If you’re from outside the EU and are currently studying or living in the UK, then having continental Europe within touching distance is incredibly tempting. There’s a whole host of historic countries and cultures just waiting to be explored. Before you jump on a plane, hop on a train or even a boat, you’ll need to get your visa sorted first. Luckily for you, the Schengen Agreement means you can travel between most of the countries of Europe and only need one visa. But before you jet off, you’ll need to make sure you have the right level of travel insurance for your Schengen visa.

What is the Schengen Agreement?

The Schengen Agreement is a legal agreement between 26 European countries. It means people travelling legally in the EU can enter multiple countries without having to go through border checks. It’s part of the EU’s commitment to the free movement of people and it makes travelling Europe a breeze.

Although the Schengen Agreement covers the majority of Europe it is worth double checking before you set off where you can go. The 26 countries signed up are:

  • 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
  • Switzerland

There are a few notable exceptions though, a Schengen visa won’t grant you automatic entry to these European countries:

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • United Kingdom

Does Everyone Need a Schengen Visa?

Even if you’re not from the EU, not everybody requires a Schengen visa to travel freely between the 26 countries signed up to the agreement. If you’re from the USA, Canada, Japan, Israel, Australia, New Zealand or the UAE then you’ve already got other arrangements in place.

It’s worth double checking with your own travel ministry to make sure. You don’t need to worry about Brexit affecting your travel insurance either. The Schengen Agreement is not affected by this.

passport visa

What Is Schengen Travel Insurance?

You are required by EU law to have certain levels of travel insurance cover for your Schengen visa - this can be either single trip travel insurance or annual multi-trip travel insurance. These requirements include things like medical expenses and repatriation. The list of requirements for schengen travel insurance covers all the basics to make sure you can receive medical treatment overseas and be repatriated for treatment if necessary. But a policy from Columbus Direct also gives you some great extra benefits as standard. You’ll get lost luggage cover for a starter, cover for cancelling your holiday if you fall ill, and helpful additions like 5 day’s free global Wi-Fi. Not only are you required to have travel insurance for Europe, but we’d also strongly recommend you get a good level of cover anyway. You’ll have any medical expenses you might encounter covered, as well as protection should anything go wrong with your trip. When you’re trying to soak up the culture of Europe, the last thing you want to do is be worrying about what-ifs. Travel insurance means you can relax and make some amazing memories. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it makes sense to try to include cover for it on your travel insurance policy. Take a look at how Columbus Direct can help with that here.

Schengen Travel Insurance Eligibility

You can purchase a Columbus Direct policy from Columbus for your Schengen Visa, provided you meet the following requirements:

  • You’re over 18 years of age
  • You're a UK resident and have been for at least 3 months 
  • You're purchasing the insurance while in the UK
  • You're travelling from and returning to the UK

Schengen Travel Insurance Requirements

For your travel insurance to cover your Schengen visa it needs to meet certain requirements and levels of cover. The minimum amount of medical cover must be at least €30,000 and must cover you for the entire area of Europe. Sometimes it can help to look for European travel insurance for your Schengen visa. If certain European countries are excluded, then your visa may not be sufficiently covered. It is worth considering that although €30,000 is the minimum level of medical cover you may want to ensure you have more than this as some Schengen area countries will require you to have any medical needs, which could include death or repatriation, covered as well. A Bronze policy from Columbus for example, provides you with up to £5 million emergency medical expenses.

How to Get Schengen Travel Insurance

Because meeting the required levels of travel medical insurance for your Schengen visa can be complex, we always recommend speaking to one of the Columbus Direct team over the phone. You can get a quote and get travel insurance for your Schengen visa in minutes. You can also go through any extra requirements - like cover for sports and activities, or finding cover for a pre-existing medical condition with our straight-forward medical screening. We hope you’ll find the perfect policy - so you can relax and enjoy your amazing trip. Columbus Direct travel insurance gives you the ultimate peace of mind, for Europe and worldwide destinations

Latest from our blog View more

16 simple things you can do to have a happy and safe festival

If you were all out of luck with Glastonbury tickets this year, or want to find a guaranteed mud-free experience, you might be thinking of heading to a festival abroad this summer. Why not? It’s a great idea and with cheap flights, not that much more expensive. Plenty of sunshine, potentially cheap... Read more

Travel to the Ends of the Earth for National Parks week

Nature is awakening and spring is here. This Easter coincides with the start of National Parks Week in the US (20th-28th April) and the closing weekend of the Discover National Parks fortnight here in the UK (6th-20th April). Here are four absolute jaw-droppers from all four corners of the earth to... Read more

6 of the Best Places to Celebrate Holi Festival of Colours

What’s a festival without getting a little messy? India’s Holi celebrations do it in style. You’ve probably seen the pictures – revellers covered head to toe in vivid coloured powders, the air clouded in a pastel explosion. Want in on the action? Well, if you’re thinking of getting away this Spring... Read more

Interesting Turkish cuisine you shouldn't pass up

A big influence on the dishes served up in Turkey today came from Ottoman cuisine from the Ottoman Empire (14th – 20th Century), inheriting flavours from Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and parts of the Caucasus and the Middle East. And it was this collection of flavours and cooking techniques which giv... Read more

Popular festivals in Thailand you need to see!

Thailand is a popular holiday destination for UK residents, with an estimated 987,000 visiting the country in 2018, making it the top European nationality to visit Thailand during the 12 month period. But what exactly draws holidaymakers to the Southeast Asian country? Sure, the beaches are pretty a... Read more

5 days of free Wi-Fi now available to Columbus Direct customers

Going abroad and not having full use of your mobile without paying extortionate charges for roaming can be very frustrating, especially when you like to stay (or need to stay) connected. Not all hotels and resorts are well connected, you may find that they offer no Wi-Fi, or offer a poor connection ... Read more

Travel Insurance tailored for you

Why Columbus Direct?

  • FREE airport lounge access if your flight is delayed for more than 1 hour
  • Over 150 sports and activities covered free
  • Award-winning products and services
  • Over 15 million customers since 1988


awards 2017