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Azerbaijan May Require Tourists To Purchase Travel Insurance

By Ilham Karimli May 25, 2018

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A view of Azerbaijan's Caspian littoral capital city of Baku / Travel Contents

Foreign nationals entering Azerbaijan may be required to show proof of purchase of travel insurance before obtaining a visa to the Caspian region country.

Chairman of the Azerbaijan Insurers Association (AIA), Mustafa Abbasbeyli, said AIA intends to propose compulsory insurance of tourists arriving in Azerbaijan, which would help the country’s tourism sector go in line with a global mechanism of insurance acknowledged by many countries.

“Compulsory insurance of tourists arriving in the country is actively used in many countries of the world, in particular in all developed countries. We also want to make this segment mandatory,” Abbasbeyli told Trend.

“If our proposal is adopted, the regulation mechanism will be implemented through our embassies and consulates, ASAN Visa centers, as well as at the border checkpoints of the country,” Abbasbeyli explained.

“If Azerbaijan has a visa regime with some country, then citizens of this country will have to provide insurance documents for obtaining a visa. Availability of insurance certificate of the nationals of visa-free countries will be checked at the border. If a tourist arrives in Azerbaijan on an insurance policy of their own country, then it is not necessary to acquire additional insurance in Azerbaijan.”

Abbasbeyli added that at the initial stage, AIA wants to raise awareness about and popularize travel insurance in order to promote and increase sales.

Tourist, or “travel,” insurance is a package that typically ensures a person or traveling party emergency medical assistance during a vacation and compensation of costs associated with it, including the cost of transportation home. Most packages also protect also against financial losses in the event of theft, loss, healthcare and transportation troubles. 

Such a requirement as that being suggested by the AIA is not universal, but not unheard of.

The European Union requires travel insurance for individuals to obtain a Schengen visa to enter its borders. Americans are not required to purchase travel insurance, however, the extremely high cost of healthcare within the U.S. for foreigners is enough to scare many into purchasing a plan before they embark on a trip.

A tourist in Caspian’s largest country of Russia may be requested for a proof of a travel insurance while applying for a visa. The insurance package has to be valid in the territory of Russia. Nationals from the countries supporting a visa regime with Iran have to obtain a tourist insurance before a visa is issued to this Caspian country. Kazakhstan is considering to apply a compulsory insurance regulation for the country’s citizens who travel abroad, rather bringing the same policy in for foreign nationals.

Azerbaijan welcomed nearly 2.3 million tourists in 2017 according to official government data. The Financial Market Supervisory Authority of Azerbaijan revealed that the overall fees for insurance of tourists amounted to $374,000 during the first quarter of 2018.