Is Germany on your travel plan?
Planning just a short trip or moving there to fulfill your dreams? Whatever be your reasons, you ought to have a proper health insurance while traveling there.
It is mandatory for everyone in Germany to have a health insurance. Even travelers who stay for a day there need to have it. Here I have come up with some important information regarding travel insurance, healthcare, and safety for travelers with short or long term visa.
Following are some health insurances that cater to all kinds of visit purposes:
1. Insurance for a short term stay especially for Tourists, Guests or Business Travellers
The important criterion is to see if you require a Schengen Visa. If yes, kindly follow the required procedure to obtain it. With this type of Visa, you can travel across 26 European nations for up to 90 days. For obtaining a Schengen Visa, proper health insurance for Germany is compulsory. It has been specified by German authorities to look for health insurance providers that provide a minimum coverage of Euro 30,000 for hospital or emergency treatments.
2. For International Students/Intern
Students can freely concentrate on their studies without worrying about getting sick and the resulting high medical bills. With this insurance cover, you will certainly get a Go-Ahead signal from your university to begin your education.
Normally it’s important for international students to be covered by statutory health insurance. In case you are an exception to that (applicable for postgraduate students, guest scientist, language course student, scholar or students who are 30 years of age and above etc), you can try the following:
- If your native country provides such insurances, its the best.
- Students from EU country need to show their EU health insurance card and this later will be recognized in Germany.
- Last option is to choose a suitable student health insurance from German private companies.
3. For Employees, Expats, and Freelancers
This plan best suits those who have got a job or have decided to stay for a long time e.g. expats. This working health insurance covers for a period of 4-5 years with great tariffs.
Please note that you read all the conditions (what treatments are covered and what not) while choosing your travel insurance plans.
There are currently 26 countries that are part of Schengen area. They include- Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Exceptions are UK and nations like Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cypress, and Ireland.
Requirements For A Schengen Visa
For a trip more than 3 months, you need a special travel insurance. Your travel insurance must be valid for your full stay and also in other Schengen areas you travel. You might need to show your visa letter (that can be obtained from your insurance partner) in some countries. Basically, they want to tally if your insurance coverage matches with the stated conditions. Ensure that your letter states your full name with date of birth (as written in passport).
Basic medical insurance requirements for this type of visa are:-
- Minimum coverage should be around Euro 30,000 ( i.e. ~US $ 50,000)
- Valid for your entire stay period in all Schengen regions
- Covers all the major expenses with regard to repatriation for medical purposes, emergencies, or death
Fee For A Schengen Visa Insurance
The cost varies as per the duration of your coverage, your age, and the insurance coverage amount. Apart from the basic coverage amount (i.e. US$ 50,000), you may desire to add more coverage e.g. up to US$ 100,000 for a long term visa. This might be in the case with some serious ailments.
Basic coverage fee for an 18-year-old tourist would be as low as $ 1/day. Travelers above the age 18 will be charged premiums. For instance, if a 35-year-old tourist pays ~ $2/day for a basic coverage then for that same amount a 65-year-old would pay $5/day.
Safety Tips for Tourists
Germany is comparatively a very safe country for tourists. But it’s always better to stay safe than to be sorry. So always be aware of the pickpockets and thieves while being in a crowd at a sightseeing place. Keep all your personal belongings protected and valuables safe whether at home or hotel. Avoid carrying your original passport all the time. Better keep the copies of it in your bags.
Always keep the emergency phone numbers (like banks, embassies, ambulance, police etc) and addresses handy. This way you will be better equipped to know what action has to be taken in case your purse and important documents get stolen or during medical emergencies.
A few emergency numbers in Germany are:
- Polizei (Police)- 110
- Notruf (Ambulance)- 112
- Feuerwehr (Fire Service)- 112
In Germany, 85% of people are mostly covered with public insurance system while only 10% stick to private companies. Individuals who earn above Euro 50,000 can opt for private insurances but they rather prefer government provided insurance.
The insurance companies generally consider age factor which can ultimately result in paying high premiums. Further to this, some benefits may also be compromised especially after 60 years of age.
Get to know your doctor
It is a wise idea, especially for expats with families and children, to search for a primary physician. Your insurance partner can help you in finding the right doctors. You would feel relaxed once you get to know them in advance by having some routine check-ups.
You may face conversational problems as doctors mostly speak German. You can further take help from your embassy for finding an English speaking doctor, although they would be less in numbers.
A word of advice for you- do greet other patients when you arrive or leave a clinic’s waiting lounge, otherwise, it would be rude on your part.
The pharmacies can be located anywhere with their big “A” mark (stands for Apotheke) on shops. Their timings are from 9am-6pm (Mon-Fri) and 9am-12pm (Sat).
Doctors here generally prescribe costliest medicines with brand names. In that case, you can consult your pharmacist to give you a cheap alternate brand.
Am I required to have any vaccinations before travel?
In general, there are no mandatory health vaccinations to be taken for a travel to Germany.
Though it’s advisable that all travelers should have all the standard immunizations with regard to MMR, tetanus-diphtheria, polio and influenza.
So, are you ready for traveling?
It’s always better to be equipped with all the travel necessities with some “What -Ifs” thinking. This way you are better in handling any unforeseen incidents. Make sure all important documents are tick-marked on your checklists.
Rather than fretting over the unnecessary stuff, with proper travel planning and initiatives your vacation will be much more relaxing and pleasurable.
Updated: May 14, 2017