Travelling around the European Union is quite straightforward if you are a European citizen, right? You still need to do a bit of homework before travelling, particularly with regards to insurance, comparing travel and health insurance quotes.
Is Having the European Health Insurance Card Enough?
It turns out that, while you should definitely have a European Health Insurance Card and take it with you every time you travel within the European Union, it is not enough to cover you for all eventualities.
According to the Europa.eu website, “You should always take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you on all trips abroad. This card is the proof that you are insured in an EU country.”
Also: “-the card will not help you with rescue and repatriation – if you need free transport back home after falling seriously ill or after having an accident while visiting another EU country, you will need separate insurance cover
– the card does not cover you for private healthcare.”
PLEASE NOTE: Repatriation costs are not covered if you hold a European Health Insurance Card.
Getting Travel Insurance Quotes: Case Study
I wanted to compare different travel insurance quotes so I created the following scenario:
six months to one year travel in Europe (annual multi-trip cover)
countries to cover to include Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
winter sports included
price for one person
I made enquiries from London, UK, so the prices are in GBP. However, US-based companies provided prices in USD.
Quoted Price: Bronze £47.25, Silver £54.00, Gold £62.10.
Personal possessions cover: N/A for Bronze, £1,500 for Silver, £2,000 for Gold.
Emergency medical associated expenses: £1,000,000 for Bronze, £5,000,000 for Silver, £10,000,000 for Gold.
Allianz listed the activities that are covered automatically with their policy. This is an abridged version:
deep sea fishing,
horse riding (not competitions, show jumping, hunting, eventing, polo or rodeo),
organised safari trekking in a vehicle
scuba diving to a depth of 30 metres,
This means that any types of professional sporting activities and competitions require specialist insurance to be bought separately. Policy excess is separate.
Quoted Price: Standard Plan £211.65, Explorer Plan £267.31.
You can also add a £3.00 fee, as mentioned on the website: “to help change lives”. Donations go towards:
Reduce Avoidable Blindness in Cambodia
Fight the Impacts of Climate Change on Turtles in Panama
Provide Teacher Training and Quality Education in Nepal
World Nomads cover between £5,000,000 and £10,000,000 for emergency medical expenses according to the policy you purchase. Personal belongings are covered up to £1,000 or £2,000 depending on your chosen policy.
A policy excess applies.
Personal accident cover up to £10,000 or £25,000 depending on the policy.
Quoted Price: USD $383.00
International SOS covers up to $1,000,000 for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.
Quoted Price: $429.
After getting a quote, you get prompted to enroll. Global Rescue provides medical evacuation and field rescue.
Are Travel Insurance Policies Comparable?
After getting quotes from insurers, it is rather clear that a straightforward comparison of travel insurance policies is not feasible. Each insurer will offer a specific service, with some providers specialising in rescue operations while others offering a more standard travel cover.
While the cost of a policy is an important factor when choosing travel insurance, real life experiences from policyholders can help decide which provider to go with.
A good starting point is to look at the Global Digital Nomads group on Facebook. Many digital nomads ask for advice on travel and medical insurance and get useful insights from other travellers.
Other good sources for online reviews are Trustpilot.com, TripAdvisor.com and Insuremytrip.com. However, you will notice that people who made claims through their insurer can have polar opposite experiences. The most common complaint in negative reviews is the length of time to process a claim. Sometimes you need to factor in a six months’ wait to get your money back. Also, changes to the policy can be extremely expensive, for example extending a trip.
Travel Insurer Poll