Compare travel insurance for Spain

Spain attracted over 83 million overseas visitors in 2019 – a new record. Here’s what you need to know about getting travel insurance for this sun-soaked holiday destination.

Spain attracted over 83 million overseas visitors in 2019 – a new record. Here’s what you need to know about getting travel insurance for this sun-soaked holiday destination.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
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Posted 01 FEBRUARY 2021

Why do I need travel insurance for Spain?

Spain is a hugely popular holiday choice for Brits, and if you’re heading to the Costas or visiting one of the historic cities, make sure you’ve got the right travel insurance before you set off.

A standard policy should include cancellation cover that’s high enough to meet the full value of your break. You’ll be able to claim back costs if you have a valid reason, listed in your policy, for why you can’t go on your trip – such as illness or bereavement. It can be worth taking out insurance as soon as you book your holiday, so you’ve got this cover in place straight away.

As with many tourist spots, Spain can be a target for thieves, so you’ll want travel cover that protects you if your wallet or purse is stolen. When comparing policies, check that your single article limit meets the cost of replacing your most expensive personal belonging in case it gets damaged, lost or stolen. The single item limit is the most you could claim for any one item that would need to be replaced.

A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may give you access to medical care on the same terms as a local. In other words, you only need to pay for treatment if they need to pay. However, the EHIC won’t cover you for treatment at a private hospital. If you do fall ill or are injured, seek help from a state medical facility first and tell your insurance provider what’s happened. They will give you advice on what additional private treatment might be covered by your policy.

After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.

However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.

If your plans change while you’re away and it looks like you’ll need extra cover – for example, if you decide to stay away for longer – get in touch with your insurance provider and ask to amend your policy. If they won’t, then shop around for a specialist policy that meets your needs.


The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.

Please note: from 4am on 4 October 2021, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries.

Currently, if your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

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.

What should my travel insurance to Spain include? 

While your holiday to Spain should be all about fun and relaxation, you should consider the following cover, just to protect you and provide peace of mind:

  • Medical cover – you’d be surprised at the full cost of medical treatment in Spain, with expenses which could run into the tens of thousands of pounds
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and passports – theft is one of the common risks that holidaymakers in Spain are vulnerable to, with pickpockets working in teams to steal money or passports
  • Cancellations and delays – if your holiday is cancelled, delayed or shortened, you can claim to recover any resulting costs – flights from Spanish airports had an average on-time performance rate of 63%, in 2018, while the Canary Islands generally perform much higher, you should still consider this
  • Repatriation – if there’s trouble with the airline, or you need special travel arrangements due to a medical requirement, these costs can be covered.

Spain Travel Insurance Exclusions 

While your insurance can provide cover for many of the unexpected costs you might face while travelling in Spain, there may be some exceptions. Here are some of the things to check carefully for in your policy:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – if you require treatment for these, you’ll likely need to pay more on your premium. However, at Compare the Market, any medical conditions declared will be included in the policies shown to you.
  • Injuries or accidents resulting from high-risk activities – Spain is popular for several adventure sports, including caving, canyoning and even snowboarding. If you’re travelling to Spain on an adventure holiday, check your policy carefully and arrange extra cover if necessary.
  • Incidents related to alcohol abuse – while it’s nice to have a few drinks on holiday, and with Spanish resorts, such as Ibiza and Magaluf, popular as party spots, things can quickly go wrong with too much alcohol. If you’re injured or lose something as a result of being overly intoxicated, your claim will likely be rejected
  • Travel to regions which Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised to avoid – this may be because of disease epidemics or terrorism threats. The FCO doesn’t currently advise avoiding travel to Spain, but does list the terrorism threat as likely. You should check for the latest updates ahead of travel.
  • Act of God – this includes natural disasters. Spain suffered from some flash flooding in 2019, and forest fires are quite common in the summer months.

Do I need a visa to go to Spain?

Brits can stay in Spain without a visa for up to three months. Make sure your passport is valid for the full length of your trip. 

Any other tips for travelling in Spain?

Climate: There are different climate zones in Spain, but visitors can generally expect hot dry summers and mild winters.

Time differences: Spain has two time zones – most of the country is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the exception being the Canary Islands, which keeps to GMT.

Tipping: It isn’t a core part of Spanish culture to tip. However, a gratuity of 5-10% will be appreciated.

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