If you intend travelling to Europe you will need to become familiar with the Schengen areas and the requirements for insurance coverage.
This page will allow you to learn about Schengen visa requirements.
The Schengen agreements came into force on March 25, 2001.
The Schengen area was designed to create a better flow of goods and people within the shared borders of the Schengen countries. The Schengen agreements allow people to travel freely through the countries – once the requirement is met for one country, you can travel to the others without needing to go through customs again.
Currently, there are 26 countries that are a part of the Schengen area.
The Schengen area covers the majority of European countries except for the United Kingdom and countries such as the following who are soon to be a part to the agreement.
Countries Included in the Schengen Area :
Of the above 26 countries, 22 are part of the European Union (EU) and the other four are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA.)
Trips over three months to the Schengen area require special travel insurance. This requirement exists whether you are traveling for pleasure or business, in a group or on your own.
Travel insurance must be valid throughout the territory of the member states and cover the entire period of stay.
Many of the Schengen area countries will require a Visa letter (see below) from your insurance company with proof that you meet the coverage requirements. The letter will need to have your complete name (matching your passport) and your date of birth.
Be sure to check with your embassy or consulate about any other specific health insurance minimums because they can vary. Typically, the insurance requirements include:
A minimum medical insurance requirement is EUR 30,000 – approximately $50,000 USD. Coverage must be valid within the Schengen region and for the full duration of travel. Insurance must include any expenses that might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death.
For most travellers, the visa and Schengen area visa travel insurance won’t be necessary. Often, travellers will go for less than three months. Even though insurance isn’t a requirement to enter the country, it is still a wise investment.
IMG Patriot Travel Medical Insurance Plans offer temporary health coverage for yourself and those in your traveling party.
These plans provide coverage for accidents or illness, saving you from large medical bills if you require a visit to the doctor or hospital.
When planning your travel, it is important to remember to investigate your insurance plan options and to invest in adequate insurance. By doing so, you can relax and enjoy planning your trip and be calm knowing that you can access any assistance you might need while traveling.
The cost of insurance to cover your visit to a Schengen country will vary depending on the length of stay, your age and the amount of coverage you desire.
Although the Schengen visa has minimum requirements, it may be in your best interest to purchase additional coverage, especially for longer trips.
For example, the minimum medical coverage required is 30,000 Euros or US$50,000. However, you may feel more comfortable with $100,000 in case of a serious medical condition.
Costs for the basic coverage will start as low as $1 per day for an 18 year old traveler. Older travellers will pay premiums over and above that.
A 45 year old traveler would pay approximately $2 per day for the same coverage. while a 65 year old would pay $5 per day.
One great benefit of the IMG Patriot Medical Travel Insurance plan is that it automatically generates a Visa Letter that is emailed to you immediately after purchase along with your insurance policy, insurance cards and other documents.
You can use the Schengen Visa Insurance Letter when meeting for your visa at the embassy or consulate offices.
You need to check the coverage included in your medicare supplement plan or MediGap policy. Although some medicare supplement plans do offer foreign medical, they are generally not as comprehensive as a travel medial plan that would include emergency evacuation, repatriation, trip interruption, etc. Most Medigap plans that cover foreign travel require the patient pay a $250 deductible plus 20 percent coinsurance. There is also a lifetime benefit maximum of $50,000.
U.S. citizens traveling to the Schengen area for personal travel or business do not require a visa if you will be spending less than 90 days in a six-month period in the Schengen area countries. While a visa is not required for visits of less than three months, it is still important to check the expiration date on your passport before you travel. The countries in the Schengen area require your passport to be valid for at least three months beyond your planned departure date. The reason for the three-month validity requirement is that some of the countries in the Schengen area will assume that all travelers will stay the maximum three months allowed for visa-free visitors. This requirement may also exist for a flight layover while traveling from a Schengen airport to a non-Schengen destination.
The consequences of not having a passport valid for that length of time could include being refused boarding by your airline at the point of entry or when transferring planes. Additionally, there is the possibility of being denied entry upon arrival. For these reasons, the U.S. Department of State recommends that your passport have at least six months remaining when you travel abroad.
If you plan on spending a prolonged period in the Schengen area, you have two choices:
You can enter without a visa for up to three months within each six-month period. However, if you spend three months in the area, you need to wait another three months before you can enter a Schengen country again without a visa.
If you plan on spending longer than three months in any Schengen area then you need to contact the embassy of the country you plan on spending the most time to apply for a visa.