There are parts of Europe that you can explore using only one visa. These are called Schengen countries. Yes to cross-country travelling! But wait, not so fast. As a requirement, you will need a Schengen travel insurance, which has repatriation as well as medical expenses coverage in the plan. Usually plans like these should have a minimum of ₱2.5 million, €30,000, or $50,000 of medical expenses coverage benefit.
Under a treaty called the Schengen agreement, 26 countries opened their borders to allow international influx of tourism and businesses. Although the countries have imposed measures to control borders following the Paris attacks as well as the most recent migration crisis, the requirements of a Schengen travel insurance remains.
What are the European countries under the Schengen Agreement?
The countries included in the Schengen area include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
What are the requirements?
If you plan to visit a country in the Schengen area, you will first need to go to the embassy of that country in the Philippines to apply for a Schengen visa. This step is important before you get a Schengen travel insurance because the embassy will tell you how many days you are eligible to stay in the country you are applying for. Without that knowledge, you won't be able to get a travel insurance with the right number of days.
Following your visit to the embassy, you can start looking for plans which provide Schengen travel insurance. A good way to start is using a GoBear to compare travel insurance. This free website allows you to see all the details with included and excluded benefits.
How much does a Schengen travel insurance cost?
Like any other travel insurance plan, the premium (or the amount you pay for), depends on the coverage benefits included in the plan. Here are 4 of the cheapest travel insurance options when going to Swtizerland for 1 month or 31 days:
Citibank Global Plan
Citibank Global Plan is available for people from 18 years old to 74 years old and it covers your single trip for up to 90 days only, compared to 180 days of FPG Insurance and Liberty Insurance. Under the Global Plan, you have up to ₱1,000,000 in personal accident, up to ₱2,500,000 in medical expenses (Schengen requirement), and hospital allowance of up to ₱10,000.
Since travelling to Europe is a long flight, your baggage may get lost in transit. Under Citibank's plan, you are covered up to ₱50,000 in lost baggage and personal belongings, which is the highest coverage among the mentioned plans. The plan also covers trip cancellation, trip termination, baggage delay and travel delay.
Malayan Global Plan
The Malayan Global Plan is available for people ages 18 to 64 years old for adults, 1 to 17 years old for children and 60 to 80 years old for elderly. It covers your single trip of up to 90 days with an automatic extension of up to 24 hours. Personal accident coverage is up to ₱1,000,000, while the medical expenses achieves the Schengen travel insurance requirement of ₱2,500,000. The plan also covers up to ₱10,000 in hospital allowance, which is not available for FPG's Europe Plan and the Travel Protector Plus Plan of Libety Insurance.
Travel bumps like loss of baggage, trip cancellation, trip termination and travel delay are also included in the coverage. Another benefit of Malayan's Global Plan is up to ₱20,000 of benefits when you lose your travel documents (including passport) during your trip.
FPG Insurance Europe Plan
The Europe Plan of FPG insurance, which is available as a Schengen travel insurance, is for individuals from 1 year old to 80 years old. It covers you for up to 180 days, with a higher personal accident coverage of up to ₱1,500,000. A unique benefit which is only available in this plan among the four plans is that is has an emergency first medical treatment of up to ₱35,250, although it doesn't have hospital allowance coverage.
It has a personal liability coverage of up to ₱1,000,000 and an ambulance service.
Liberty Insurance Travel Protector Plus Plan 2,500,000
This Schengen travel insurance from Liberty covers individuals of up to 75 years old for a single trip of up to 180 days. It has an automatic extension service of up to 10 days. While the premium is highest here compared to the rest, it has a higher coverage for personal accident of up to ₱2,500,000, same coverage benefit for its medical expenses while travelling. However, it does not have emergency first medical treatment as well as hospital allowance.
It has the lowest coverage for the loss of your personal belongings and baggage at ₱12,500, and a trip cancellation coverage of only ₱25,000. The good thing about this coverage is that it has the most comprehensive coverage when it comes to emergency situations, including benefits for guaranteed hospital admission, ambulance service, emergency medical evacuation, emergency medical repatriation and emergency dental expenses. What is compromised is the personal liability coverage, which is excluded from the plan.
Looking at these comparisons on Schengen travel insurance, you will know that plans with higher premiums don't necessarily equate to better coverage. It may only mean higher amount on specific coverage benefits, usually in personal accident and medical expenses. Always compare travel insurance with GoBear before committing. You never know how much you can save!
Travel insurance coverage benefits you need to know