Another important requirement for applying for a non lucrative visa in Spain is having proper health insurance coverage. Most visa applications will also require a valid insurance policy with specific requirements. This post is going to walk you through our experience with getting health insurance for our visa and what was required before a move abroad with family.

Full disclosure: This post will likely be boring, but probably save you time, frustration and $$$. Plus it comes with a valuable lesson learned about applying for the Spain non-lucrative visa. (With any luck, it will at least make your move abroad with family a little bit easier! 😉)

So sorry in advance for the mundane (but important) reading you are about to embark upon….

health insurance scrabble tiles on top of a calendar with medication shown in background |LathropsGoneAWOL visa application tips
Health Insurance is a crucial part of applying for a visa to live abroad.

There are specific requirements for ANY visa health insurance policy. You will want to check your consulate’s requirements that match your chosen visa application.

We had fairly specific requirements for our non-lucrative Spanish visa. (Keep in mind that this also applies to residency requirements for Spain. You will apply for Spanish residency as part of your visa application, so the two go together.)

I also want to mention that there is a health insurance policy listed as a non lucrative visa requirement. AND there is a completely separate medical health certificate needed from your current doctor. These are TWO different requirements, so don’t confuse the two. 😉

(You can see my post about the health certificate example here if you haven’t already checked that out.)

And not to confuse you even more, but this is a requirement for long-term visa travel insurance. If you’re looking for 90-day travel insurance for Schengen visa, this might not be very helpful.

One of the main requirements for a non lucrative Visa application for Spain (and most other visas/countries) is that each member of the family must be covered with health insurance valid in Spain (or your destination country) which has repatriation coverage.

Repatriation coverage means that the insurance company will pay to move you back to your origin country in case of emergency or death.

I had already done a bit of research about health insurance for expats. I’d also gotten recommendations from a variety of other bloggers experienced with family world travel and expats living abroad. So at first, this process seemed fairly straightforward.

It most definitely WAS NOT as easy as I had anticipated.

woman looking at laptop and deciding which health insurance for visa application to choose

There are a LOT of insurance companies that seem to have a policy geared towards travelers or expats. (Expats stands for ex-patriot, and is a common term for people living abroad in a different country.)

The company you currently use for health insurance might have their own policy. I would definitely suggest checking with them first for simplicity sake.

I personally discovered that most of the U.S. based companies (like Blue Cross and Aetna) cost quite a bit more money per month.

If you’re like us, and trying to do your family travel on a budget, every little bit of savings helps. So a cheaper policy might be worth the extra effort. 😅

On the plus side, however, the US companies were excellent choices for someone who needs a monthly payment, as opposed to paying for the policy upfront. The application process was readily available online and in English as well.

We received several recommendations for World Travel Protection. We found World Travel Protection to be even more expensive. It did, however, come with the perks of travel insurance in case of lost luggage or cancelled plans, etc.

If you planned on taking various trips to many different countries or embarking on a LOT of family world travel, this would be a great option!

Sanitas had a policy that the closest to what we have had in the United Stats in regards to including dental, vision, etc. The monthly price was cheaper than most of the other policies we looked at as well.

There was no copay for doctors or hospital visits. Sanitas also covered us on vacation in case we have an emergency away from home.

Since we were moving abroad with kids (read our move abroad backstory here), we wanted to make sure we had full healthcare coverage for them.

We were planning to live primarily in Spain and start traveling Europe with our kids every few months. So Sanitas was a GREAT fit for our family and met ALL requirements for the non lucrative Spanish visa application.

It seemed like an easy decision making process. Once we chose a company and went to actually APPLY for coverage, however, things got interesting.

And by interesting I mean a hair-pulling, PMS inducing, sh*tshow of confusion.

woman looking frustrated during the search for visa health insurance

The first step to actually getting a health insurance policy is applying for it.

This is pretty standard and similar to most other health insurances. They need information about your family, birth dates, IDs, information on any major health issues, etc.

Getting in touch with an insurance agent or representative is often helpful, as they can walk you through the process and answer any questions.

This is SUPER important when making sure that the health insurance policy you choose is actually going to MEET the requirements for a Spanish visa (or the visa for your destination country).

A company representative can easily double check that you are getting the correct policy that meets all your visa application requirements.

So here’s where the health insurance application process got a bit difficult… ðŸĪŠ

After filling out all of the information online and getting our initial quote, I started dealing with a representative from Sanitas to finish our final enrollment.

While it was fast and easy to get the online quote, the representative was not very clear on things such as costs, payment process, etc.

I think part of the problem was the language difference. Knowing what I know now, I should have SPECIFICALLY ASKED to be connected to a representative who spoke English. (Hindsight, am I right?!)

