Compare travel insurance for Europe

We’re a nation of travellers. And with Europe on our doorstep, it couldn’t be easier to jet off at a moment’s notice. But no matter how close to home your European trip might seem, travel insurance should never be an optional extra.

We’re a nation of travellers. And with Europe on our doorstep, it couldn’t be easier to jet off at a moment’s notice. But no matter how close to home your European trip might seem, travel insurance should never be an optional extra.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 14 JUNE 2022

Do I need travel insurance for Europe?

Being so close to home, you may not think travel insurance in Europe is as important as it is for long-haul destinations.

But even on the most sedate holidays, things can go wrong. Flights can be cancelled, luggage lost, and phones and tablets stolen. And no one wants to think about being injured or falling ill on holiday, but accidents can happen wherever you are.

Travel insurance can give you the reassurance and peace of mind that if something does go wrong, you’re covered when you might need it most.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

How much is travel insurance for Europe?

A standard travel insurance policy for Europe could cost as little as £6** for a one-week stay. That said, your premium could rise if you need to take out extra cover for a pre-existing medical condition or plan to take part in extreme sports and activities while you’re away.

**Based on Compare the Market data for a single trip travel policy for a 20-year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe for one week. Prices correct as of April 2022.

Do I need travel insurance for Europe if I have a GHIC card?

Yes, you do. A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare in EU countries and Switzerland on the same terms as a local resident for free or at a reduced cost.

Let’s be clear about this though – a GHIC will only cover you for necessary medical treatment. It won’t cover:

  • Treatment if you’re taken to a private hospital in the event of an emergency
  • Mountain rescue costs if you’re injured while skiing or snowboarding
  • Repatriation costs if you need to be flown home
  • Cruise holidays.

Lots of travellers don’t realise that even in Europe, medical costs can still hit the roof if you’re not properly insured. For example, if you fall and break your leg in Spain, you’ll need hospital treatment and flights home – and that can add up to around £15,000.

So while it makes sense to have a GHIC if you’re travelling in Europe, travel insurance will give you more comprehensive cover should the worst happen.

The GHIC replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). While you can no longer apply for an EHIC, if you already have one that was issued before the end of 2020, it will be valid until the expiry date.

You can apply for a GHIC card here and it should arrive within 10 days. Make sure you apply via the NHS website for your free card to avoid potential scam sites that may try to charge you.

Did you know?

The GHIC only covers you for necessary medical treatment in EU countries and Switzerland. There are different rules and requirements for UK nationals visiting Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You’ll find full details about how the GHIC works and what it covers at GOV.UK.

What does travel insurance for Europe cover?

Policies vary among providers, but a standard European travel insurance policy will typically include:

  • Medical care, including repatriation – If you have a pre-existing medical condition, or want specific sports cover, it may be worth asking your insurance provider about extra cover or seeking out specialist travel insurance to ensure you're properly covered. If you're pregnant, it’s also worth checking that pregnancy-related medical attention is included in your cover.
  • Belongings – all travel insurance policies will offer some level of cover for the loss, theft or damage of your luggage. However, if you’re taking valuables such as jewellery, laptops or sports equipment with you, it’s worth checking the value of your items doesn’t exceed the policy limits or single article limit – the amount your provider will pay out for one item. And look out for exemptions for devices technically owned by your employer.
  • Travel issues – this can cover cancelled flights, missed flights and delays, but there are often exemptions. Check the conditions of your policy carefully to make sure you’re happy with the cover you’re paying for. And if your airline cancels your flight, you generally need to sort it out with them directly to refund your money or provide an alternative flight.
  • Holiday cancellation cover – offers compensation if your holiday has to be cancelled or cut short for a valid reason as laid out in the conditions of your policy, for example illness or a sudden bereavement are often included.
  • Coronavirus cover – many providers now offer cover for cancellations, medical treatment, repatriation or extended stays because of COVID-19. When you get a travel insurance quote with us, it’s easy to compare levels of COVID-19 cover. Just use the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page.

What isn’t covered by European travel insurance?

