Medical Insurance Spain – For Resident Visa Application

This has been a hot topic for us lately and keeping our email inbox buzzing away.  Many North Americans (US Citizens or Canadians) who are thinking of applying for the Spanish non-lucrative visa, have been asking about the medical insurance Spain coverage requirements.

We’ve also received a few questions from expats actually living in Spain as well.  After responding to several of the emails, I thought it would just be easier to write up a quick post and let you know all that we know about Spanish Medical Insurance for an American  Citizen.  This may apply to other countries as well, but you will need to check.

Updated: As of June 2016  with our new Medical Insurance in Spain

Medical Insurance in Spain is one of our most popular posts!  We have updated information below.

Explaining Medical Insurance in Spain or Health Insurance options to meet the resident visa requirements? Read more about Private medical insurance Spain on

I know it is a huge mental leap for an American to think of Medical Insurance or Health Insurance as something you can afford out-of-pocket.  Well, let me just tell you from personal experience, we found Medical Insurance Spain to be very”affordable”.  Of course affordable is a matter of opinion, so I will share with you the actual cost of our insurance as well as other quotes we have received.

Please do keep in mind this is just something for you to get a feel for the costs, as for each person/family it will vary due to your ages, location, duration of policy and coverage selected.


Medical Insurance Spain
For Non Lucrative Visa Application or other resident visa applications in Spain

(US Citizens or non EU Citizens)

Medical Insurance Spain and How to Apply for non lucrative visa in Spain US citizens

REQUIREMENT – Medical Insurance Coverage for non lucrative visa Spain

Let me start back when we were applying for our non-lucrative visa for Spain (late 2011/early 2012).

When we applied the visa requirement read:

Health Insurance. Proof of health insurance coverage while in Spain. We do not accept insurance cards. We need a letter from your insurance stating that you will be covered while travelling to Spain. Travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros or its equivalent in US dollars. This should include repatriation (returning a person back to the country of origin).

As of May 2014 it reads:

Proof of having international medical insurance while in Spain, with a certified translation into Spanish.

Do keep in mind the requirements often change and vary between the 12 Spanish Consulates within the United States.  Please do verify your exact requirements with the consulate aligned to your location and determine what is required for Spain Medical Insurance.


Let the research begin.  When still living in the US, we researched many options and found it to be overwhelming.  Many US insurance companies wouldn’t insure us outside of the United States for an extended period of time.  Others wanted a thorough head-to-toe examination and proof that we were over the top healthy.  We received many on-line quotes from your standard US Insurance companies (Cigna, Aetna, IMG, United, etc.) and many quoted $5000 – $12,000 per year for our family of 4.  What?!  I thought that was crazy and continued to do research.

Medical Insurance How to Apply for non lucrative visa in Spain US citizens or Canadians

What is the difference between Medical Insurance and Travel Insurance?

Depending on the company and policy selected, Travel Insurance typically covers emergency medical procedures.  In addition, they often cover the policyholder for insurable events that may occur before or during travel, such as trip cancellation/interruption, medical expenses for injury or illness, theft of valuables, baggage delay or damage and more.  Many of these companies do not cover you in your home country at all or within a certain radius from your home city.

Depending on the company and policy selected, Medical Insurance usually covers your medical needs preventative as well as injury or illness.  Of course there are wide ranges of coverage available within this area, with a variety of deductible amounts.  It was difficult to find coverage for Spain as well as the US.

At the time, we decided to opt for high-end Travel insurance from for our coverage.  We weren’t sure if it would be accepted for the application, but it did meet all of the coverage requirements and repatriation too.  In the end, our visa was approved with this coverage in Summer of 2012.

In hindsight, which Medical Coverage would we have chosen?


Oh if only I knew then what I know now!  


How many times has that phrase come to haunt us?

After living in Spain for 1 year, it was time for us to apply for our Spanish resident card renewal.  As part of this process we needed to again show proof of finances as well as Medical Coverage.  We started to do more research on Medical Coverage here in Spain and found it to be much more affordable than the US options.  We decided not to renew our Travel Insurance and instead purchase Medical Insurance from one of the Spanish Insurance companies.

Again we reached out to several and received quotes for our family of 4.  To receive a quote for coverage, all they needed was our birth dates and passport numbers (or NIE number).  Of course you still have the varieties of coverage from your basic coverage to the mac daddy full hospitalization as well as various deductibles, in network, out of network etc.

We received price quotes for our family of 4 ranging from €45 – €220 per month ($62 – $300, depending on exchange rate).  If you opt for a quarterly, bi-annual or yearly contract, you may also receive discounts.  I think the Annual contract for full coverage with dental, travel and hospitalization was about €2200 per year (~$3025).  This is a far cry from the prices quoted to us by many of the US companies, and we didn’t need to go to the ends of the earth to prove we were in good health.