Sanitas is actually GREAT about having English speaking customer service reps available on their phone line. I didn’t know that at the time, however. I figured, hey- I’m moving to Spain, and Spanish is something I’m gonna have to learn to navigate! 😅

After asking for clarification at several points throughout our emailing back-and-forth, the representative finally explained the situation a bit more clearly.

(1) Set up for monthly payments using a SPANISH bank account -OR-

(2) Paid for 12 months IN FULL using a credit card.

The problem is that a 12 month policy paid IN FULL is a crap ton of money. Especially when you’re budgeting for moving abroad as a family of 7!!

(For our family, for example, the monthly cost of insurance was quoted at around 465 euros. This meant a 12 month premium was almost $6,000 USD to pay upfront!!)

So…. route no. 1 required adding a HUGE 12-month health insurance premium into the budget for our non lucrative visa application. (Yikes!)

But there was also a huge roadblock with route no. 2.

I could not legally open a SPANISH bank account without being physically in Spain with a valid NIE number.

I could not GET a valid NIE number until AFTER our visa is approved. But I cannot apply for the visa without this insurance…

See the bizarre circle I got stuck in?! ðŸĪŠ

FREE Visa Preparation Checklist Download by LathropsGoneAWOL Family Travel Tips Blog

I ended up shedding some tears, punching some pillows, and wondering if our non lucrative visa for Spain would be forever lost into the unfulfilled dreams category.

Then I pulled my feelings together, poured another cup of coffee, and carried on.

(With any luck, the ability to open a Spanish bank account post-covid is now a bit easier to do online?)

I ended up logging into my local expats Facebook group to give a heads up to another family we had befriended. They were at about the same stage as us in their own non-lucrative Spanish visa preparations.

I let them know about this complication in hopes that they would be able to better prepare and not be caught off guard like I was.

And, who knows? Maybe they could see a better option I had not considered. ðŸĪž

By sheer luck and amazing fate- an AWESOME representative from Sanitas happened to see my post!

She offered to help me set up our health insurance plan with a SIX MONTH premium instead of 12! (Hallelujah!ðŸŽĩ Hallelujah!ðŸŽĩ)

Although this was still a large, unexpected chunk of change out of our budget, it was half as much and WAY more doable…

(PS- you can see our full list of non lucrative visa requirements here. Snag our FREE visa application checklist to stay organized, too!)

As a bonus, it would relieve some of our monthly expenses once we get there since we would have already paid for healthcare for the first six months.

This woman ended up being a real LIFESAVER…. She helped with paperwork, getting things done super fast in time for our rapidly approaching Non Lucrative Visa appointment at the Spanish consulate.

She even calmed me down along the way (because at this point, my stress level was on overload and there was not enough wine in the world to fix this level of madness…lol).

frustrated woman searching for visa health insurance with head down on computer (non lucrative visa spain requirement)

So, in the end, we DID end up getting fantastic health insurance coverage that met ALL of the requirements for our non lucrative visa for Spain.

Lastly, I want to be sure to mention that once you get your health insurance coverage, you are going to need to mention your policy’s coverage specifically in your visa application Letter of Intent. (You can see what we wrote in OUR letter of intent to use as an example.)

Networking skills really CAN be a lifesaver!! This is a HUGE process, don’t go it alone!

Start joining groups, asking questions, and making friends as soon as you figure out what you’re plans are!

People are seriously just amazing and helpful, and will undoubtedly save you lots of wondering and freaking out down the road.

Hopefully this post helps you save some stress- or at least prepare you to fork over a bit of cash for a bigger premium (and not get caught off guard like we were). 😊

If you have any questions about the insurance process that I didn’t cover in this post, PLEASE ask it in a comment below! I’m here to help!

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We’re a family of 7, and we decided to move abroad with family & start traveling the world when our youngest was just a little over a year old. We’ve learned so much about family travel! Now, we’re on a mission to make moving abroad with kids (and traveling with kids) easier for YOU with our family travel tips & great resources!

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4 Comments

    1. Hi! You will want to check with the insurance company, but Sanitas allowed me to pay for the first 6 months upfront and then go into monthly payments. My policy was still considered to be valid for 1 year, but with six months paid in advance.

  1. I copied this from the Los Angeles Consulate requirement for non-lucrative visa regarding health insurance “The insurance policy must be valid for 1 year and must cover all the beneficiaries of the visa for the risks insured by Spain’s public health system.” Question, paying 6 months in full will satisfy the one year requirement for me?

    1. Thanks for reading! You will want to check with the insurance company, but my policy with Sanitas was considered to be valid for 1 year, but with six months paid in advance and then monthly payments after that. It was Sanitas that wanted the upfront payment to establish the policy. Every company will probably have their own requirements to establish a policy with them. Hope this is helpful!

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