Countries that require travel insurance for entry

There are several reasons why purchasing travel insurance before you travel abroad is a good idea. From the medical coverage and trip cancellation protection to safeguards for unexpected delays and the general peace-of-mind you get with a customized travel insurance policy from Allianz Global Assistance.

But did you know that having a travel insurance plan could mean the difference between experiencing the joys of a foreign land and never getting past customs? That’s because there are several countries that require proof of travel insurance before you even set foot on their soil.

It’s not only government requirements to purchase travel insurance you should be aware of; a majority of touring companies in many nations require travel insurance even if their nation does not. The Government of Canada also recommends travel insurance for many remote or developing nations. 

Here are some of the more notable destinations that require travel insurance for entry.

Europe has everything to offer travellers from the open air markets and world class restaurants of Paris’ Arrondissements, to the sunny beaches of the Ibiza Island of Spain. Travellers can count on relative safety and access to world class medical facilities in Schengen Zone countries.

Canadians are not required to purchase travel insurance to enter Schengen countries for stays of no more than 90 days, every 180-day period. If you are planning a longer tour within the Schengen Zone, you will have to purchase a visa, which requires travel insurance 

Renowned for its cultural vibrancy, bustling beaches, and exceptionally savory cuisines, Cuba is a time-capsule country that is a top attraction for tourists. In fact, since the early 1990s, tourism in Cuba has grown exponentially in just a couple of decades.

So, if this country is next on your bucket list, it’s important to note that the federal government mandated back in 2010 that all visitors to the country, foreign and domestic, must maintain travel insurance with medical coverage before entering the country. It’s always wise to purchase travel insurance anyway, but in Cuba it is a necessity, particularly the medical coverage aspect.

For one, safe drinking water isn’t always available in Cuba, and if you were to get sick, Cuban authorities can delay your return home if you have outstanding medical bills. Not only that, due to the country’s warm and humid climate, the risk of mosquito-borne illness is higher, and a hospital stay in the country’s capital, Havana, may cost you hundreds of dollars a day out of pocket without health insurance.

Do you crave adventure? Is hiking to the top of Mount Everest on your bucket list? The natural diversity of Nepal is impressive “from steamy jungle and Terai to the icy peaks of the world’s highest mountains,” writes the Nepal Tourism Board. “With 15 National & Wildlife Parks (two are UNESCO Heritage sites) Nepal is one of the last places on earth you can spot the Asiatic rhinoceros and the Royal Bengal Tiger.”

The Nepalese Government requires visitors to purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and medical repatriation, a service that returns travellers home for medical reasons. 

Known as the land that was the muse for Darwin’s theories on evolution, the Galapagos Islands are one of the top dream destinations for wildlife enthusiasts. Visit the mostly uninhabited chain of 16 islands to see giant, ancient tortoises, towering volcanoes and sharks gliding through their native waters.

A visit to the Galapagos requires travel insurance, though entering mainland Ecuador does not. Considering the area’s remoteness, insurance with emergency medical and evacuation coverage is essential. 

Known as Druk Yul, or “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” the Kingdom of Bhutan is a mountainous, secluded paradise. Long and winding paths that lead to astounding views and ancient Buddhist temples are what attract hikers and other adventure seekers to Bhutan.

Though travel insurance is no longer required to visit Bhutan, it’s highly recommended. If you’re planning on remote, mountain trekking while in Bhutan, purchasing travel insurance with emergency medical and evacuation coverage is essential. 

Quickly becoming one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the Middle East, This country along the Arabian Peninsula received nearly three million tourists in 2015. 

Visitors to the historic capital city, Doha, have lots to see and do. From the Al Reem Biosphere Reserve and the ancient Barzan Towers to the Museum of Islamic Art and the Souq Waqif Marketplace.

However, unexpected mishaps may happen anywhere you travel. This is why the Qatari government mandates that all foreign visitors maintain travel insurance with medical coverage.

Generally, if a country requires a visa for visiting, they likely require proof of travel insurance as well. But it’s best to always practice precaution and purchase a travel insurance plan from Allianz Global Assistance. Check the tourism board or ministry page of your destination country for travel insurance requirements. And remember, when planning your next excusion, be sure to check with Canada's travel advisory and advice portal making any final decisions.

Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

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