In the end we selected the basic preventative coverage with Mapfre, which includes travel and dental.  This also covers us for emergency medical around the world, including the US.  We have already used the dental and it is great. In hindsight, I think this was the right option for us at the time.  Our needs will change as we move on to Southeast Asia, so we will again go through an evaluation of our coverage needs for that time period.

When we return to Spain next year, I think I would prefer full coverage plan offered with Sanitas (including hospitalization).  I really liked the on-line service with Sanitas and they have all of their documents in English as well as Spanish.  They do cater more to the expats, but their prices shows that.  When they sent us a quote they offered on that was geared more towards expats and had regular coverage in the US as well.  They partner with United Health in the US, so that way we wouldn’t need to worry if we return to the US for a trip.

Updated: As of June 2016

Upon our return to Spain we again researched all of the options and selected DKV Seguros (this is great for the renewal, but not likely for initial visa application.  They do require Spanish bank account and address).  We have full medical, hospitalization, and dental coverage for our family of 4, including 90 days of travel insurance outside of Spain.  It is a network provider system, so as long as we are within the network we have a very low copay.  The price for our family of 4 is €347 a quarter. With the current exchange rate of $1.14 to €1 that comes out to $395 per quarter or about $1600 for the entire year.  We get all preventative medical and dental (cleaning etc) included once a year.  There is also a smart phone app for providers within the network and much more.  I think we will be very happy with this option and the price is better than our basic travel insurance.

The Spanish Insurance companies we have received quotes from are listed below.  They all have on-line tools available for you to receive a quote and explain their varieties of coverage.

 Live a Healthy Life!

Health or Medical Insurance How to Apply for non lucrative visa in Spain US citizens

Medical Insurance Companies in Spain for Expats

(US Citizens applying for non lucrative visa in Spain)

 Here are just a few of the companies that we researched and found to meet the non lucrative visa requirements needs as well as our own medical needs.  (We do not partner or receive any compensation for this listing.  This is only based on our research).
  1. Sanitas for Expats (some very good friends have used Sanitas for 5 years, as well as some of our blog readers who have also moved to Spain).   This is specifically for expats and will certainly meet the visa requirement needs.  We have a comparison chart of their various plans on our AlmunecarInfo Site, but it is valid for all of Spain.By clicking on this link you will be able to make an inquiry and they will help you determine the best insurace package to meet your needs. Updated: As of February 2017- (If you decide to make a purchase trhough our link, we may receive a small commission)
  2. Mapfre 
  3. Catalana Occidente 
  4. DKV Seguros – Our plan is the DKV Integral Complet, through our local Zurich Agent in Almunecar. I am not sure if you need to reside in Spain to get this or if you can purchase in advance for the visa.  Locally for us, it seems to be the same network of doctors available in the Sanitas plans.  Do your homework. Updated: As of June 2105
  5. Agrupacio – some of our readers, now residing in Spain, recommend this company.  Updated: November 2105

Some American friends of ours, currently in Spain, were specifically seeking out Maternity coverage, and it appears that Sanitas offers good coverage as well. Some friends of ours (US Citizens) in town also use Sanitas.  Much of their site is in English and they offer a live chat, so it is great for asking all types of questions.  We received a “same day” quote for coverage , plus they sent us a detailed list of alternative options.  Great customer service.

A word of caution with any of the US based medical insurance companies; please read the fine print and be sure they have coverage in Spain.  Ask someone and then ask a second person, just to be sure it will be widely accepted in Spain.  We do know of a family that purchased the US coverage and then once over here realized no one knew what it was and they wasn’t a wide network that would accept it for coverage.  They ended up cancelling and switching to a Spanish company.

Please do your own research and let us know if you find any other companies you would recommend.  Just contact us, so we can add them to the list or just enter in the information in the comments below.  We want to be sure that you have enough information to make a decision based on your needs.

Other information we have provided regarding “How to Apply for Non Lucrative Visa for Spain as US Citizen or Canadian Citizen” are listed below.

Of course Alan has written a very thorough e-book, Live in Spain, which walks you, step by step, through the entire process.

*********Our First eBook Launch! – Live In Spain*********

If you decide Travel Insurance works best for you, we recommend Travel insurance from otherwise do your research for your choice of medical insurance Spain.

Updated: As of June 2105

We have collected most of the info we have, all in one spot.  Our 10 tips for resident visa application, cost of living, getting ready to move, arriving, are documented for you.  We will help you plan and execute your Move to Spain, feel free to check out our consulting services.

