Private insurance coverage at home and abroad
Insurance for the duration of a vacation is advisable. Moreover, a long-term coverage of rescue and transportation costs is worth considering. The possibilities of concluding a private travel health insurance that covers possible additional or differential costs are manifold and are not only offered by insurance companies.
There also is a huge variety in terms of extent, scope, duration, coverage and costs of the different insurances. It is therefore recommended to get information and compare offers in good time before your departure. Read the insurance clauses carefully! Chronic diseases that already existed before the journey or high-risk sports like hang-gliding are often decidedly excluded or not fully covered by the insurance. Furthermore, it is advisable to clarify in advance which areas are already covered by an existing insurance (e.g. with a club membership).
Consider individual needs like the coverage of accommodation expenses of a parent if a child has to stay at a hospital abroad or, very important: personal liability insurance with worldwide validity. Regarding the common problem of costs for air rescue (especially with regards to sports and leisure accidents), you should probably consider a year-round coverage of such unexpected expenses.
Most insurance companies offer diverse travel (health) insurance packages. Most of these packages just cover performances during a stay abroad, not within Austria (general information at the Versicherungsverband Österreich, details at the specific insurance company).
The Europäische Reiseversicherung as well as Allianz Global Assistance (former Mondial Assistance) are specialised in travel insurances. Besides the classic foreign travel insurance, they also offer a special Austria package for those who spend their holidays in their home country. Both companies often cooperate with tour operators and offer insurances for package travellers in their catalogues.
ARBÖ and ÖAMTC
The ARBÖ and the ÖAMTC provide year-round specials for their members and their families, even when they are not travelling by car and regardless of whether they are travelling together or separately.
Air ambulance and return transport in case of disease are covered. Many of these services can also be used during a stay in Austria. Additional protection - e.g. for long distance travel - can be obtained at the travel services of ARBÖ or ÖAMTC.
Visa and MasterCard, which are the most common credit cards in Austria, are available with or without travel (health) insurance. Cheap credit cards that are often part of a giro account package usually don't have insurance. Even if you have a card with insurance, you should be careful as there are many exceptions! For example, some services are only granted if the card was used two or three months before the event for purchase purposes.
The best possible protection is given when you pay the trip itself with credit card. Some insurance benefits only apply to trips abroad, others also in your home country or if you leave your main or secondary residence. It is important to know whether the partner or children are included in the insurance of the card holder. This differs according to the card and the insurance package. Furthermore, you need to find out how long your trip can last before the insurance coverage expires. Examine closely what kind of protection your credit card offers and read all documents carefully.
Insurances that just cover costs for rescue or sport accidents are offered by several associations, like Österreichischer Bergrettungsdienst (Austrian Mountain Rescue), Österreichischer Skiverband (Austrian Ski Federation), Österreichischer Alpenverein (Austrian Alpine Club) or Naturfreunde Österreich (Austrian Friends of Nature).
It is recommended to get information in advance about what kind of accidents or diseases are covered by the insurance and how high the insured sum is. Some of these insurances only apply to Austria, others also abroad.
First version: 09.06.2009, last update: 29.01.2015