The Guide to Travel Insurance for Trips to Europe

Travel insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection for your European adventure.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Published

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Traveling abroad can be an exhilarating adventure, especially when you’re heading to Europe. Whether you’re in the mood for an eclair or want to take in the Colosseum, making your way over to Europe involves a lot of moving parts.

That’s why travel insurance can be so beneficial. With protections such as trip delay reimbursement and coverage for lost luggage, travel insurance can help make sure your trip stays smooth.

What’s more, several plans include travel health insurance in Europe, so you can worry less about whether that hike through the Alps is a good idea.

Let’s take a look at travel insurance in Europe as well as other coverage options for your vacations.

How travel insurance works

Because a lot of thought, money and effort go into planning and taking a vacation, protecting your investments (and yourself) with travel insurance can make the difference between an enjoyable memory and a disastrous anecdote you tell at mealtimes.

Travel insurance can cover a variety of things, including:

Trip cancellation, trip delay, trip interruption and lost luggage insurance are all sources of protection when you travel, especially on airlines. These can reimburse you for nonrefundable expenses you miss out on due to covered delays, and may pay you back for costs you end up incurring (including lodging, meals, toiletries and clothing).

🤓Nerdy Tip

Although it’s possible to get standard health insurance for trips abroad, it’s much more common to get coverage for emergency care, which includes protections for unexpected injuries and illnesses.

Health insurance for European travel is usually included with a standard travel insurance policy, but there are plan limits and there may be deductibles.

It’s also possible to purchase medical-only travel insurance from certain providers if you aren’t interested in other trip protections.

How to choose between travel insurance companies

Before you start shopping for travel and medical insurance in Europe, evaluate the level of coverage you need based on your age, health, trip duration, destination and planned activities (some adventure sports aren't always covered). Compare plans from different providers, paying attention to coverage, benefits and prices.

Here's a short list of factors to consider:

  • The cost of the policy. 

  • The limits of the plan.

  • Whether there are deductibles.

  • Whether the benefits are primary or secondary.

  • Where you’re going. 

  • How long your trip is.

  • Whether you already have insurance that’ll cover you.  

  • The types of activities you’ll be doing. 

An insurance aggregator like InsureMyTrip or Squaremouth (a NerdWallet partner) can streamline your shopping experience. Be sure to also read reviews and ratings of individual travel insurance companies to get an idea of customer service and claim resolution processes.

Best plans for health insurance while traveling in Europe

To figure out the best plans for travel and health insurance in Europe, we generated quotes from multiple travel insurance companies using a test scenario. For this example, we used a 37-year-old Nevada resident traveling to Germany for 11 days with a $4,000 trip cost. Here are the winners.

1. GeoBlue

GeoBlue’s Voyager Choice medical insurance for European travel sits head and shoulders above the rest for cost, at only $28.16.

That said, there's a reason it is so affordable. This plan offers coverage only for medical emergencies and lacks other trip protections. It is a good option if you want to supplement existing travel coverage (say via your credit card) with more medical coverage.

Pros:

  • $1 million in medical coverage.

  • $0 deductible.

  • Offers direct billing.

Cons:

  • No trip protections.

  • Pre-existing condition coverage requires that you have domestic health insurance.

  • Can only purchase plans up to six months in advance of your trip. 

2. IMG

IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel SE’s comprehensive plan includes both trip protections and health insurance for Europe travel and rings in at just $135.36.

At this price point, it provides excellent primary coverage for medical insurance, offers rental car insurance and includes superior trip interruption reimbursement.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Travel delay reimbursement kicks in after 12 hours. 

  • Baggage loss is capped at $250 per item and $1,500 total.

  • More expensive than other options. 

3. Detour Insurance

The Detour Insurance @The Edge insurance plan is aptly named. Costing $86.90, the plan offers a unique inclusion for the costs of search and rescue, which can provide peace of mind if you're participating in backcountry adventures.

Pros:

  • $1 million limit for medical evacuation. 

  • Coverage can be extended. 

  • $10,000 for search and rescue. 

Cons:

  • No rental car insurance. 

  • Pre-existing conditions not covered. 

  • $50,000 limit for 24-hour accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. 

4. Trawick International

Trawick International’s Safe Travels Protect plan includes primary medical coverage as well as a wide range of trip protections. At $100.03, it even covers cancellations for medical reasons.

Pros:

  • $25,000 in emergency medical coverage.

  • 100% for both trip cancellation and trip interruption. 

  • Medical quarantine coverage included. 

Cons:

  • $100 medical deductible.

  • $500 lost luggage limit (not a great fit if you are packing several valuables).

  • Doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. 

Other tips for travel and medical insurance in Europe

  • Do you have a travel credit card? Many of these cards offer complimentary travel insurance as a part of their benefits. 

  • The plan you select may offer secondary coverage, but this matters only if you have existing insurance. In its absence, secondary coverage becomes primary. 

  • Look at your existing health insurance policy. Some plans will provide emergency coverage for you when traveling internationally. 

  • If you’re planning on heading for the Dolomites or other European mountains for winter sports, be sure that your travel insurance covers adventure activities; not all do. Travel insurance can rescue a ski or snowboard trip, but read the fine print to see what exclusions apply before you purchase a policy. 

Which credit cards offer Europe travel insurance?

If you’re looking for insurance when traveling to Europe, you may already have it without knowing. Many travel credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance.

Available types of insurance can include rental car insurance, emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation reimbursement, lost luggage protection and trip delay insurance.

Here are some of the best credit cards for travel insurance:

Top cards with travel insurance
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Annual fee

$95.

$550.

$695.

$395.

Travel protections (not a comprehensive list)

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays more than 6 hours.

Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

Terms apply.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per passenger for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $2,000 per person for nonrefundable airline, bus, train or ferry tikets.

• Trip interruption: Up to $2,000 per person for nonrefundable airline, bus, train or ferry tikets.

• Lost or damaged luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

Horizontal scroll

Terms apply.

Travel insurance for Europe recapped

Staying safe is important during your trip to Europe. Health insurance for travel can make a difference, especially if you’re planning on doing anything adventurous. The same can be said for other trip protections, which reimburse you for covered expenses that you incur.


To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Delay Insurance

  • Up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

  • The maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Baggage Insurance Plan

  • Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g., plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Cards for Travel Insurance from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-10x

Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

on Chase's website

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
4.2
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-2x

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

85,000

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Points
See more cards
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