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Published: Mar 08, 2024 12 min read

Quick answer

Schengen travel insurance is a specific type of travel insurance policy tailored to meet the travel medical coverage requirements set by the 27 (soon to be 29) European destinations within the Schengen Area. Travelers must present proof of sufficient coverage as part of the Schengen visa application process.

Read on to learn more about Schengen visa travel insurance requirements and find the best travel insurance policy for your upcoming trip.

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What is Schengen travel insurance?

Schengen travel insurance is designed for travelers entering the Schengen zone, which comprises 27 (soon to be 29) European nations that have abolished internal borders.

Many visitors, including citizens from non-E.U. countries like India and China, must obtain a travel visa to enter the Schengen Area. And a requirement for a Schengen Visa is to have insurance covering at least €30,000 (around $32,720) in medical costs.

However, there are exemptions. For example, U.S. citizens and residents of countries such as Canada, Brazil and Mexico don't need a Schengen visa or travel insurance for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

Schengen countries

The Schengen Area consists of a diverse tapestry of countries. Among the member nations are some of the best places to visit in Europe, including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands.

Here's the complete list:







Bulgaria (as of March, 2024)





Romania (as of March, 2024)

Czech Republic


















Ireland and Cyprus are the only E.U. member states not currently part of the Schengen Agreement.

Visa and travel insurance requirements for the Schengen Area

Having a valid U.S. passport allows you to spend up to 90 days within a 180-day period in the Schengen Area, whether for tourism or business purposes.

Once officially admitted, you can travel freely within the member countries without passing through customs each time. Stays under 90 days don't require a visa for U.S. nationals, but your passport should be valid for at least six months past your travel dates.

Short stays don't require travel medical insurance either, though travel insurance may still be worth it. That could be especially true if you plan to participate in adventure sports or other high-risk activities.

Travel insurance generally also covers cancellations and delays. Purchasing a policy could pay off if you've booked expensive, non-refundable flights or accommodations and didn't purchase them with one of the best travel credit cards that offer insurance.

European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)

Travel requirements for European Union countries are projected to change by mid-2025. Visa-exempt travelers to all 27 (soon to be 29) Schengen countries and Cyprus will need an ETIAS authorization.

Here's what you need to know:

  • You must complete an online application and pay a small fee for an ETIAS authorization.
  • The authorization is tied to your passport and is valid for three years or until your passport expires.
  • With a valid travel authorization, you can enter 30 European countries for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  • ETIAS authorization does not guarantee entry into any of these countries. You still have to present your passport and documents at the border.
  • The above applies to people from the U.S., Canada and dozens of other countries, so check the E.U.’s official travel website or your country’s embassy for more information. An ETIAS is not a visa and doesn't mandate travel medical insurance.

Schengen visa requirements

You'll need a visa if you’re from a visa-exempt country, like the U.S., and planning to stay in the Schengen Area beyond the 90-day threshold. Regardless of the length of the stay, nationals traveling from certain countries always require a visa.

Determine which Schengen country you'll spend most of your time in and check with their official tourism or embassy website for instructions on applying for a visa. The embassy will inform you about the required documentation and instructions to meet their regulations.

Schengen visa processing time can vary depending on your country of origin and your destination country, so be sure to start the process as early as possible.

Besides the application form, the following are required to obtain a Schengen visa:

  • Valid passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months after departure.
  • Passport photo: You must submit a picture of yourself that complies with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
  • Travel medical insurance: You must carry at least €30,000 (approximately $32,720) in coverage for medical emergencies, hospitalization and repatriation that's valid in the entire Schengen Area for the duration of your stay.
  • Documentation: You must provide evidence of the purpose of your visit through supporting documentation, demonstrate you have the financial means to cover expenses and accommodations and show intent to return to your home country after the stay.
  • Fingerprints: Most, but not all, applicants will be required to submit their fingerprints along with their application.

Consulates of particular countries may require additional documentation.

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Key coverages in Schengen travel insurance

Understanding what travel insurance covers can help you plan a worry-free journey. While plans and coverage options vary by company, here's a breakdown of what Schengen travel insurance generally covers.

