With the onset of spring and milder weather, many countries in the European Union are once again preparing for visitors testing border security.
In response, the EU has adopted new rules to tighten checks on all persons entering its member countries.
According to a report from The Associated Press, the rules oblige EU countries to check everyone (including EU nationals) leaving or arriving in the 28 member-country bloc against customs, crime and visa databases.
Though the rules are intended to address potential risks posed by terrorism, they can’t help but further affect border crossing procedures and scrutiny of all travelers, including summer vacationers touring historic sights or visiting families and friends.
Consequently, it is essential that if Europe is in your plans this summer, you build in extra time to get from one location to another, you carry (or have access to) extra cash in case of travel interruption or delay, your passport and visas (depending on which countries you will be visiting) are in order and up to date, and you include trip cancellation/interruption provisions in your coverage at the time you make your travel insurance purchase.
Trip cancellation insurance, which is widely available often as part of your supplemental out-of-country medical emergency coverage, protects the cash investment you have already made in non-refundable reservations and prepayments. But trip cancellation coverage has limitations, caps on benefits, and exclusions you need to understand when making your purchase. Even plans that offer “cancel for any reason” benefits have limitations. Make sure you discuss these with your agent if you are prepaying for a significant portion of your trip.
Also be sure to check out the entry/exit requirements (including proof of supplemental health insurance which some countries require), not only when you confirm and purchase your travel package, but also just before you depart. Given the volatility of border issues in Europe, last minute changes in rules and requirements must be considered the new normal. You can easily check these requirements at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.
And particularly pay attention to any advisories about travel to all countries on your itinerary. If, for example, your government recommends against non essential travel to a particular country or a specific region in it, some of your travel insurance benefits may be invalidated during your stay in that area. Stay in touch, even while on your trip.
If it’s been five or six years since your last trip to Europe, when you could travel from country to country relatively free of border constraints, you may notice a difference and while you’re within the EU bloc you may still enjoy smooth transits across borders. But you must be prepared for the unexpected.
Vigilance has become part of our everyday lives. Embrace it.
Ready to take the European leap? Arm yourself with travel health coverage.