Getting the right health insurance for your time in Spain seems complicated at first but it doesn’t have to be. As an international student or expat moving to Spain, there are a lot of topics to think about before your move. From finding the perfect apartment to live in, opening a Spanish bank account to deciding what to pack for your trip to Spain.

Contracting the right health insurance in Spain that will cover you during your time abroad is probably the most important topic for your personal safety & health. This is especially true for those who will come from outside the European Union and who will require specific coverage in order to get their visa application approved. EU citizens do not necessarily need private health insurance in Spain however, it is highly recommended, especially nowadays. Health insurance is too important to be forgotten, so let’s sort it out together now.

Are you looking for great offers on student or expat health insurance in Spain? Then check out our top recommendations below to receive personalized, free private health insurance quotes by popular Spanish insurance companies!


In this guide to health insurance in Spain we will help you understand the different available options for student and expat health insurance. In addition, we will provide an overview of the most popular Spanish insurance companies that international students and expats often choose for their time in Spain.

We will also provide valuable hints and tips that shall guide you in selecting the health insurance that’s right for you. To learn everything about health insurance in Spain, simply keep reading or select the topic you are most interested in from the content overview.

Important: The Citylife team has collected & compiled the information on this page via intense research and investigation. It does not replace your own research!


1. Health Insurance in Spain – How Does it Work?

According to the World Health Organization Spain has one of the best public healthcare systems in the world. The Spanish social security payments fund the system, which means that most of Spain’s residents do not require private health insurance to access health services in Spain. That being said, it’s important to note that the public Spanish National Healthcare System (“Sistema Nacional de Salud“ or “SNS”), does not cover every health expense. For example, the costs for ambulances, dentists and pharmacy prescriptions are to a certain extent at your own expense.

In general, if your are moving to Spain to study or work, Spanish law requires you to have health coverage for the entire time of your stay in Spain. There are two options available, public and private health insurance which we will explain in detail in the subsequent chapters.

To read an in-depth breakdown of Healthcare in Spain, take a look at our guide about the Spanish Healthcare System.



2. Public vs Private Health Insurance in Spain

While the Spanish public healthcare system is, without a doubt, of great quality, many international students and expats choose to contract a private health insurance. On the one hand, non-EU citizens have no choice, they will have to contract a private health insurance plan that covers them throughout the entire time of their stay in Spain. We will cover the best options later on in this article. On the other hand, for EU citizens there are many benefits in getting an additional private health insurance. For example, private health insurance removes the concept of painful waiting times to see a specialist and makes it way easier to see an English speaking doctor in case you do not speak any Spanish yet.

One of the main benefits of having private health insurance is that it gives you access to popular private hospitals all over Spain, like HM Hospitales. This private hospital is one of the best in the city. They are centrally located and run a great international office. This office provides patients with a personal medical translator onsite at no extra cost and will take care of all payments and paperwork on your behalf so you can focus on getting well. So long as you have an international private insurance, you’ll have access to all their services.

Having private health insurance in Spain will also help cover extra costs like pharmacy prescriptions, dentist visits and more. As coverage depends on what you contract, you will always need to ensure you’re aware of everything that is covered by your private health insurance before signing the contract.

2.1 Non-EU Citizens – Private Health Insurance is a Visa Requirement

If you are moving to Spain for a period of more than 3 months and you are from any country outside the European Union (EU), you will need to purchase private health insurance that covers the duration of your stay in Spain. This is a mandatory requirement for any visa application as proof of sufficient coverage must be submitted with the application. An additional requirement is that the plan must offer a minimum coverage of €30,000 (including evacuation/repatriation service). The recommended Spanish insurance providers listed below are specialized providers which means that their private health insurance plans for Spain cover the visa requirements.

Please note that if you are visiting Spain as a tourist (visiting for less than 90 days), you should also contract a private health insurance plan, however in this case you can purchase a so called “travel insurance plan” for your vacation in Spain from your home country.

To read everything you need to comply with and how to get your visa to study in Spain, please check out our guide to applying for a Spanish student visa.


When searching for the best private health insurance in Spain for international students and expats, you will realize that there are many Spanish insurance companies. But which one should you choose and how can you really find the best private health insurance that exactly matches your needs and expectations at a fair price?

In our chapter about Best Private Health Insurance in Spain for International Student & Expats of this guide you will find a list of popular Spanish insurance companies specialized in offering private health insurance in Spain to expats and students. You will also be able to obtain non-binding quotes from them so you can select the one that is best for you.

We recommend to start the research for the ideal private health insurance plan as early as possible. There is nothing more important than being properly covered during your time in Spain!

2.2 EU Citizens – Free Access to Public Health Insurance in Spain with your EHIC Card

If you are a citizen of the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you should make sure to get your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on time which means prior to your departure for Spain! EHIC is a free card that gives you access to necessary, public healthcare during a temporary stay in Spain. You can obtain the EHIC card by contacting your national health insurance provider. It usually covers you on short trips abroad within the EU but may not cover you if you are in Spain for a longer period of time or need serious treatment.

