The flights are booked, the hotel has been reserved and you have gone on a shopping spree for your new vacation wardrobe – but are you forgetting something? We all know travel insurance isn’t top of everyone’s list when it comes to planning an exciting trip to explore a new country, but having the right travel insurance for Europe could make the difference between the vacation of a lifetime and your worst nightmare.
Travel insurance can cover a whole load of things, from hospital bills and canceled flights to lost and stolen belongings.
Sure, many countries in Europe are developed, with many top hospitals, with a high standard of medical care across the continent, but what if something does happen when you are on your travels and you end up in a hospital?
Without insurance, you will more than likely be faced with a huge bill. So what kind of travel insurance for Europe should you buy? How much should it cost? Where should you buy it? Do you really need it?
All of these worries and more can make buying the protection of travel insurance actually quite complicated and turn the whole process into somewhat of a headache, which is why we have tried to make finding the right travel insurance for Europe a little simpler so that you can have the best vacation ever.
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Europe (Travel Guide)
Why You Should Buy Travel Insurance for Europe Vacation
Travel insurance covers a whole load of topics that you probably won’t even need to read about, but it also covers some really important and potentially life-changing occurrences. You need to make sure you buy the right travel insurance for Europe and that it covers the areas that are most important to you.
If you are are travelling with very expensive camera equipment, for example, then you will want to make sure the policy you purchase has great cover for equipment; or if you have a medical condition, there is no reason that you should let that stop you from your European adventures, but you should make sure your travel insurance covers you specifically.
Travel insurance can be a minefield: there are so many different options to choose from, different companies to buy insurance from, and different add-ons. You need to make sure that you buy the travel insurance that best suits your needs.
You need to ask yourself what type of travel you are going to be doing first. Will you be taking part in any extreme sports or spending a long time living in risky environments?
The more risk a travel insurer thinks you are going to be involved with relating to your trip, the higher the cost – meaning the cheapest option might not be the best option for you.
Insurance can cost a lot of money and you need to make sure that you are getting the best deal for you. Start with the basic coverage and then add-on to tailor a package to suit your needs, depending on who is getting insured and what needs insuring.
Check out Allianz Travel Insurance for all your travel insurance needs
What and Who You are Insuring
It might happen that after all of the months of saving and planning something unforeseen happens and you have to cancel or curtail your travels. You might have to fly home early for a family emergency or work commitments might get in the way.
There will be a clause in your travel insurance that you need to read carefully. If something happens to someone close to you but they are not a family member, your travel insurance provider often won’t be willing to pay out because the situation doesn’t fit in with the small print.
Make sure you aren’t left disappointed that you have to spend a chunk of money on travel insurance only to be let down when you thought you were going to be covered.
In many cases, the Insurer will only pay out if a member of your family falls ill and you have to travel home, but if you have to travel home for a friend then the likelihood is that this won’t be covered.
Check out this guide for helpful tips: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Europe
Cancellation and Delays
How about if your flights are delayed and you miss a connection for Paris or Berlin? If you have it covered in your European travel insurance policy, then you should be reimbursed if your flight is delayed for 12 hours or longer.
It is when the delay happens that you need to talk to your airlines and get them to officially certify the delay in writing so that you can have confirmation of the disruption to show your insurers.
As we travel a lot, we’ve used the coverage of our travel insurance for numerous delays and cancellations. It never fails that the airline cancels and comes up with an excuse that leaves you stranded without a hotel room.
We no longer worry about these things, we book a room, enjoy a nice meal and then submit a claim with our travel insurance. They always pay fast, no questions asked.
Covering Expensive Items
If something should happen to your precious luggage and personal belongings, whether it be theft or if they are damaged, you should carefully make sure that you are covered, especially if you are traveling with expensive equipment like laptops and cameras, which are attractive to thieves and very costly if damaged.
Your chosen policy will have limits on how much they will pay out, which is typically up to $1,500 but the usual amount is around $500. Make sure you are covered for the things that you feel are the most important to you when choosing the options on your European travel insurance.
Something that you probably don’t think about when you are planning your big trip is personal liability. Say you break someone’s phone by dropping it on the floor or even worse, are spending the summer scooting around Italy on a motorbike or the winter trying out snowboarding in Switzerland and you happen to injure someone else – what then?
