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Schengen travel insurance

If you’re planning a trip to any of the 27 countries in the Schengen Area and aren’t a UK or EU citizen, you’ll probably need a Schengen visa. To get that visa, you’ll also need a valid travel insurance policy.

If you’re planning a trip to any of the 27 countries in the Schengen Area and aren’t a UK or EU citizen, you’ll probably need a Schengen visa. To get that visa, you’ll also need a valid travel insurance policy.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
12 FEBRUARY 2024
4 min read
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What is Schengen travel insurance?

Schengen travel insurance gives non-EU citizens travel and medical cover for the Schengen Area in Europe and is a must for people who need a visa to enter the zone.

The Schengen Area is a group of 27 countries where EU citizens and others (including UK citizens) can travel without border checks. Here’s a full list of Schengen countries:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Is the UK part of Schengen?

The UK isn’t part of the Schengen Area. Nor are Cyprus and Ireland.

Bulgaria and Romania will join the Schengen Area in March 2024, when there’ll no longer be controls at air and sea borders. Lifting land border controls will be discussed and decided on later in the year.

When do I need Schengen travel insurance to travel in Europe?

EU law requires anyone applying for a Schengen visa to have travel insurance. The European Commission website has a full list of who needs a Schengen visa.

UK citizens can travel to all countries in the Schengen area without a visa provided they’re not staying for more than 90 days in every 180 days.

But even if you don’t need travel insurance to enter the Schengen Area, it’s still a good idea to have it. Travel insurance can cover you for medical emergencies, compensate you if your belongings are lost or stolen, or if you have to cancel your trip.

Find out more about travel insurance for Europe

How do I apply for a Schengen travel visa?

To apply for a Schengen visa, you’ll need:

  • A completed visa application
  • A valid passport
  • Two identical passport photos
  • Your travel itinerary
  • Travel insurance covering up to €30,000 of medical costs.

Some countries have different requirements for Schengen visas, so always check with the embassy of the country (or countries) you’re planning to visit before you set off.

What does Schengen travel insurance cover?

Schengen travel insurance should give you basic cover for all 26 Schengen countries, including:

  • Medical cover – to qualify for a Schengen visa, travellers must be covered for medical costs up to €30,000
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and passports – covers damage to your personal belongings or travel documents
  • Cancellations and delays – if your holiday is cancelled, delayed or shortened, you could reclaim some expenses
  • Repatriation – covers the cost of getting you home if your airline goes under or you experience a medical emergency.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean any claim you make is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What doesn’t a travel insurance policy include?

Here are a few things you might not be covered for:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions that you’ve not mentioned - if you don’t tell your insurance provider about a pre-existing condition such as asthma or diabetes, any claim you make for it is likely to be rejected. Declaring your medical conditions may mean you have to pay a little more, but you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re properly covered if you become ill while you’re away.
  • Injuries or accidents from high-risk activities - if you’re taking part in adventure activities such as water sports, mountain biking, or skiing while you’re away, consider getting adventure travel insurance. Always make sure your policy covers you for any activities you want to do.

See more on what travel insurance will cover you for and what it won’t.

How much does Schengen travel insurance cost?

How much you pay for travel insurance to the Schengen Area will depend on your age, where you’re going and how long you’re staying. It’ll also depend on how much cover you want.

Ready to kickstart your European adventure? Start comparing travel insurance with Comparethemarket and get a quote in minutes.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a Schengen visa if I’m transiting through a European airport?

Whether you need a Schengen airport transit visa will depend on your nationality. Citizens from certain countries will need a visa when travelling through international airports in some Schengen states.

What type of Schengen visa do I need?

What type of visa you need will depend on why you’re visiting the area. If you’re only travelling through the airport, you may only need a transit visa. If you’re on holiday, you may need a tourism visa, or one for visiting family and friends. Journalists, students, and business travellers will also need different types of visa.

Where do I apply for a Schengen visa?

Where you apply for a Schengen visa will depend on where you’re going. You may have to do it at the embassy, a consulate, or visa centre.

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Helen Phipps - insurance expert

Having worked in both sides of the industry, Helen’s a real insurance expert. She’s worked directly with several insurance providers and now Compare the Market. She’s always searching for the cheapest prices for customers and is passionate about saving people money. Being married with two kids, Helen knows all about the cost of living and the benefits of having the right products and insurance for the whole family.

Learn more about Helen

Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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