YOU ASK:

What travel insurance should I use when traveling in Europe?

WE ANSWER:

When you are planning on doing some traveling in Europe, it is recommended that you take two kinds of insurance - travel insurance and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

EHIC (which took the place of E111 in 2006), provides hospital treatment either for free or at a discounted price. With the EHIC, you can avail of this benefit wherever you are in Europe. That means that in case you get injured or sick during your European trip, you don't have to pay an arm and a leg just to get treatment. EHIC may also provide cover even for pre-existing medical conditions that may be commonly excluded by travel insurance providers.

However, you still need travel insurance with international medical cover, since EHIC only caters to treatment provided in government hospitals. If you need emergency repatriation to your home country or need to be picked up by a private ambulance or would prefer to be treated in a private medical clinic, EHIC will not cover this.

You should also remember that the European Union has imposed mandatory travel insurance starting the year 2004. You must prove that you are covered with travel insurance before you are issued a Schengen visa (the Schengen visa grants you entry to Schengen member states).

Check whether the travel insurance you are planning to buy is approved for Schengen Visas. Travel insurance approved for Schengen Visa should cover for medical repatriation and emergency medical treatment.

There is also a set minimum value for the policy (check for the current minimum value - as of this writing, it is at 30,000 Euros).

You will buy this travel insurance from an insurance company and not from the European consular representative or embassy. You just need to show this travel insurance policy when you apply for a visa.

If you are applying for a multiple-entry Schengen Visa or a visa that will provide you with a longer stay, you will need to present your travel insurance policy during your first trip. After that, you don't need to present your policy. You just need to declare that you have medical travel insurance every time you enter Schengen-covered territory.

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