Travel Insurance for Spain

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14 Mar 2024

Buy travel insurance to Spain


Whether you’re going for the glorious beaches, the culture and history, the wonderful food or all of the above, Spain is a fantastic and popular destination for Brits abroad. To enjoy your holiday in Spain with full peace of mind, make sure you’re fully covered with reliable travel insurance.


Do I need Travel Insurance for Spain?


You don’t have to have travel insurance if you’re visiting Spain, but it can provide protection and peace of mind. Unexpected problems can always happen, and insurance could help prevent your trip, and your bank balance, getting ruined.


Travel insurance can protect you against losses and charges caused by:


  • Medical expenses
  • Being brought back to the UK during a medical emergency (being repatriated)
  • Your trip being cancelled or cut short
  • Your trip being prolonged – such as your return travel being cancelled, meaning you need to stay extra days
  • The loss of your luggage or other possessions


Do I need a Visa for Spain?


British citizens can visit Spain without a visa for up to 90 days.


If you wish to stay in Spain for more than 90 days within a 180-day period, you’ll need to request a visa from the UK Spanish Embassy. If you’ve visited another Schengen country within 180 days of travelling to Spain, that previous stay might count towards your 90-day limit. If you’re not sure about your upcoming trip to Spain, contact the Spanish Embassy to check.


You should also make sure your passport will be in date for at least 6 months longer than when you plan to take your trip to Spain.


At the Spanish border, you may also have to:


  • Show proof of where you’ll be staying in Spain, such as a hotel booking
  • Show a return or onward ticket
  • Prove you have enough money for your stay in Spain


Travel Insurance Policy Types for Spain


There are a few cover options when it comes to travel insurance, with policies to suit different travel requirements. For Spanish travel insurance, consider:


  • European travel insurance for single trips. You’ll need European travel insurance – rather than worldwide travel insurance – for a holiday in Spain. Travel insurance for a single trip will usually be the cheapest if you’re only planning one holiday to Spain over 12 months.


  • Annual travel insurance. If you’re making multiple trips to Spain within 12 months – or multiple trips to other Schengen countries – an annual travel insurance policy may be better value than multiple single-trip


  • Family and couples travel insurance: If you’re travelling as a family or a couple, you could get a better deal with family travel insurance rather than multiple policies for each person.


  • Gadget cover. Gadgets like phones, tablets and cameras might not always be fully covered by standard travel insurance. Compare cover levels and policy documents to see what’s included.


  • Sports travel insurance. If you plan to play sports during your trip to Spain – like golf, tennis or diving – you may need a higher level of cover.


What will Spain Travel Insurance cover?


Different travel insurance policies will offer different types of cover, but European travel insurance usually covers:


  • Most medical care costs
  • The cost of being brought back to the UK for medical reasons (repatriation)
  • Holiday cancellations or delays
  • Flight or other transport cancellations or delays
  • Your holiday being prolonged – such as your return flights being cancelled
  • Loss, damage or theft of your luggage or other property
  • Coronavirus cover in case your trip is disrupted by any measures taken
  • Personal liability – legal or other costs incurred if you're responsible for causing damage or injury to other people


What’s not covered by travel insurance for Spain?


Most European travel insurance policies won’t cover:


  • Any pre-existing medical conditions that you haven’t told your insurance provider about – you must inform your provider about any medical conditions you have so you’ll be properly covered. You may have to buy specialist travel insurance for people with certain medical conditions
  • Alcohol or drug intoxication – if you injure yourself or cause an accident whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you most likely won’t be covered
  • Terrorist incidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Sports considered an insurance risk, like mountain climbing, white water rafting, diving or horse riding


How much is travel insurance for Spain?


The price of a European travel insurance policy will vary depending on your circumstances and the trip you book. A range of factors will affect the cost, including whether you’re travelling by yourself or with others, any medical conditions you have, the type of trip you’re taking, and any extras you want to add to your insurance.


Healthcare in Spain


Just like the UK, Spain has both private and public healthcare systems. As a British citizen, you can apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will allow you to use the Spanish state healthcare system for free or at a reduced cost[1]. You can apply for a GHIC through the NHS.

If you need healthcare when you’re in Spain, you may still have to foot the bill yourself. This is why it’s worth considering travel insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses while you’re on holiday.


Does an EHIC card cover health insurance in Spain?


A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will grant you access to emergency or necessary healthcare in Spain or any EU country, either for free or at a lower cost.


If you still have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can use it rather than a GHIC until your EHIC expires.


Do I still need a travel insurance policy if I have a GHIC?


Travelling with both a GHIC and travel insurance can be a good idea to make sure you’re covered for a wide range of medical emergencies. Whilst a GHIC will cover you for more common medical treatments, it won’t cover you for everything. Having both a GHIC and a travel insurance policy will help you avoid potentially expensive healthcare bills.