Always check the small print for any exclusions that might affect your claim. Travel insurance providers won’t typically cover:

  • Drunken mishaps – any accidents or injuries that happen while you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Theft of belongings that were left unattended – including leaving your phone and beach bag on your lounger while you cool off in the pool.
  • Undeclared medical conditions – you must tell your insurance provider about any health conditions that could affect your cover. If you don’t, your policy could be invalidated.
  • Acts of terrorism – check your policy carefully, as you may not be covered for any claims as the result of a terrorist event, although you should be able to receive emergency medical treatment in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack.
  • Natural disastersvolcanic activity is a real risk in Italy as it has three active volcanos. Turkey, Greece, Albania, Italy, and Romania having highest earthquake hazard in Europe, followed by the other Balkan countries, according to European Facilities for Earthquake Hazard and Risk. But natural disasters are not always covered under standard travel insurance policies. If you’re travelling to a destination with high risk of natural catastrophes, check your policy carefully or look for specialist insurance to make sure you’re fully covered.

What else should I consider when choosing travel insurance?

If you’re planning to take up specific sports or activities during your European trip, you might need an extra level of cover. For example, cover for:

  • Winter sports – provides you with comprehensive cover for medical care, loss or theft of equipment and even avalanche delays and piste closures.
  • Extreme sports – can offer extra protection for more adventurous sports and activities such as paragliding, rock climbing, caving and hiking.
  • A golfing holiday – if you’re planning to tee off at a golf course around Europe, this offers extra protection for you and your golf equipment.
  • Water sports – swimming and snorkelling are usually covered by a standard travel insurance policy, but you will need extra cover for diving, kite-surfing and white-water rafting.

Can I get multi-trip or annual cover for travel in Europe?

Yes. If you travel regularly, an annual travel insurance policy could save you money and hassle. As long as you find a policy that will cover you for all your destinations, you won’t need to arrange a new policy each time you go away. An annual multi trip policy to Europe could cost as little as £11***. Or, if you’re planning regular trips further afield, you can get worldwide cover for countries outside of Europe.

***Based on Compare the Market Data for an annual multi trip travel insurance policy for a 20-year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe. Prices correct as of April 2022.

What if I’m travelling to Europe for business?

If you travel a lot for work, then a business travel insurance policy can cover you for business equipment, company property or products, and money, as well as any personal belongings you take with you.

Any other tips for travelling to Europe?

Every European country has its own language, cuisine, culture, and traditions, so it’s a good idea to understand the local customs and rules before you fly. Here’s a few things to think about when visiting Europe:

  • Currency – while the euro is the official and widely accepted currency of most European countries, some have their own currencies. Those outside of the Eurozone include Denmark, Sweden, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland.
  • Tipping – tipping culture varies from country-to-country. Make sure you check online, or with your hotel reception to make sure you’re not leaving too much or too little.
  • Mobile roaming – free mobile roaming is no longer guaranteed in Europe. Check with your provider to see what roaming charges may apply for texting, making calls and using mobile phone data in Europe.

Compare travel insurance for Europe

Europe has some amazing destinations to explore. For peace of mind on your trip we can help you compare quotes and find the right travel insurance to cover all of your needs on your European holiday.

Compare travel insurance quotes in a matter of minutes and start planning your exciting European adventure today.

Frequently asked questions

Which countries does European travel insurance cover?

This can vary between travel insurance providers, but you should expect all member countries of the EU to be included.

You might also be covered in some European countries that aren’t in the EU. These can include:

  • Andorra
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey.

As these can vary between providers, it’s important to say where you’re travelling to when you get a quote. And check the policy wording carefully before you take out cover or before you travel if you have an annual policy for Europe to make sure your destination will be covered.

Do I need a visa for Europe?

As a tourist you can travel to EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without the need for a visa. For non-EU countries you will need to check the visa requirements for each country you’re visiting or transiting through. If you are planning on working in Europe or are a student, you’ll need to check what is required for that situation.

You can check any entry requirements on GOV.UK for passports, visa, COVID-19 and anything else required.

Also remember that the amount of time you need on your passport depends on the country you’re visiting.

If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport that’s:

  • Valid for at least three months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting
  • Issued within the previous 10 years.

You may need to renew your British passport before you travel if there’s not enough time on it before it expires. Make sure you allow plenty of time for renewal or for a new application for yourself or a child.

What do I need for driving in Europe?

If you’re taking your car over to Europe, you’ll need:

  • A full, valid UK driving licence
  • Your vehicle’s original V5C logbook
  • [Car insurance]<> certificate
  • Passport
  • UK sticker.

You may also need a Green Card to drive in non-EU countries including Turkey, Albania, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia.

As well as travel insurance, it’s also a good idea to have European breakdown cover for any mishaps that could occur while you’re on the road.

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