The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower surely is breathtaking but a fall from the top is also sure to take your breath away. Does not sound like the most ideal situation right? It will be worse if you do not have travel insurance to cover for you when you are in the hospital because of such an accident that was not in your control. Life is such. One moment you could be on top and the very next second, right at the bottom. Uncertain and unexpected situations are not in our control but what is in our control is how we are going to handle such a situation. The only thing that can be done apart from praying to God is thinking back to the moment when you decided to invest in a travel insurance plan. You will thank yourself, multiple times.
The European government understands this and hence has made it a requirement before being able to apply for a Schengen visa. If you are a passport holder or a citizen of the 110 countries it has listed out under the visa required category, then you also fall under the category that requires you to have travel insurance for Schengen visa and not just any travel insurance, but one that covers international health insurance as well. Some of the countries that fall under this list are – India, Bangladesh, North Korea, Thailand, Kuwait, Jordan, Jamaica, Qatar, Oman, Sudan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Cambodia, Kenya, and Ghana.
However, if you do not belong to any of these 110 countries then you probably fall under the list of visa-free third countries that do not require a visa before entering the Schengen area. This also does not make it mandatory for them to have international travel insurance however it is still something that is recommended by the European Government.
There should be a very clear understanding of what are the countries that make up the Schengen area. There are a total of twenty-six countries, out of which twenty-two are a part of the European Union (EU) and the other four are a part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). These countries are – Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Iceland, France, Italy, Denmark, Luxembourg, Germany, Estonia, Portugal, Latvia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Malta, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Liechtenstein, Norway, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.
Just having a travel insurance plan is not enough. There are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled for the international travel insurance plan to be valid. These are:
- The insurance must be valid in all the twenty countries that make up the Schengen area.
- The insurance must be valid for the entire duration of stay.
- Irrespective of the purpose of travel and the number of people traveling, insurance is a must.
- The minimum coverage for medical emergencies must be 30,000 EUR or 50,000 USD.
- It should meet all the other visa requirements.
- There is an insurance certificate or letter issued which must be carried along as proof.
The cost of the insurance depends upon the duration of travel, the number of people traveling and the age of all the people that are getting insured. If for some reason the visa is rejected, then the amount of the insurance that is reimbursed depends on company and company and hence should be checked beforehand so as to not face any loss later on. It is always better to be safe than sorry.