I would advise you have a read through our documents first, as many of the frequently asked questions have already been answered.  Just click on the image below.

We help you plan and adjust for your move to Spain. Read more on

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42 thoughts on “Medical Insurance Spain – For Resident Visa Application

  1. Heidi & Alan, you guys are awesome sauce!!!! Thank you SO much for all the clarification you put into this post (and for the shout-out!). We are learning more and more each day about the ins and outs of the private insurance companies, and your advice has been BEYOND helpful. MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS!!!!!

    • De Nada our dear traveling friends Emily and Ryan! It is difficult to navigate the path of Spain (paperwork and fine pring) sometimes, but it is well worth it in the end. When you were asking about it, so were a few other families. So why not write up all that we can? 🙂 I am glad it has helped you and please let us know if you have any other questions. You know we would do anything for you guys.

  2. Hello Heidi! Great info! I am applying for a visa for 14 months for a masters program and it’s been a headache trying to find travel insurance to cover that length since they all go up to 12 months. I want to go with World Nomad since it seems to be accepted by the Spanish consulate but do you have any tips on what I could do? I would appreciate any help! Thank you in advance!

    • Hey Janice. We went the World Nomads route as well. We initially only purchased a 6 month plan to have our visa approved and then you can purchase something local when you are in Spain. That said, each consulate in the USA is a little different on what they accept and what they don’t. Some are more strict on that policy, like San Francisco office, and will require full insurance for the application. It really comes down to your risk of getting approved and getting sick or hurt. The insurance in Spain usually goes by calendar year too. So even though we are currently in Thailand, we can’t cancel until the end of the calendar year, so factor that in based on your arrival as well. Since you are going for education. you may want to look into anything available via your university as well. I hope that helps a little. Feel free to email if you have more questions.

      • Thank you for your reply! I’m going to the Los Angeles consulate and they require travel insurance for my entire stay which will be 14 months. I wish I could just pinky promise them that I will extend the coverage to 14 months before it ends. Ahh!

        • You can buy the local insurance on line and have proof right away. The LA office is a bit better than SF. The travel insurance includes the repatriation and that is what they are really looking for. Check the Sanitas website. They also include that and you can chat live with their consultants to see what coverage you can have. It may be cheaper than World Nomad and better coverage. The do offer special packages that cater to expats too.
          Heidi recently posted…Adventures With Anya – A Walk and a Tuk Tuk Chiang MaiMy Profile

  3. Hi Heidi, thanks for all the useful tips and information, it is very helpful. I am currently exploring obtaining the non lucrative visa as well but I have a daughter in 9th grade and wondering what you did for school for your kids. I am trying not to go the private school route because I want her to soak up the culture. Any advice you have regarding school will be highly appreciated.

    • Hi Anne, we have loads of info on the blog. Over on the right of the home page you can select the category of “education”. I am going to call out a few specific things here for you too. The kids attended Spanish public school, the best way to learn quickly and well.

      1 Year Attending School In Spain – What We Didn’t Tell You

      Learning Spanish – The Tools We Use

      Their Spanish progression is documented as well. I would say they could understand things better after about 6 weeks and were pretty good with Spanish by Christmas… then it improved really rapidly each month. They were confident and fluent by Feb/March. We video interviewed them every few months and kept a journal so they could see their progress. I highly recommend that. You know it doesn’t feel like you are making progress until you look back and see how far you came. After living in Spain for a month, we showed them their interview before leaving NC. They were embarrassed by the couple of Spanish words they knew.

      Here is their interview playlist on Youtube.

      • Dear Heidi,

        Thank you so much for the information, it is very very useful. My daughter is in the 9th grade and currently taking Spanish and she is enjoying it very much. I am looking to buy rosseta stone and hope to learn using it. We are planning to be in Spain August of next year before school starts, so we are trying to get all the information that will help us with the transition.
        Thank so much for what you are doing, it is really awesome. I am sure I will be taking to you soon.

  4. This is a great post! My family is moving to Spain in August 2015. We need to buy traveler’s insurance with repatriation coverage before our meeting at the Chicago Spanish consulate in May. We currently have a Blue Cross Blue Shield International plan and we’re paying $584/month. So with that coverage we don’t need anything but the Repatriation coverage, however it seems like so many traveler’s insurance plans (even the basic) have more coverage than we need.

    Heidi, would you recommend that we purchase the World Nomad Explorer plan (has the most coverage) for $3,332.50 and then just drop our BCBS insurance once we get to Spain? Is this Explorer plan enough coverage? We are healthy and young so I we shouldn’t have much need to go to the doctor except for regular checkups/illness.
    This would save us thousands of dollars if you think it is good enough!