You will be liable to pay for their damaged property or their injury. Perhaps something you think you can do without on your travel insurance policy, but the liability coverage can be up to a million US dollars, so think about how much it would cost you if you didn’t have the insurance to pay.
Check out Allianz Travel Insurance for all your travel insurance needs
A really important and serious side to travel insurance is health. Many people’s main reason for taking out an insurance policy is to cover themselves or their families, if the worst did happen.
Medical emergencies sadly aren’t usually predictable and there have been many a story of people not getting the right cover and then getting sick with something unpredictable such as appendicitis while abroad in Europe and having to get taken to hospital by air ambulance.
Just think about how much that ride in a helicopter would cost!
To make sure you don’t end up with a massive medical bill you need to get medical cover of up to $2 million, which does sound like a lot of money, but this covers repatriation so that you can be flown back home and get the medical care you need there.
A lot of travel insurance for Europe will also give you access to an emergency helpline, which, if you can imagine you are in a sticky situation, can really help. When purchasing travel insurance for Europe you have to make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions, this is really important.
Declaring your medical conditions might make the cost of the insurance go up, but if something were to happen while traveling in Europe related to your medical condition and you didn’t declare it to the insurer, it is more than likely that they will not help you when it comes to making an insurance claim.
European Travel Insurance vs. Worldwide
When it comes to the cost of European travel insurance versus buying worldwide travel insurance, European travel insurance is usually cheaper and covers a huge amount of countries.
European travel insurance usually covers as far afield as Turkey and Morocco, but – depending on the political climate and travel restrictions – before you purchase your policy make sure the countries you are traveling to are part of the deal.
Keep in mind that if you do not hold a European Union passport, you will have to purchase worldwide travel insurance for your European vacation.
Annual Policy vs. Single Trip Coverage
If you are lucky enough to be a frequent traveler or a planning more than one trip in a year then you might be thinking about getting annual travel insurance. Annual travel insurance will cover you for a number of trips over a year and will usually include higher payout limits for medical cover and cancellation.
If you are planning on lots of European vacations then the annual coverage will probably work out cheaper for you than buying a single trip travel insurance policy every time you travel.
Personally, we always purchase an annual plan. Granted, we travel a lot, but if you are taking 2 or more trips per year, then the annual plans are worth it.
Check out Allianz Travel Insurance for all your travel insurance needs.
If you are a backpacker and planning to travel for months on end in Europe rather than a week or two, then you will need to change your European travel insurance to something that will suit your type of travel.
Usually, European travel insurance will only cover vacations of up to a month, so any time over that will possibly need to be covered by a specialty backpackers’ or gap year travel insurance policy, which can cover for over a year and across all of Europe.
Again, this is where an annual plan can really come into play for you. By buying a long term plan, you’re not only covered for the duration of your backpacking trip but are able to exercise the benefits that come with being covered for all your travel.
So there you have it. Travel insurance for Europe might feel overwhelming and not fun at all, but it is well worth getting so that if your precious laptop gets stolen, you can rest safe knowing that you have purchased the correct policy so that your insurer will give you the money to replace it.
Make sure the things that matter to you are covered by your travel insurance, then if the worst was to happen to you while abroad in a foreign land, you will be glad you spent a little time – and a bit of your travel budget – making sure that you will be looked after by your travel insurance.
This post is sponsored by our partner Allianz Travel (AGA Service Company) and we have received financial compensation as ambassadors, but all opinions expressed are our own.
More on Travel Planning:
- How to Plan A Trip: Step by Step Guide
- AirBNB Coupon Code: Up to $100 in Free Promos & Discounts
- 10 Killer Tips on How to Find Cheap Flights
- 11 Easy Tips on How to Find Cheap Accommodation
- How to Save Money for Travel: A Step by Step Plan
- How to Get Over Jet Lag (Advice from 15 Years of Travel)
- How to Get Free Plane Tickets
- 5 Ways to Survive that Long Layover
- Your Guide For Doing Laundry While Traveling
- 5 Good Reasons to Use a Vacation Planner
- Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
- 10 Reasons to Have Annual Travel Insurance
- How to Choose the Best Travel Insurance Policy