Travel insurance for Cuba
Many people, when travelling, first look for information about the country they want to visit, including curious destinations and exciting things to do. However, one thing many people overlook is travel insurance. Depending on the cover, travel insurance can reimburse the full price of your trip if it’s cancelled or there's another mishap. Other travel insurance plans take care of medical expenses and the fees associated with getting ill while abroad.
Is medical insurance mandatory to travel to Cuba?
In many countries, medical travel insurance is merely a recommendation. However, in Cuba, medical insurance is a mandatory requirement to travel. This is because of the propensity of foreigners in Cuba necessitating medical assistance, either for emergency consultations for infections or hospitalizations. Keep in mind that in Cuba, medical consultations are free for citizens. However, this scheme does not apply to foreigners, since they have not paid any medical tax in the country. Foreign documents such as the European Health Card or the Social Security Card will not be useful for Cuba.
What is advisable is not to skimp with your choice of medical insurance and ensure that it does not have a limit against expenses, since medical consultations in Cuba are pricy, even for a simple visit. Bear in mind that if you arrive on the island without travel insurance, then you will be obliged to purchase a policy with the state company called ASISTUR, which is the minimum recommended coverage for Cuban insurance.
What happens if you suffer a mishap on the island?
Travel insurance is essential when travelling to Cuba because it not only covers medical expenses, but it can also protect against various types of theft, even if it is not very common. Cuban authorities, or your country's embassy in Cuba, provide excellent service since the safety of tourists is one of their paramount concerns.
What happens if you need medical attention on the island?
In case you need medical assistance in Cuba, note that foreigners receive different health care than Cuban residents. Foreigners will have to visit the Servimed system centres, of which there are more than 40 centres conveniently located all over the island. These centres offer all kinds of medical assistance, from emergency treatment to psychological consultations that will be available and treat your case with the utmost professionalism. For occasions like this, medical insurance will be incredibly useful, since these services are particularly expensive. If you have insurance, you will avoid having any additional medical expenses on your trip and can continue to enjoy the island without worry.
If you need medical assistance while in a hotel, then simply ask the receptionist or the hotel manager, as you don't need a prior appointment. Cuban hospitals offer free emergency treatment to foreigners, but it can only be used as a last resort. In Cuba, there are select pharmacies for foreigners that are managed by Servimed. It is crucial to mention that Cuban pharmacies are not well stocked, so if you need to take any regular medication, then it is advisable to carry the amount of medicine you may need during your trip.
Is it safe to travel to Cuba?
Cuba enjoys a high level of security compared to most countries in the region, bolstered by a strong police presence. However, there has been an increase recently in the number of reports of non-violent theft from tourists, especially in the area of Old Havana. It is always advisable to be careful in the more touristy areas, so keep your wallet within reach as well as other valuable objects. It is strongly recommended that you avoid or take extreme care when driving at night, as there are many stretches with little or no lighting. The services of a Cuban driver can be beneficial when travelling in the interior of the country. In the case of an accident, legal proceedings can be lengthily, and during this time, Cuban authorities will prevent those directly involved from leaving the country.
Update, November 18 2020: Corrections and optimization.
Juan José Herranz
Hello! I'm Juan Jose, a boy from Extremadura who loves to travel and share his experiences with readers. I write articles for Visagov.com and I also help users to process electronic visas for all countries in the world that require it. I'm more of the mountains than the beach, so the quiet destinations with green landscapes are my favorites.