    Thanks so much for your thoughts! Jenny

    • Hi Jenny,

      Oh you do have options and decisions, just look through everything carefully. We applied for our visa with the World Nomads Explorer plan and all went well. I would recommend you check out the Sanitas link in the blog post, as they have and expat plan too. They have someone you can chat with live to help pick the best plan for you. Perhaps you can just use this without the expense of the travel insurance? I would suggest you go through the “get a quote” process and tell them exactly what you need. Our friends used this coverage to apply for their visa and they still use it, after living in Spain a few yrs.

      • Also, the travelers insurance is a bit cheaper to buy 6 months at a time. That said they may not approve the visa if you only have 6 months showing. Tricky. I think we just purchased 6 months, but it may have been a fluke they overlooked for our approval. Once you pay for the travel insurance you only have a limited time to cancel and get $ back, so once you pay for a year, it is yours to keep. I would say that BCBS wouldn’t be of much use in Spain. There are even more companies beyond what I have listed. It may be time to add to this post soon, with updated info. We will be returning to Spain in June and will be going through the insurance hunt process again. We are currently traveling around SEA and using World Nomads.

  5. Hi everybody ,
    First of all ,ı would like to thank you for all these informations you shared with people .
    ı have a sister who is american citizen living in usa and suffering from her breast cancer .She is folowing the treatment like 2 years but still not feeling well with chemiotherapia .she is getting help from an organization for her health care expenses .
    Actually ,she decided to move to her origin country Morocco wich is close to spain .so ,ı have some questions about wich health insurance she can get there and wich solution can be suitable for her .are there some organizations can offer services to expacts patients .
    She can apply for residency too in spain .
    Thanks in advance for your advices,

  6. Thanks for your informative info on getting a non-lucrative visa to live in Spain. I just finished my first renewal (second year here in Spain) and not surprisingly encountered difficulties with both. Relevant to your post on medical insurance, I was told by two workers at the Oficina de Extraneria and then in writing that the Insubuy policy that worked last year was considered travel insurance. Insubuy said their policy qualified, but no matter if govt doesn’t think so. I found a policy through a local “seguros” company with English speaking agent. I got Plus Ultra for about 80 Euros a month. I am 58. As for other visa requirements, especially the first, they vary depending on which consulate in the US you apply, even different in LA vs San Francisco. I will be blogging about this complicated issue soon.

    • Awesome Dawn, thanks for the additional info.

      Our first application for the visa was via the DC office and they approved us with only travel insurance. Upon our 1 yr renewal, they wouldn’t accept the travel insurance and that is when we chose Mapfre. Now we have a better plan with DKV and so far so good. We just turned in our papers for our second renewal for years 3-5. Fingers crossed it is all good. Yes each consulate varies and Alan has that detailed in his ebook Live in Spain as well.

      Where are you located in Spain?

  7. My husband and I live in Dubai (American citizens). Do we have to return to the US to apply for a long term visa – non lucrative or retirement?

    • You will need to apply in your country of legal residence. If you have legal residence in Dubai, then you should be able to apply from there. You may need an additional document which shows you’re legally residing in Dubai, but the application process should be the same. I would contact the local Consulate though for any special details.

      Also, you need a criminal background check in every country where you’ve established residence going back 5 years. I don’t know what organization does that in Dubai, but the Consulate or Google should be able to help you out.

      We can help you through the process via our consulting. If you check out the Live In Spain web page, there are details on purchasing the book and/or consulting time.

      Good luck!

  8. We are currently moving to Spain and just found your site while checking for health insurance. Like you, we settled on DKV. We will be relocating the first week in Sept to the Costa Blanca and will be happy to help if anyone has questions. We don’t have our Spanish visa yet but we know it’s been approved and are just waiting for notification that it is ready.

    • Oh congrats. Sorry I didn’t see this comment, as it went to the spam folder for some reason. We are very excited for you and Costa Blanca is a wonderful place to be. In fact we will be there in a few days, on our way back to Almunecar. We are just finishing up our 8 week road trip.

  9. I’ve just returned from the immigration office in Malaga, I am retired and 65 years old. I have received my residency card last year in August and since I’ve Medicare part A and B along with plan F supplement which to cover me outside of USA but still the immigration insists that I need to obtain an insurance in Spain. Do you have any solution to my case?

    • I would suggest you check with your local insurance agencies for minimal coverage, including repatriation. We use DKV and find it very affordable for a family of 4 it is just 350 euros a quarter, so for 1 person it should be much less. There are also several companies online as well. I think we listed a few in the post, so you can get instant quotes.

