Europe has something for everyone, from scenic countrysides and ancient, historical settings to modern metros and quaint villages. In fact, Australians like Europe so much that around 1,669,000 of us traveled over there in 2017-18.
Before you jet off to the other side of the world for your dream getaway, here are a couple of things you should know about travel insurance for Europe.
Do I need travel insurance for Europe?
Yes, all travellers – whether they’re visiting Europe for business or pleasure – should consider travel insurance. You just never know when things might go wrong; perhaps you catch the flu, the airline cancels your flights, operators delay your tour, or thieves steal your luggage. You can plan your trip as well as you can, but you can’t account for everything.
For example, 289 Australians lost their passport in the United Kingdom in 2017-18, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Another 323 had their passports stolen while in Italy.
Such events are impossible to foresee, but easy to prepare for – with the right product.
What should my travel insurance policy for Europe include?
Your coverage should depend on the type of trip you plan to take. That said, travel insurance can cover:
- Medical costs. If you have a medical emergency while overseas and require treatment and/or hospitalisation, travel insurance may cover these costs. Only 10 European countries have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, so if you don’t have travel insurance and need medical treatment in a non-RHCA country, you may have to pay for the whole bill from your own
- Adventures (if you plan on having any). If you’re planning to hit the ski slopes of places like Switzerland or Norway, you should check if cover for extreme and winter sports is included in your policy and, if not, whether cover is available as an optional extra. Read more about adventure travel insurance.
- Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and belongings. Your insurer may cover your luggage and belongings up to a certain Passports may also be covered, as Australian consulates do charge a fee to replace your passport if it’s lost or stolen overseas.
- Cancellations and delays. If your travel plans are delayed or cancelled, your insurer may cover associated costs like cancellation fees. Such an event can occur anywhere;
- train lines get icy, and services might be halted between England and France,
- a volcano erupts in Iceland and delays flights in the area, or
- workers strike and make it impossible to reach your tropical island paradise.
- Legal liability. Your insurer may cover the cost of your legal liability if you’re responsible for the death, injury or destruction of another person or their property.
Make sure you thoroughly read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for all inclusions, exclusions, terms and conditions of any policy you’re considering purchasing.
Europe travel insurance: exclusions you should you look out for
Travel insurance can’t cover you for every little thing that could go wrong on your trip around Europe, which is why it’s important to find out what’s actually included and excluded in your policy. Your policy’s PDS will have these details, as they may differ between policies and insurers.
Here’s a list of some common travel insurance exclusions you might find in your policy:
- Extreme, winter and other adventure sports. You’re generally not covered for incidents and claims arising from participation in these sports. However, some insurers do offer cover for these as an optional extra.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. Unless your insurer offers cover for your condition as an optional extra, you may not be covered for any claims resulting from or linked to it.
- Intoxication. Injuries and other claims resulting from an incident where you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be covered.
- Active travel warnings. If you’re travelling to a country with an active travel warning from the Australian government, your insurer may not cover your travel there. You can find information about travel warnings and check which countries have them through Smartraveller.
Top travel tips for Europe
1. Check the visa requirements of each country you’ll visit
If you’re travelling to multiple European countries, you’ll need to check the entry requirements of each one, as they can differ between countries. For example, tourists visiting the United Kingdom for less than six months usually don’t need a visa, whereas all visitors to Russia are required to have one. Europe is also home to the Schengen area, which again has different visa requirements.
2. Keep some cash on you
In some countries, like Bulgaria, cash is still the predominant method of payment; in others, including Portugal, foreign credit cards may not be accepted in small shops and rural areas. It’s probably a good idea to always keep some cash on you, as well as your card, just in case.
3. Wear comfortable shoes
If you’re determined to see the sights, then walking may be the way to go – just make sure you wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be walking a lot and over all sorts of surfaces, both even and uneven! In addition, check a few maps out so that you don’t walk into an unsavoury area.
4. Book in advance
Europe is, of course, an exceptionally popular tourist destination. If there’s a certain museum, tour, attraction, or anything else you desperately want to see or do on your trip, you should consider booking it before you even leave Australia to make absolutely sure you’ll get in once you’re there.
Compare travel insurance for Europe
Heading to Europe soon and haven’t sorted your travel insurance? You can do that right here and now with our simple travel insurance comparison service. Enter some details about your travel plans and our service will find you a selection of travel insurance policies within minutes.
You can also look through our guide to travel insurance by destination if you’d like to learn more about travel insurance for a specific country on your itinerary.
Based on total number of visitors to the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Other North West Europe, and Other Europe, year ending September 2018. Australian Government: Website of Tourism Research Australia – Latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) Results: Year ending December 2018. Table: 18 Overseas trips, overseas nights and total trip expenditure by main destination. Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Consular State of Play 2017-18, published September 2018. Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Human Services – About reciprocal health care agreements. Published August 2018. Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Consular Services Charter, published on Smartraveller.gov.au. Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – United Kingdom. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Russia. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Bulgaria. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au. Sourced April 2019.
Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Portugal. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au. Sourced April 2019.