There are currently no requirements for US citizens to obtain travel or health insurance as a condition of entry to Spain for trips spanning fewer than 90 days. This also includes the other Schengen countries in Europe, like neighboring France. However, many business travelers and tourists may want travel insurance for protection against sudden costs — including unexpected medical expenses and trip cancellations.
Some travel insurance plans also offer coverage for sports enthusiasts in the event of injuries and medical emergencies. Adventure activities are popular in Spain, from water sports in Barcelona and Bilbao to rock climbing in Serrania de Cuenca. But general emergency medical coverage also extends to tourists visiting major cities like Madrid and Valencia.
We outline some of the most common travel insurance coverage options below.
Cancel for Any Reason Coverage
When you buy a travel insurance policy, you agree to the conditions for using your coverage. For example, your policy will list specific reasons you can make a trip cancellation claim, such as serious illness or injury. But cancel for any reason coverage, otherwise known as CFAR, is an upgrade without limits.
CFAR benefits offer increased flexibility for international travel. For example, if you booked a hotel in Seville for a destination wedding and the couple calls off the event, you could use CFAR coverage to reimburse prepaid or non-refundable costs (like your hotel). It is unlikely that a standard travel insurance policy would cover travel costs due to a canceled wedding.
Though it offers flexibility for trip cancellations, CFAR does come with disclaimers and rules. Most travel insurance companies enforce time limits on when you can purchase CFAR coverage and timeframes in which you must cancel your trip. For example, Progressive requires you to purchase CFAR coverage within 10 to 21 days of making your initial trip payment and to notify vendors of canceled plans within 48 hours of your trip departure.
Gear Theft Protection
You may want to take some expensive gear on your Spanish vacation, including valuables such as your:
- Sports equipment
Travel insurance helps to recover valuables that are lost, stolen or damaged by a tour operator or airline. Most plans offer coverage up to a predetermined cost, and exclusions may apply.
Some providers also offer additional coverage you can purchase to protect your gear while traveling. But deciding to purchase travel gear theft protection ultimately depends on personal preferences. If your policy does not cover the full value of your items, travelers may choose to leave expensive items at home. However, purchasing additional trip coverage may be worthwhile if you have to travel with gear for work or sporting purposes.
Medical Emergency Insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation
The Spanish health care system is a leader in the Mediterranean region and the world. As a general rule, Spain doesn’t present major health hazards outside of extreme sports. However, there is always the possibility of unforeseen injuries that require medical care with international travel to any destination.
In the case of accidents, illness and emergencies, travel insurance for medical emergencies can cover a range of expenses that may include the following:
- Hospital fees
- Operating room charges
- Ambulance services
- Dental emergencies
- Lab tests and X-rays
Many travel medical insurance plans include emergency medical evacuation and repatriation if you cannot receive health care locally. This usually covers the cost of an evacuation to your home country or a major hospital within Spain.
Rental Car Protection
Spain legally requires unlimited third-party liability insurance for all rental vehicles, which the country automatically includes in the price of the car. While you can buy additional insurance from car rental companies, travel insurance can also protect you if an accident happens while driving abroad.
Some travel insurance plans include rental vehicle coverage in standard plans, while other providers may offer coverage as an add-on. Coverage varies depending on different travel insurance policies and providers. However, it may include the following:
- Collision damage waiver and theft protection
- Tire and windshield protection
- Roadside protection
- Personal effects coverage
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Should you cancel your Spain vacation before departure, trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for non-refundable and prepaid expenses. A standard Spain travel insurance policy provides reimbursement up to a certain limit. Most providers have strict rules regarding the reasons for canceling unless you purchase CFAR coverage.
Below are typical events that qualify for cancellation, all of which generally represent emergencies.
- Hospitalization or illness
- Death of the family member
- Dangerous weather conditions preventing departure
- International or domestic terrorism
- Jury duty