  10. Very informative! Since this is somewhat of a chicken-and-egg situation like with housing, but what do you recommend we do since we do not yet know our travel dates? Do we first purchase a health insurance plan for our VISA applications and later have it changed once our travel dates are known?

    • Yes it is. I will just tell you what we did and then you can decide what you would like to do. We started with travel insurance through World Nomads for our application and then once we moved here and had our resident card bought Spanish medical insurance. The travel insurance allowed us to be flexible with the dates. We just bought a policy with a random future departure date. It was flexible for us to change that date if we wanted (at least it used to be. check current rules)

      • Unfortunately for us, we’ll be visiting the San Francisco consulate, so I may have to play it safe and purchase a Spanish health plan first.

        • Nick, what did you end up doing? My husband and I also have to go through San Francisco. We were going to try Insubuy, as recommended by DawnStarr.

  11. Great info, Heidi, thanks for posting it. I am looking for insurance that offers worldwide coverage. We are nomads and don’t know how long we’ll be in Spain, so being able to carry our coverage somewhere else would be a great option. It looks like Sanitas Mundi has that? Do you know off-hand which of the main insurance companies you researched (Sanitas, DKV, Mapfre) have that type of coverage?

    • Hey Gonzalo, I don’t recall and really you need to read the fine print. Many of them include travel insurance worldwide, but there is a limit to the amount of time. I know the plan we have with DKV has 30 days travel insurance. So look into that. I would recommend chatting with each company and have them tell you. It will save loads of time that way.

      When we travel and when we spent a year being nomadic, we purchased World Nomads travel insurance. Have you checked out that option. I am not sure I would buy insurance in Spain unless you are going to be here long-term. Many of the policies run for a calendar year, so you can only cancel at the end of the year and usually with 2 months notice. They are tricky that way.

  12. Good morning, Heidi,

    Your web site is wonderfully helpful. Most informative and entertaining as well. Your hard work is much appreciated. Thank you for sharing so much.

    We have an interest in the Residence Visa for Non-Lucrative Purposes for Spain. We have lived in and visited many countries and Spain comes highly recommended.

    I have been finding a serious obstacle for many places in the world, however: Age. After a certain age (which varies), private medical insurance is more or less impossible to get. We are 69 and would not be going anywhere until after we are 70. This is a little strange since several countries are actively trying to recruit foreigners to move there to retire and bring their assets and retirement income with them.

    Obviously, your family does not have this problem. However, by chance do you know if there is at least one medical insurance company with coverage in Spain with no upper age limit? I suspect that this subject comes up from time to time. Naturally, I expect to pay more than all the young expats.



  13. Hi Heidi, I am 70 years old and in the process of getting a non-lucrative visa (for 1 yr) for Spain. I am going solo and am having a really difficult time getting health insurance plus repatriation (LA Spanish consulate requirement). I am turning to you for help! Here are the problems. The premiums are sky high (Cigna quoted 4,128 euros (annual) and Sanitas, 1704e). In addition, some companies do not ensure older people like me!
    Can you advise me what to do? Really appreciate it. Thank you. Norma

    • Hi Norma,

      Yes it is a requirement for sure, but I am not sure about limitations due to age. I do know that the US type companies tend to be much higher with their premiums, like Cigna. Many of the local Spanish insurace is available and inexpensive, but you need to NIE number (visa approved) to get it. I would suggest you continue to look around. We purchased travel insurance for our approval, but I am not certain they will still accept that.

      Are you planning a scoping trip to Spain? Do you already have a Spanish bank account? You can often get insurance through the Spanish banks too.

      I will send you an email address for our local insurance Agent with DKV, perhaps he can help you in some way?

      • Hi Heidi,
        Thank you so much for replying immediately.

        No, I am not going on a scoping trip bcz I have been to Spain several times in the past four years for a month or two at a time for Spanish immersion classes. This time though I’d like to stay for a year so I can speak Spanish better.

        No, I do not have a bank account yet. But I plan to open one when I get there.

        I would appreciate the email address of your agent. Am sure the agent will have other options.

        Thanks again, Heidi and thanks for your very informative blog!


  14. I looked at the websites for Mapfre, Catalana O, and Agrupacio. No English option. Do you know if they have English speaking reps, or must you be prepared to deal with them in Spanish.

    • Many you need to work with them in Spanish. You can use google translate or chrome to translate their web page, but it isn’t always an exat translation. For us, anything to do with insurance or finances, we prefer to have English Available. We do have DKV and our local agent speaks some English. The SanitasExpats option caters to expats, thus speaks perfect English. Sometimes their prices are a bit higher, but if it makes it easier in the long run it is worth it.

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