  • Medical expenses: Travel medical insurance covers the cost of treating unexpected illnesses or injuries you suffer during your trip, up to your policy limits. These include the cost of medications, hospitalization and other essential medical treatments.
  • Medical repatriation: Some travel medical policies also include emergency medical evacuation or repatriation, which covers some of the costs of transporting you back home or to a different medical facility to receive necessary medical treatment.
  • Repatriation of remains: As the name suggests, this coverage will pay (up to your policy limits) for expenses related to transporting your body or cremated remains to your home country or point of origin.
  • 24/7 Travel Assistance: Travel insurance companies generally offer round-the-clock assistance services, including language support, help recovering lost passports or prescriptions and even booking accommodations and medical transportation.

Note that some companies may require you to meet a deductible for the travel medical plan to start paying out.

Other travel-related coverage options

Most travel insurers sell policies covering medical emergencies and travel-related inconveniences such as delays, cancellations, lost luggage, and more. While you don't need these coverage options to obtain a Schengen visa, you may still find them worthwhile.

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption: Covers non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel or cut your trip short due to unforeseen events like illness or accidents.
  • Baggage loss or delay: Helps cover the cost of replacing essential items if your baggage is lost or delayed by a specified number of hours.
  • Delayed flights and missed connections: Provides compensation for additional expenses caused by inconveniences such as delays or missed connections.

How to get Schengen travel insurance

It's easy to buy travel insurance for your Schengen Area trip. Many providers offer policies that fulfill the visa requirement and include additional coverage that can be tailored to your needs.

Here are some steps to help you get the right coverage.

1. Research reputable travel insurance providers

Most travel insurers bundle travel medical insurance coverage with trip cancellation, interruption, and other coverage options. If you only want to satisfy Schengen visa requirements, look for a provider that explicitly markets Schengen travel insurance or offers stand-alone travel medical coverage.

2. Select a plan that meets your needs and get a quote

Remember that you may not need trip insurance beyond the €30,000 in travel medical coverage required for a Schengen visa, so read plan details carefully to avoid buying unnecessary coverage.

It also pays to shop around and get quotes from several insurers, as travel insurance costs between 3% and 14% of the total cost of your trip, depending on the company and policy you choose.

3. Read your policy details

When shopping for travel insurance online, you'll typically find that most companies include a policy summary or schedule. This document outlines critical details such as the policy's coverage limits and exclusions. Carefully reading it can help you avoid surprises and frustration if you ever need to file a claim.

If you still have questions after reading the policy summary, contact the insurer before finalizing your purchase.

4. Get to know the claims process

Similarly, reading about your insurance provider's claims process can save you time and energy in an emergency. Your policy summary should include a list of documents you'll be required to provide as part of the claims process, which may include receipts and medical bills.

After a covered incident, contact your insurer through the company's website or mobile app as soon as possible. Most insurers also offer travel assistance services around the clock.

5. Purchase and safeguard your policy

You will need proof of your travel medical insurance plan to apply for a Schengen visa. Keep your insurance certificate in a secure yet accessible location, whether a digital version on your smartphone or a physical printout in your travel folder.

It may also be a good idea to share a copy of your policy with a trusted friend or family member back home so they can contact your insurance provider if you cannot request medical assistance due to an emergency.

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Schengen travel insurance FAQs

Should I get travel insurance for Europe?


Travel insurance, especially within the Schengen Area, is not just recommended but often mandatory. To obtain a visa to visit the Schengen zone, you must show proof of having sufficient travel medical insurance.

Visa mandates vary by country, so check with your country’s foreign affairs department online to learn whether you need a visa to visit the Schengen Area.

How much travel insurance do I need for Europe?

The minimum coverage requirement for a Schengen travel insurance plan is €30,000. However, you may want to opt for a policy with broader coverage if you want coverage against travel inconveniences such as trip cancellations and interruptions.

What countries does Europe travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance for Europe, particularly Schengen travel medical insurance, should cover all 27 countries within the Schengen Area. This comprehensive coverage spans popular tourist destinations such as France, Italy, Germany, Spain and more.

Summary of Money's guide to Schengen travel insurance

  • The first step before you travel to any Schengen country is to determine whether you need a visa and, therefore, mandatory travel medical insurance for a Schengen visa.
  • Check with your country’s embassy, Department of Foreign Affairs or the tourism website of the country you plan to visit for specifics about medical travel insurance for Schengen visa requirements.
  • You don't need a visa or international travel insurance if you have a valid U.S. passport and are visiting the Schengen zone for less than 90 days in a 180-day period.
  • If you’re a U.S. national planning to visit the Schengen Area for more than 90 days, you must apply for a visa and secure adequate travel health insurance (at least €30,000 in travel medical and repatriation coverage).

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