You're no stranger in Moscow with the right travel insurance
Compare travel insurance quotes for Russia, whether you're travelling for the World Cup or venturing further into the Motherland.
- Travel insurance is essential for Russia
- Is Russia in Europe for travel insurance? Moscow, St Petersburg and anywhere west of the Ural Mountains usually is
- You can't use the EHIC in Russia
Russia, said Winston Churchill, "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". But your travel insurance for Russia need not be.
Visiting Russia for the FIFA 2018 World Cup? Travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway? Come Comrade, let's see what the options are for travel insurance to Russia...
Travel insurance Russia
Russia is a vast country, filled with stunning landscapes, intriguing history, and vibrant culture.
In a typical year around 150,000 people from Britain visit Russia.
Most in the west of the country have a trouble-free stay. This is where St Petersburg and Moscow are located, and travel insurance is easy to get.
But you won't be able to get travel insurance for the North Caucasus. The Foreign Office advises against all travel there.†
So don't go near the border with Ukraine. Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan are also out of bounds. And the UK doesn't recognise Crimea as part of Russia.
Planning on a trip to St Petersburg, Moscow or Siberia? Then you're going to be hundreds, if not thousands of miles from these regions. Still, good travel insurance is essential for a visit to any part of Russia.
But before you get to passport control, you'll need to sort out your paperwork.
Getting a visa
You’ll need a visa before you travel to enter Russia. There are only two exceptions:
- If you have a ticket for a World Cup match and a FAN ID
- You're a cruise ship passenger and join an organised tour onshore
You'll need an invitation or visa support before applying. Don't worry - hotels and travel agencies will usually issue you one.
You'll also need to visit a Russia Visa Application Centre in person to complete your application.
These are in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Registering your stay
Once you're in Russia, and get given your Migration Card (keep it with your passport), your visa should be registered.
The hotel or place you're staying should do this for you. And you'll get given another slip of paper to keep with your passport.
Reasons to visit Russia in 2018
Russia is a great country to visit in any year. But in 2018, more visitors will be looking to come to Mother Russia. And that reason is football.
FIFA 2018 World Cup
Western Russia hosts the greatest sporting tournament in the world (sorry to The Olympics!) in the summer of 2018.
England are due to play in:
- Volgograd on 18 June vs Tunisia
- Nizhny Novgorod on 24 June vs Panama
- Kaliningrad on 28 June vs Belgium
If you have a ticket for a World Cup game then you need to get a FAN ID.† A FAN ID will:
- Get you into the stadium (with your match ticket obvs)
- Save you going through the palaver of getting a visa
- Allow you to apply for free trains between host cities
St Petersburg was Russia's imperial capital. Historic and beautiful, no visit to St Petersburg is complete without visiting the big three:
- The Peter and Paul Fortress
- The Hermitage Museum
- The Catherine Palace
Russia's second city oozes grandeur. St Petersburg is a four-hour flight from London and should be on every world traveller's itinerary.
One of the great cities of the world, Moscow has been at the centre of revolutions, political intrigue, commerce and culture for centuries.
If you had to take one photo to encapsulate the whole of Russia, it would have to be St Basil's Cathedral.
Its candy-coloured steeples and domes overlook the Red Square and the Kremlin. It is truly iconic.
History, creativity and hospitality combine to make Moscow a must-see city.
Is Russia in Europe for travel insurance purposes?
Every travel insurance policy is unique.
Yet most travel insurers will include western Russia in European travel insurance. Always ask before you buy.
European or worldwide travel insurance?
European travel insurance will cover city breaks to Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi and other World Cup hosts.
As a rule of thumb, if it's west of The Ural Mountains, it's western Russia.
Taking the Trans-Siberia Railway? Heading into the Arctic to catch the northern lights? How about the new mega-casinos of Vladivostok?
Then you're going to need worldwide travel insurance.
And you're extremely unlikely to get travel insurance for Russia if you're travelling to North Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan etc).
Get insurance that protects your trip to Russia
Good travel insurance for Russia is, quite frankly, essential.
Most visitors from the UK have a trouble-free trip. Yet petty crime can happen in the cities and road safety is poor in Russia.
Is the EHIC valid?
No. Russia is outside the EU and European Economic Area (EEA). So you cannot use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Russia.
On top of that, the healthcare agreement between the UK and Russia ended in 2016.
You should get comprehensive travel insurance with good healthcare cover.
Healthcare and repatriation
The standard of healthcare varies widely across Russia, and you'll have to pay for any medical treatment you need.
Travel insurance to Russia can help cover some, if not all, medical bills.
Moscow and St Petersburg have world-class hospitals, and the bills to go with them. Make sure you're covered before you travel.
If you fall seriously ill, you may need to be flown back to the UK for further treatment or recovery.
This is called repatriation and can be very expensive.
Check that your travel insurance for Russia covers you for repatriation. Most policies do, but it's always a good idea to look.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Russia. If you need the emergency services, ring 112.
Losing your luggage, or being the victim of theft
Pickpockets, scammers and muggers operate in the major cities.
Saying that, most visits to Russia are safe and problem-free.
Still, it's a good idea to make sure your cover for theft and lost luggage is adequate for your needs.
And that's before you get onto the bureaucratic nightmare that a lost passport or travel documents can unleash.
Local customs and legal protection
Russians can be incredibly hospitable. Toasts of vodka are common at shared meals and it's rude to refuse. Thankfully it's also traditional to have a nibble in-between shots.
That hospitality doesn't often extend to their police, traffic cops and officials.
Some may target tourists looking for minor indiscretions in their paperwork. Their aim is to impose fines.
The best course of action is to remain polite and calm but firm. The legal way to pay fines is through Sberbank, not by handing money over.
Wherever you go in Russia, always carry your:
- Travel documents (Migration Card, registration etc)
- Your return ticket
Make sure your travel insurance is up to scratch in case you need it for any run-ins with the Russian police.
But don't let them put you off visiting this wonderful country.
Compare to find cheap travel insurance to Russia
Travel insurance to Russia is essential.
Make sure you shop around and compare prices to get the best deal for you.
Sort your travel insurance for Russia as soon as you book your travel to take advantage of the cancellation cover.
Study the small print and make sure the limits and excess are sensible and suitable for:
- Healthcare and medical cover
- Emergency medical repatriation
- Lost, stolen or damaged possessions
- Curtailed, cancelled or delayed flights, hotels or excursions
- Personal liability protection
Don't always go for the cheapest offer. And double-check that it covers you for all the things you want to do and places you want to go to in Russia, especially if you're travelling to eastern Russia.
Finally, have a wonderful time in the Motherland!