Travel insurance for the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands offer everything from sandy beaches to lush volcanic landscapes, but you’ll need travel insurance to make sure you’re protected.

What are the Canary Islands?

Spain’s picturesque Canary Islands are found in the Atlantic Ocean and are popular destinations for visitors and tourists.

Found close to Morocco’s coastline, the eight main islands each have their own character, charm, and appeal. The most well-known include Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.

Offering pleasant temperatures all year round, along with wide sandy beaches, lush forests, scenic mountains and striking volcanic landscapes - there’s an island to suit everyone.

Person with backpack waiting at an airport

Key points

  • Travel insurance will make sure you and your family are protected when you’re on holiday
  • A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) provides access to free or reduced emergency healthcare in the EU, but it won’t cover everything
  • You may need extra cover or a policy add-on for more adventurous activities like water-skiing or surfing

Do I need travel insurance for the Canary Islands?

Travel insurance isn’t compulsory to visit the Canary Islands but taking out cover means you’ll be protected in case things don’t go to plan.

If your trip’s cancelled or something unexpected happens while you’re away, having protection in place can help you to cover the costs.

And having cover is particularly important if you’re travelling alone and won’t have anyone to help if you become unwell or stranded while you’re away.

What should my travel insurance policy for the Canary Islands include?

Standard European travel insurance can protect you against a number of situations that might affect your travel plans.

A good policy should include cover for:

  • Medical expenses, up to £5 million
  • Repatriation - emergency medical transport back to the UK
  • Flight cancellations
  • Emergency cancellation or cutting the trip short
  • Lost or stolen baggage
  • Lost or stolen passport and money
  • Personal liability cover - in case you injure a third party or damage someone else’s possessions

Canary Islands travel insurance: exclusions and things to watch out for

While taking out cover will help to make sure you’re protected, there are a number of circumstances where you won’t be able to make a claim.

Typical policy exclusions include:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions - not declaring these may invalidate your policy and you won’t be covered if you need to make a claim relating to your health condition
  • Leaving your belongings unattended
  • Accidents or injuries while you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Taking part in high-risk activities and sports
  • Travelling against government advice
  • Natural disasters that began before you took out insurance
  • Changing your mind about your trip before you go or while you’re away

Will travel insurance cover activities?

With such a varied landscape, the Canary Islands offer a wide range of activities. You can enjoy anything from surfing and whale watching, to hiking, water parks and playing golf.

But not all activities will be covered by standard travel insurance.

You’ll need to check your policy to see what’s included. And you’ll need to let your insurer know if you’re planning to do anything risky - for example, rock climbing or scuba diving.

Depending on what activity you choose, you may need to get a policy add-on or take out a specialist policy to get the extra cover you need.

Am I covered by a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

This has now been replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Both cards allow you to get free or reduced-cost emergency healthcare in European Union countries.

It’s free to apply for a card and you can do this through the NHS website.

But while the GHIC can help you to access emergency treatment in the Canary Islands, it covers a lot less than a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

For example, it won’t cover you if you’re taken to a private hospital or if you need to be repatriated back to the UK. And it won’t cover things like cancellations or stolen belongings.

So it’s important to make sure you have the right travel cover in place.

Is it safe to travel to the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are generally a safe destination to visit. The crime rate is relatively low, but as with anywhere, you should be aware of your surroundings.

Keep your valuables and cash safe on your person - not in your back pocket or where pickpockets might be able to access them - and avoid walking alone after dark.

Check advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) before you book your trip and before you set off.

You should also check Spain’s Covid-19 entry restrictions before you travel as these may change at short notice.

Top travel tips for the Canary Islands

With more than 500 beaches and a variety of landscapes and natural beauty to enjoy, the Canary Islands are a top destination to visit.

Read our tips on how to make the most of your trip:

  1. Try island hopping

    With eight islands to choose from, you don’t need to stick to just one. There are plenty of boat trips available, so you can discover your favourite

  2. Buy bottled water

    The tap water is safe to drink but the taste isn’t for everyone, so the locals often prefer to drink bottled water

  3. Check out the views

    Once you’ve lounged by the pool, get the best views by heading inland. Take a cable car up to Spain’s highest peak, the volcanic Mount Teide on Tenerife

  4. Catch a wave

    The Canary Islands are great for wind sports and surfing. Make sure you’re covered by your travel insurance if you’re going to take part in adventurous activities

  5. Sample the wine

    Six of the islands produce wine. In Lanzarote, Malvasia wine grapes are grown in volcanic craters, so you’ll have plenty of exciting and exotic varieties to try

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