Make sure to contact your current national health insurance provider to understand in detail what will be covered and for how long! The European Health Insurance Card is not a substitute to private health insurance in Spain and thus will not cover you for repatriation, ongoing medical treatment, treatments that are not urgent or private care. To read more about EHIC and how to apply for it, click here.

For many years, Sanitas & Adeslas have stood as two of the most popular international health insurance providers for international students and expats. They offer several different international health insurance plans that match specific needs like fulfilling all visa requirements. Skip ahead to fill out our form and get a FREE quote from them!


To sum up, whether it is mandatory or not for you to contract private health insurance for your time in Spain, having one is definitely a good idea. Especially for international students & expats moving to Spain for a certain amount of time. As we outlined earlier, having access to the private healthcare sector in Spain will provide you with many benefits that the public healthcare sector will not offer. It will allow you more freedom of choice when it comes to selecting private specialists and you won’t be restricted by long waiting times. Additionally, having the right private health insurance will give you an extra peace of mind as you know that regardless of what happens, you will be completely covered and well taken care of.

Sign up for the free Citylife Healthcare Hotline!

To help you feel even more secure during your time in Spain, we have established a Healthcare Advice Hotline via WhatsApp for you. The advice hotline will be managed by us in collaboration with HM Hospitales for all healthcare related questions as well as by Sinews Multilingual Therapy Institute for when it comes to psychological assistance.

Attention is given in English & Spanish. You can reach out to consult any doubts you might have to get indications & expert advice! Simply save this number on your phone: Citylife Healthcare Support I +34656190745.



3. Best Private Health Insurance in Spain for International Students & Expats in 2020

Spanish private health insurance companies usually offer different insurance plans to match your specific needs and expectations. You can choose national plans that cover only Spain, Europe-wide plans, or if you travel a lot worldwide you could even get full international health coverage. Continue reading for a breakdown of our top recommendations for health insurance in Spain for international students & expats.

3.1 Overview of Popular Spanish Insurance Companies

To eliminate the stress of finding the right private health insurance, we’ve compiled a list of popular Spanish health insurance companies who have specific medical insurance plans for students and expats moving to Spain. You can ask for a free, personalized quote from our two top recommended companies: Sanitas and Adeslas via our free Health Insurance Inquiry form below. Within 48hrs of submission you will be contacted by a representative of each company providing you with detailed information and available options that match your needs. You then also have a direct contact to ask all the questions you might have – which always come in handy.

Sanitas is a leading healthcare insurance provider in Spain. They have been in operation for over 60 years. They work in part with Bupa, an international insurance group that provides care to nearly 200 countries. They are proud to provide care at their very own hospitals and majority of their plans also include dental coverage. Sanitas is by far our top recommendation when it comes to insurance packages for international students and expats.

At Adeslas you get extensive cover, the most professional care with the largest medical team: 43,000 professionals and 1,200 care centres at your disposal, and the assurance and reliability of the number one health insurance company in the country. In Adeslas you will get an excellent insurance, with no copayments, no waiting periods, repatriation and travel insurance included.

Other known Private Health Insurance Companies in Spain are:

DKV is a German based, international insurance group that has been offering health insurance packages globally for nearly 80 years. With their vast experience and German quality service they are a great option for internationals moving to Spain.

Axa operates in over 50 countries around the world. They an established, reputable company. They have been in service for roughly 40 years and offer a wide variety of insurance plans to their clients.

Allianz is the world’s largest insurance provider among many other business endeavors. This German based company is highly trusted and reputable and is always worth to check it out.

Cigna Global is an American insurance group and a major provider in the insurance market offering a wide range of services. Their international healthcare insurance is popular among expats and other young internationals.

3.2 Compare available Insurance Plans Today

You can get a quick and instant idea about health coverage plans across different insurance companies by using the Rastreator tool below. It is only available in Spanish and will show you a wide variety of results. These result are not necessarily special private health insurance offerings for international students and expats, so be careful. It is a great tool, as you can use these results to compare them to all your insurance research.

Additionally, we highly recommend to fill out our free Health Insurance Inquiry form below. This way you will get a personalized, non-binding insurance offer by our two top recommended Spanish insurance companies: Sanitas and Adeslas. As mentioned before, for many years these companies have been very popular among international students & expats.

Rastreator Insurance Comparison Tool (click here to open)

4. Citylife’s Top Choice for Private Health Insurance in Spain for 2020

So, what insurance plan would we recommend to our international student & expat community in Madrid and Spain? The answer is fairly easy, our top recommendation for many years now has been Sanitas. Sanitas is one of Spain’s leading insurance providers who has also specialized in insurance plans for internationals moving to and living in Spain.

