One of the requirements of the D7 visa – and most other residency visas – is that you purchase travel insurance. This is to cover you for the period between arriving in Portugal and attending your interview with AIMA (previously SEF) at which point you’ll be given your temporary residence permit and will become a resident.
After this interview, you’ll be a resident and can sign onto the public health service. Well, in theory. In practice, things don’t always go as smoothly. Firstly, AIMA is often backlogged and it can sometimes take more than 120 days for people to get their interview. Secondly, some people find it difficult to get registered at their local health centre (centro de saúde) and to obtain their número de utente.
Because of this, many people sign up for private health insurance once they get to Portugal. It’s typically a requirement for obtaining the D7 temporary residence permit following your interview with AIMA, but isn’t always asked for.
Regardless, signing up for private health insurance could make sense. The Portuguese national health service, Serviço Nacional de Saúde, is good but, like most European public health systems, is often backlogged and overburdened. Private health insurance isn’t expensive in Portugal and for the sake of around €50-100 per month could mean faster referrals, guaranteed English-speaking medical staff, and overall better peace of mind.
The travel insurance required is Schengen Area travel insurance (i.e. it covers the whole of the Schengen Area, including Portugal).
According to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“The insurance should be valid for the entire territory of Member-States and cover the entire duration of stay or transit of the visa applicant. The insurance should be valid only for the duration of the stay and not for the duration of the visa.
“The insurance should cover medical expenses including those of medical repatriation, medical emergency and/or hospital emergency, and the minimum required coverage is 30,000 Euros.”
The key points are:
- It covers your entire stay (i.e. 120 days)
- Covers repatriation
- Emergency medical cover of at least €30,000
- It’s a good idea to make sure the insurance covers Covid-19 treatment as well
AXA Schengen is probably the most popular option, but it’s not the only one. Other popular options include:
Using a comparison site like Squaremouth allows you to compare multiple options at once.
Health insurance is something you may need or just decide to get. Either way, private health insurance is very affordable in Portugal where it’s not unusual for someone to pay €50 per month compared to hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the US or other countries.
You don’t have to opt for a Portuguese health insurer. International expat-focused insurers like Cigna Global are accepted as long as the policy meets the requirements. Some expat health insurers may be better for those that move around a lot, but will probably be more expensive than a Portuguese health insurance provider.
The two main ways to purchase health insurance in Portugal are through your bank or through an insurance broker like Ged Insurance. Most banks in Portugal sell insurance of all sorts to their customers and it’s often very affordable. It’s not necessarily cheaper than what a broker can provide, however, so it’s a good idea to compare both. A broker will also be able (and willing) to compare the market whereas the bank will want to sell you their own products.
Popular names include:
The largest options are Multicare, Medis, AdvanceCare, and Allianz. If you’re over 70, you can probably go straight to MGEN, which is the only health insurance provider to cover this age group. MGEN is also one of the few providers that covers pre-existing conditions.