Europe has always been a tourist paradise but the implementation of Schengen agreement has had a major beneficial impact in further proliferating tourism in Europe. In 1985, 26 countries in Europe implemented the Schengen agreement under which they agreed to behave as a single country for the ease of movement of international travelers within these countries. As part of the agreement, these countries relinquished the need to have internal border checks for travelers thus enabling international tourist to move freely across these member countries.
If you desire to travel to these Schengen countries you should know that there is a common visa policy. This means, you would need a Schengen Visa, which is a single visa that allows you to move across all the member countries. Citizens of certain countries are exempted from visa obligations, if they are to stay for less than 3 months but for most or all third world countries including India, their citizens would need to apply for a Schengen Visa.How to apply for a Schengen Visa
Application for a Schengen visa must be submitted at the consulate or Embassy of the country of Schengen region in which you intend to stay for most duration or your first destination in Schengen. Besides, the documents that you generally submit to support your visa application (passport, a covering letter, proof of financial support for the visit, proof of tickets), you would also need to buy a personal travel and medical insurance upfront, before the grant of visa. The reason being the cost of medical emergency and Repatriation
is so high in the European countries that they do not want international travelers to come without a minimum Coverage
for medical emergencies.
What does Schengen Travel Insurance cover?
If you are planning travel insurance for Europe, here are some facts that you should be aware of:
- The Schengen travel insurance would cover the cost of emergencies in all Schengen countries so you need not buy separate travel insurance for each country.
- Also note that though most insurance companies in India provide international travel insurance, you cannot buy Schengen visa insurance from any insurance company.
- It is essential that the international insurance company where you buy your Schengen visa insurance has a representative office in Europe and should be providing coverage for all Schengen countries.
- The minimum cover that you need to have for medical emergencies / repatriation is Euro 30,000 and the same should be valid for the duration of stay. A basic Schengen travel insurance plan may just cover the medical / dental expenses / personal Accident coverage, but you may opt in for additional features like loss of passport, baggage delay, total loss of baggage and compassionate visit. The minimum coverage for medical cost, as we discussed, is Euro 30,000 as mandated by Schengen visa authorities, but you have the choice to increase the coverage.
Most travel insurance
companies would provide Cashless Hospitalization
in case of medical emergencies, but one should be aware of this prior to buying. It is a good habit to compare the plans offered by different insurance companies, in terms of the premium, coverage and deductibles. Besides these tangible comparisons, it is also good to understand the intangible offerings. As we know, insurance industry is essentially a service business. Hence, it would be good to understand the difference in terms of the convenience that the companies are offering. The Claim
settlement process should be hassle free and make sure that the insurance company has an emergency toll free number, where you can talk to in case you need emergency help while you are traveling. Some insurance companies also automatically extend your coverage in case you have any medical emergency.
Once you do an online comparison and are thoroughly convinced about your decision, you may as well buy a Schengen visa insurance online.