They offer one of the most popular healthcare plans currently out there which is exclusive for students. It is called Sanitas International Student Plan and it provides complete, high quality coverage for students in Spain between the ages of 18 and 35. It gives access to all the facilities and specialists within the vast Sanitas network from the first day of the contract. They also make it very easy for you in case you get sick during your time in Spain. There is no need to make claims or fill out forms and there nothing to pay when you use services, leaving you free to concentrate on your studies and to enjoy your time here in Spain!

Some amazing features of the Sanitas Student include:

  • No co-payments, no waiting periods, with repatriation.
  • Flexible, short term & long term contracts covering every aspect of your stay in Spain and Europe.
  • Personal assistance in English or Spanish. Documentation available in many languages to find the best private health insurance plan that matches your needs
  • Meets all the requirements necessary for your visa application in case you need one to enter Spain.
  • All round policy and includes general practitioner and specialist consultations, diagnostic tests, outpatient surgery, inpatient surgery and general hospitalization.
  • Includes FREE Dental21 dental coverage and travel assistance for medical emergencies when abroad
  • 24hr help line and access to Spain’s general, emergency, specialty & dental healthcare.
  • Full flexibility guarantee, plans are made to fit your course length and can be extended.
  • Refund of the total amount of your contracted insurance in case of COVID-19 related cancellations/delays or visa denegation.
  • Prices range from 34€-44€ per month

Regardless if you are coming to Spain to study or work, we absolutely recommend you get in touch with Sanitas to get a non-binding offer that matches your needs and current situation. All you have to do is fill out the form below. The form will be sent directly to the international service department of Sanitas & Adeslas that you selected. They usually will get back to you within 48h providing you with a free, non-binding quote describing everything in detail. They are also available to answer any question you might have after reviewing everything.

You are then free to contract or use the different offers to compare them and choose the insurance plan that fits best your personal situation. We hope it serves you well.


5. Get a Free Quote – Fill out our Insurance Inquiry Form

By completing this non-binding form you will be put in contact with representatives of Sanitas and Adeslas who will send you more details on their available plans. You will receive a free quote from each, which will allow you to compare it to all the offers you’ve found. This way you can make a well informed decision on your healthcare coverage in Spain.

Insurance Inquiry Form

First Name Last Name

Country of Origin

Passport or ID Number

Destination in Spain

Date of Birth (DD.MM.YYYY)

Estimated Date of Arrival in Madrid (DD.MM.YYYY)

How long would you like your policy for (in months)

Your Email

Your Phone (Whatsapp Number)

Type of cover required

University in Madrid / Other (required)

He leído y acepto la Política de Privacidad / I have read and accept the the Privacy Statement!

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6. FAQ

Is healthcare in Spain free?

Spain has both public and private healthcare systems. The public Spanish healthcare system provides free basic healthcare to those who contribute to the Spanish social security system as well as for Europeans via the so called European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Public healthcare does not include treatments such as dental care. Private healthcare is also available in Spain and can be accessed by contracting a private health insurance plan. To see a list of popular Spanish insurance companies specialized in providing student and expat health insurance in Spain, please refer to chapter Best Private Health Insurance in Spain for International Student & Expats in 2020 of this guide.

Do I need private health insurance in Spain and which one should I choose?

If you are not citizen of the European Union, then the answer is yes, you need a private health insurance plan to visit Spain. If you are from the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland you do not necessarily need an additional private health insurance. Spain’s healthcare system offers free, universal healthcare coverage. However, the additional private coverage can be very helpful as it will bring you many advantages, faster access to specialist treatments, dental treatment as well as access to English-speaking medical staff. To read more about student and expat health insurance in Spain, please refer to chapter Public vs Private Health Insurance in Spain of this guide.

What’s the average cost of private health insurance for students in Spain?

Private health insurance for students and expats in Spain is widely available and can be purchased easily online. Monthly premiums for example for student health insurance in Spain usually depend on age, gender, and health needs. Sanitas, for example, offers one of the currently most popular student health insurance policies in Spain called Sanitas International Students Plan which only costs around 34-45€ per month. In general health insurance for expats and international students in Spain can cost between 30 and 200€ per month, depending on the coverage plan you choose. To receive free, non-binding quotes of Spanish insurance companies offering specialized health insurance for students or expats in Spain, please fill out our free Health Insurance Inquiry form.

What is the best insurance for international students and expats moving to Spain?

There is no correct answer on which is the best health insurance in Spain for international students and expats, as it all depends on your personal needs and circumstances. However, if you are looking for a great provider specialized in student health insurance and expat health insurance Spain, Sanitas is always a good idea to get in touch with. They are probably the biggest private health insurance company in Spain. Besides that, there are more Spanish insurance companies who offer good service to international students and expats like Adeslas Insurance, Axa and DKV. Check out chapter Best Private Health Insurance in Spain for International Student & Expats in 2020 of this guide for more details and recommendations.



Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. After falling in love with Madrid, she started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth! In her spare time you will find Leah at some of Madrid's many museums and cultural exhibitions.

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