Travelling with prescription medication


If you take prescription medication, bring your prescriptions with you and ideally a note from your doctor describing why you’re taking them. This is in case you're questioned at customs or need to get more medication while you’re in Spain.


Is Lanzarote classed as Spain for Travel Insurance?


Lanzarote – and the other Canary Islands, like Tenerife and Gran Canaria – are classed as part of Spain, and part of the EU[2]. Most European travel insurance policies will cover trips to the Canary Islands, but make sure you check the details of any travel insurance policy before you buy it.


Is Mallorca classed as Spain for Travel Insurance?


Mallorca (or Majorca) – as well as the other Balearic Islands, like Menorca, Ibiza and  Formentera – are a part of Spain. The Balearic Islands will be covered by most European travel insurance policies, but always check the details of a policy before you purchase it.


Driving in Spain


If you want to drive in Spain – either by hiring a car or in your own car – you’ll need to have car insurance. If hiring a car, the insurance will be included. If taking your own car, you’ll need to be covered for driving in Europe.


Whether hiring or driving your own car, you’ll also need:


  • Your full UK driving licence
  • Your passport


If you’ll be driving your own car in Spain, you’ll need:


  • Your insurance documents
  • Your car’s V5C certificate (vehicle log book)
  • GB stickers on your car (unless it’s equipped with EU number plates)
  • Beam deflectors on your headlights


In the boot of your car, you’ll need to have:


  • Reflective safety jackets
  • Warning triangle
  • Breathalyser
  • Spare headlight bulbs
  • Snow chains if you’ll be driving through winter conditions[3]


You can buy these last items together online as a single kit. Try searching for ‘driving in Spain kit’ to find them.


Can I drive in Spain with a UK driving licence?


Yes you can. Spain recognises UK driving licences, so if you’re just visiting as a tourist a UK licence will be fine.

Does Spain Have Low Emissions Zones?


Spain introduced a number of low emission zones in 2023. Learn more about which cities have it and the rules and requirements.


Other Tips for Travelling to Spain


  • Currency: Spain, and all of its islands, use the Euro. It’s sensible to take Euros with you before you travel.


  • Bank cards: VISA and Mastercard credit and debit cards should work everywhere in Spain, but check with your bank or credit card provider before you leave to make sure. There may also be charges for using your card abroad.


  • Language: English is commonly spoken at Spanish tourist destinations, but learning a few simple words and phrases will be appreciated. Downloading a voice-enabled translation app to your phone can also be a great help.


  • Vaccines: it’s a good idea to make sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations before you travel.


  • Strong sun and high temperatures: glorious weather is one of Spain’s big selling points, but the summer sun can be intense, especially around midday. Temperatures can regularly exceed 35ºC even 40ºC[4]. Apply plenty of suncream, stay well hydrated and try to avoid being out in the sun when it’s at its strongest.


  • Tipping: Tipping isn’t an expected part of service work, but it is common and will be appreciated. Around to 5-10% is usually fine[5].


  • Pickpocketing: unfortunately, pickpocketing and bag-snatching is a risk in parts of Spain, most notably at popular tourist sites like Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Take extra care with your belongings in crowded places. Don’t put anything in your back pockets, don’t show off expensive items of jewellery or watches, and try not to leave bags unattended at beaches or by pools.



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Spain Travel Insurance FAQs

What insurance do I need when travelling to Spain?

You’ll need a travel insurance policy that covers Europe, either for a single trip or multiple trips. This means you’re covered for travelling anywhere in the EU, including Spain.

Is it worth getting travel insurance for Spain?

Travel insurance for Spain can a sensible option to protect against the cost of holiday mishaps like cancellations, lost or stolen items, and medical emergencies.

Is the EHIC card still valid in Spain?

If you have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) that is still in date, it’s valid in Spain, as is the more recent GHIC card. It’s recommended to have both an EHIC/GHIC card and travel insurance for trips to Spain to make sure a range of medical eventualities are covered.

Can I go to Spain without travel insurance?

Yes, you can visit Spain from the UK without travel insurance. Travel insurance is worth considering to you’re covered for unexpected problems like the loss of valuables, cancellations, and medical costs.

Is healthcare free in Spain for UK citizens?

As a British tourist visiting Spain, you’ll generally have to pay for any healthcare services you use. You will be entitled to some healthcare for free, or at a discount, with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), whilst travel insurance could cover you for more major medical costs.

Can I take paracetamol to Spain?

Yes, you can take paracetamol with you to Spain. You can also buy paracetamol in Spanish pharmacies.

Can I bring prescription medication to Spain?

In most cases, you can. But to make sure airport security goes smoothly, keep all your prescription medicines in their original packaging, bring your prescriptions with you, and ideally a note from your doctor that explains why you’re taking them.

Do I need special insurance to drive in Spain?

Spain recognises UK car insurance, but you may only be valid for third party cover. Speak to your car insurance provider if you’d like to extend your car insurance to fully comprehensive while you’re visiting Spain.

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