal belongings and luggage enough?
Many people may be taking expensive cameras or laptops when travelling. Make sure the amount you are covered for exceeds your most expensive items, or you will be at a loss if damage or theft occurs.
Q. Am I partaking in any sporting or physical activities?
Many activities like skiing, boating, scuba diving and even riding a motorbike are not covered by most standard insurance policies. Make sure you can include these in your policy, even if that means paying an additional premium.
Q. Am I covered for cancellations and delays?
Unfortunately, cancellations and delays can happen quite frequently, especially when travelling to multiple destinations on budget airlines. Make sure you are not out of pocket if you miss a future flight due to other flight or train delays.
Q. Am I covered for countries like Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Cyprus?
Yes, you are covered for these countries by travel insurance if there are no official government warnings against travel to these places. Make sure you specify travel to these locations to your travel insurance provider upon purchase.
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Picture: Moyan Brenn, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)