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Travel insurance can be a very important accompaniment to your trip, especially when you’re traveling throughout multiple countries. Europe is a prime example of this, where the border-free Schengen zone allows you to traverse multiple countries without passing passport control. Finding Schengen visa travel insurance isn’t always simple, however, and you’ll want to ensure that you have coverage regardless of your location.
There are plenty of things to think about before buying travel insurance when traveling throughout Europe, including: the coverage you’re looking for, how you’ll be paying and whether your credit card already offers insurance.
Let’s take a look at Schengen travel insurance and five easy tips for making sure you’re good to go — no matter where you travel within the region.
What to do before buying Schengen visa insurance
1. Decide which type of insurance you’d like
Although there aren’t generally any Schengen visa travel insurance requirements, there are multiple types of travel insurance coverage available depending on your needs. Consider carefully the type of coverage you’re looking for. Common types includes:
Emergency evacuation insurance.
Note that the U.K. left the Schengen zone a few years ago, so you’ll want to double-check whether coverage in the U.K. is valid for your travel insurance policy.
» Learn more: Is travel insurance worth it?
2. Get multiple quotes
It’s always in your best interest to get multiple quotes before purchasing insurance. The amount you’ll pay will be heavily dependent on the type of coverage you receive, its length and any deductibles that you may have.
Cancel For Any Reason insurance, or CFAR, allows you to recoup most or all of your nonrefundable costs — no matter why you’ve chosen not to travel.
There are plenty of different websites that’ll allow you to compare different insurance plans such as TravelInsurance.com or SquareMouth.com (a NerdWallet partner), which will gather together multiple quotes in one easy search.
There are several details you’ll need to have on hand when looking for quotes. These include:
The total cost of your trip.
Your dates of travel.
The number of travelers.
The age of travelers.
Where you live.
When you booked your trip.
Once you’ve got all your information gathered together, it’s simple to find a policy that fits your need for travel insurance in the Schengen zone on one of the comparison websites.
» Learn more: What is travel insurance?
3. Use this as an opportunity to maximize credit card bonus points
If you’re planning a vacation to Europe, hopefully you’ve already acquired a travel credit card or two. However, cards that focus on travel rewards won’t necessarily optimize insurance purchases.
» Learn more: How to choose a credit card for Europe travel
In this case, you’ll want to double down on rewards with a card that’ll maximize everyday spend. These cards will give you bonus points on all purchases, no matter their category. Great options for this include:
Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Earn 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus category purchases.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Earn 2 American Express Membership Rewards on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. Terms apply.
While you likely won’t be earning a ton of points for your travel insurance purchase (unless your costs are exorbitantly high), maximizing your earnings is always a good idea. Don’t leave money on the table.
» Learn more: The best travel insurance companies
4. Double-check the policy before purchasing
Not all travel insurance policies are created equal. This is probably no great revelation, but it’s definitely something of which you’ll want to be aware.
This is especially pertinent when it comes to the current travel climate in the COVID-19 era. While you may purchase a health insurance plan that covers most medical costs, it may specifically exclude those incurred by COVID-19. And even if it does reimburse you for any hospital costs, it may not pay for a forced quarantine in the event of illness.
These are things you’ll want to check for when buying travel insurance for any trip. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your policy carefully, and if there’s very specific coverage you’re looking for (such as that offering protection in the event you catch COVID-19), you can often use search filters to narrow down your options.
» Learn more: Is there travel insurance that covers COVID quarantine?
5. Consider using a credit card that provides trip insurance instead of buying a new policy
One great feature of travel credit cards is the complimentary trip insurance they often provide. In order for your trip to be eligible for coverage, you’ll need to use the card to pay for your trip. In exchange, however, you can receive some pretty powerful benefits without needing to pay out of pocket.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card, for example, provides primary rental car insurance. This means that when you decline the insurance offered at the counter, your entire rental will be covered against collision up to the actual value of the rental car.
What’s most powerful about this feature is that, as primary, it comes before your own personal insurance — possibly saving you expensive premium jumps and claims on your policy.
Other cards that include powerful travel insurance protection such as interruption, cancellation or baggage coverage include The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The cheapest flights to Europe on points
If you’re looking to buy travel insurance for a Schengen visa
It makes sense to purchase travel insurance in many circumstances, especially with the uncertainty in today’s travel world. Take advantage of these five tips to make sure you’re properly prepared for your trip — whether you’re heading to France, Finland or any of the over two dozen Schengen countries.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card