Travel Insurance For European Vacations

Travel Insurance For European Vacations

Last Updated:

Europe has always been a popular vacation hotspot for Americans. Even as prices continue to rise, Squaremouth data reveals that European destinations account for roughly 40% of international travel insurance sales. 

If you’re taking a European trip in the near future, you may be wondering if travel insurance is a worthy investment.

Do You Need Travel Insurance to Visit Europe?

Travel insurance is not a requirement for U.S. citizens visiting Europe. In most cases, you will be able to enter just fine with a valid passport. However, if you are planning to stay in certain countries for more than 90 days, you may be required to secure a visa prior to your trip.

Even though it’s not required, travel insurance is strongly recommended when heading abroad. Insuring your trip can protect you from unexpected expenses if your trip is disrupted by delays, cancellations, medical emergencies, and more.

Schengen Visa Travel Insurance Requirements

The Schengen Area is an alliance between 27 countries throughout Europe that allows border-free travel. Many of the most popular European destinations are part of this alliance, including Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain.

If you are planning a trip to the Schengen Area that exceeds 90 days, you will be required to obtain a Schengen visa. Part of the application process involves getting travel medical insurance that last the duration of your trip that meets the following requirements:

  • At least €30,000 in Emergency Medical coverage
  • Medical Evacuation coverage
  • Repatriation coverage in the event of serious injury or death
  • Policy must last for the entire length of your stay

Since most single-trip plans won’t cover trips that exceed three months, an Annual policy, also known as a multi-trip plan, may be your best bet. This type of policy will cover you for a 12-month period regardless of how many trips you take.

Europe Travel Insurance Coverage Recommendations

Let us start off by explaining that no two trips are identical. The type of insurance you need for your upcoming trip will depend on a variety of factors, such as your destination, your trip costs, your itinerary, and the amount of time you’ll be away.

With that said, there are important travel insurance benefits that all travelers should consider when traveling overseas.

Cancellation Coverage

Let’s face it, traveling to Europe is getting increasingly expensive. The average trip cost of a European vacation has risen 30% from 2022 to 2024. If you need to cancel your trip or cut it short, you run the risk of losing out on all your prepaid, non-refundable expenses.

For peace of mind, many travelers opt for a comprehensive travel insurance plan that includes cancellation and interruption coverage. The two main benefits to consider are:

  • Trip Cancellation: Reimburses up to 100% of your prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses if you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason.
  • Trip Interruption: Reimburses your unused trip costs if you are forced to end your trip early and return home for a covered reason.
  • Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR): An optional add-on that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason not covered by Trip Cancellation and receive partial reimbursement.

Common covered reasons to cancel or interrupt a trip include an unforeseen illness, injury, or death in the family. Other covered reasons may include terrorism, natural disasters, and inclement weather.

Medical Coverage

The main reason why travelers purchase insurance is for medical coverage. Since most primary healthcare plans don’t offer coverage overseas, receiving medical treatment abroad can be a costly, and stressful, experience.

Luckily, the majority of travel insurance policies offer coverage for unexpected medical expenses you may encounter during your trip. If you’re traveling to Europe, you should consider plans that include the following overseas health insurance coverage:

  • Emergency Medical (at least $50,000): Covers the cost of ambulance rides, x-rays, doctor visits, hospital stays, and other medical bills that stem from an unexpected medical emergency. Exclusions apply.
  • Medical Evacuation (at least $100,000): Covers the cost of emergency evacuation to an adequate medical facility if deemed necessary by a treating physician.
  • Pre-Existing Condition: Most travel insurance providers exclude pre-existing medical condition flare ups from coverage. Click here for a list of providers that extend medical benefits to cover pre-existing conditions.

Delay Coverage

According to the Department of Transportation, roughly a quarter of all flights in the U.S. are either delayed or canceled. These changes to your travel schedule not only take away from your vacation time, but can also take away from your budget.

Most travel insurance companies provide specific benefits that cover out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a significant delay:

  • Travel Delay: Offers reimbursement for meals and accommodations if your flight is significantly delayed, typically 3-12 hours depending on the policy.
  • Missed Connection: Reimburses the cost to rebook transportation if you miss a connecting flight as a result of a covered delay.

Luggage Protection

Millions of bags are mishandled by airlines every year. Even if your luggage makes it to your destination in time, keeping your belongings safe during your trip can also be a tough battle.

International travel insurance covers your personal belongings from the moment you leave your home to the moment you return. A couple key benefits to look for when comparing policies include:

  • Baggage Delay: If your bags are delayed in transit, usually for at least 24 hours, your policy may reimburse you for toiletries, clothes, and other travel essentials up to a specified amount.
  • Baggage & Personal Item Loss: If your belongings are lost, stolen, or damaged at any point during your trip, your plan may reimburse you for the items up to a specified amount.

Adventure Sports Coverage

From hiking volcanoes in Iceland to alpine skiing in Norway, there are year-round outdoor adventures to enjoy throughout Europe. If you plan on participating in any thrill-seeking activities during your trip, it’s important you have the proper coverage.

Be on the lookout for Adventure & Sports Travel Insurance policies. These plans are specifically designed to extend relevant medical benefits to activities that are typically excluded from coverage, and also provide coverage for any sports equipment you choose to bring.

Cost of Travel Insurance by European Country

According to Squaremouth data, the average cost of travel insurance to Europe is approximately $359. 

When calculating insurance premiums, providers will consider a wide-range of factors, including your age, trip length, coverage limits, and trip costs. 

The following chart displays the average premium and trip cost for popular European destinations:  

DestinationAverage PremiumAverage Trip Cost
Great Britain (UK)$344$7,172

Is European Travel Insurance Worth It?

Travel insurance is not for everyone. However, for many travelers, purchasing travel insurance is worth the cost alone simply for peace of mind. There’s no such thing as a stress-free trip, and having a policy can protect you financially in the event your European vacation takes a turn for the worse.

The best travel insurance plans aren’t always the most expensive. Some tips to lower the cost of your travel insurance premium include:

  • Take Inventory of Existing Coverage: If you have a travel credit card, you may already have coverage against common travel disruptions.
  • Compare Policies: Travel insurance providers calculate premiums differently. We suggest getting quotes from 2-3 insurance companies before making a decision.
  • Travel Without Cancellation Coverage: You can choose to forgo cancellation and interruption coverage for a cheaper premium.

See more tips to lower the cost of your premium here.