Should You Get Travel Insurance for Serbia?

If there's one advice I should give to international travelers planning their trip to Serbia, it would be to get travel insurance and make sure that you have at least medical coverage during your trip there. 

While having international travel insurance coverage is not required when traveling to Serbia, I had a first-hand experience of being pickpocketed in Belgrade—and so did two of my friends. Yes, not one friend, but two different friends—both Indonesians too! 

I'm not saying that the Republic of Serbia is not a safe place to travel to, but I definitely see a pattern that makes me encourage all visitors to Serbia to get themselves insured. 

In this post, I'm going to share some insights about why you need travel insurance to Serbia, and how to choose the best visitors insurance when traveling there. Here's everything you need to know! 

Are you looking to purchase travel insurance for Serbia? Check my recommendations below!
  • SafetyWing offers Nomad Insurance that's suitable if you plan to stay in Serbia for more than a month. You can check the price here.
  • EKTA is suitable if you plan to travel to Serbia for a short time. It's also suitable if you're a citizen of countries that require visa applications through the Serbian embassy to travel there. 
  • You are eligible for compensation for any flight delay or cancellation in Europe, including Serbia. Check Compensair if you had any of these incidents in the past to check your eligibility, or cover yourself with AirHelp for your upcoming flights.

Why You Should Get Travel Insurance on Your Serbia Trip

Unlike visa requirements for most European destinations, travel insurance isn't mentioned in the visa requirements even if you plan to apply for a Serbian visa for short-stay or temporary residence. 

Although it's not required, I have made a habit of getting travel insurance online wherever I go since I got sick when traveling to Indochina years ago.

I've learned the hard way that emergency medical expenses can be super expensive, especially if you plan to travel overseas for a long time. That's why I advocate getting insurance coverage, as the chance of trip interruption is never zero. 

If you're not sure how to choose the best insurance for your trip, check out this travel insurance guide to get you started. Meanwhile, here's an overview of why I highly recommend getting travel insurance for Serbia! 

Healthcare in Serbia

Just like a lot of countries in Europe, Serbia has a universal healthcare system for its citizens—making it accessible for everyone.

For foreigners, healthcare in Serbia is considered affordable compared to its neighboring country, which makes it a popular destination for medical tourism.

The cost of dentist and ophthalmologist consultations is much lower than the likes of the USA or Canada, although most of these consultations usually take place at a private clinic in Serbia. 

Despite that, I recommend getting travel insurance that covers medical expenses when traveling to Serbia. 

While most people in Serbia can speak English pretty well, making an appointment with a GP or a specialist doctor can be challenging at a public hospital.

When choosing travel insurance for Serbia, medical insurance coverage can save you a lot of time (and money!) in case of emergency, especially if you have no choice but to go to a private clinic—which could be much more expensive. 

Travel Safety in Serbia

Generally speaking, I felt safe traveling in Serbia as a woman traveling solo there. I never experienced any unpleasant things like getting catcalled or even the typical racism during my trip to Serbia, even though I was traveling there not too long after the Covid pandemic ended in 2021. 

However, my opinion changed when I got pickpocketed in Serbia. It got worse a few days later when a fellow Indonesian traveling to Serbia reached out to me on Instagram.

He told me that he found my profile on Couchsurfing because I published a public trip there, and he said his phone was stolen in Belgrade.

At the time, I thought pickpocketers in Serbia must be busy during that time of the year since it was around Christmas. But I thought what a coincidence that the victims in this particular case were us – both are Indonesians traveling abroad to Serbia for a short time. 

After connecting through Instagram, he told me he wanted to extend his stay at the hostel but had a hard time accessing his mobile banking account without his phone. He ended up staying at my apartment for a night before flying back to Turkiye the next day. 

When it happened, I tried to be positive that everything happened for a reason. And I thought it was just nice that I got connected to a fellow countryman in Serbia, even though it was for an unpleasant incident that hit both of us. 

Me and my Indonesian friends whom I met in Serbia, one of them got also pickpocketed during his trip there.
Me and my Indonesian friends whom I met in Serbia, one of them got also pickpocketed during his trip there.

It wasn't until earlier this year when an old friend of mine (also Indonesian) was traveling to Serbia. We basically stayed in touch as I shared some tips about where to go in Serbia or what to do. 

I also told her to be cautious since I wasn't the only person I knew who got pickpocketed when traveling to Serbia. To my surprise, my friend also got pickpocketed too. She even lost her phone and wallet this time. 

Personally, I had a great time traveling around Serbia. Apart from the pickpocket, I really had a blast when exploring the country. But from all these stories, I see a pattern here: it seems that thefts in Serbia highly target foreigners as their victims. 

I have a Dutch friend living in Belgrade, and she still thinks that Serbia is safe, but this is something to highlight as much as I don't like to point out: she's white, and we're not. 

So honestly, while the crime rate is considered low (it's constantly declining since 2018 based on this report), this warning specifically targets my fellow people of color because it seems to me that our skin color attracts the thefts there. 

While I highly recommend getting insurance whenever you travel abroad, I think it's worth upgrading your insurance plan to include personal liability and protection for your personal belongings if you plan a trip to Serbia. 

Long-Term Stay in Serbia

As an Indonesian, I am eligible to get a free visa to Serbia for up to 30 days per year. For a stay longer than that, Indonesians must apply for visa C or D in Serbia via the embassy in Jakarta. 

If you're a Schengen visa holder or a citizen of a country with “stronger” passports, you can stay up to 90 days without a visa. 

I know because my landlord in Serbia is married to a German. He told me that before they got married, he usually just left Serbia for Hungary or Croatia for a visa run and came back. This practice seems to be highly popular among digital nomads in Serbia until today. 

White Card in Serbia

Visa holders to Serbia typically need to register their stay at the nearest police office. Visitors to Serbia need to have a “white card” or “beli karton” in Serbian for this. 

The good news is that most establishments in Serbia are already familiar with the system, so most hotels or even Airbnbs in Serbia usually register their guests upon check-in. 

My landlord in Belgrade wasn't familiar with it, but the staff at Apartmani Amaro in Novi Sad assisted me with this just a few days after I reported my pickpocket case in Belgrade.

If your host isn't sure about this “white card” in Serbia, ask them to check the Eturista website here. Basically, hosts in Serbia – be it hotel staff or Airbnb owners – can register their guests online via the website, and they just need to print it out if you need your white card for any purpose. 

I'm not sure of the legality of this white card in Serbia for foreigners, but I think it's easily overlooked unless it's an urgent case.

In my case, I needed that card to open a bank account in Serbia after losing my bank cards in the stolen wallet. But I imagine it's not really required if you're only going to stay in Serbia for a few days. 

Requirement to open a bank account in Serbia.
Requirement to open a bank account in Serbia.

Getting Around in Serbia

Using public buses is probably the most affordable way to get around in Serbia unless you're comfortable driving on the right-hand side of the road – in which case, I think it's worth considering renting a car instead. I went on a road trip around Serbia with my friend Dora, and we had a blast! 

In big cities like Belgrade, Novi Sad, or Nis, you can take a public bus pretty easily.

For Belgrade, you must have Busplus, a bus card, to use the public bus in the capital city since they no longer accept cash for payment. However, you can approach the driver and pay with cash for buses in Novi Sad and Nis. 

The downside? It's not the safest public transport in Belgrade, as most thefts and pickpockets occur on the bus. I lost my wallet on the bus; my friend got his phone stolen there too – my other friend lost her phone and wallet at the mall. 

Bus ticket in Serbia.
Inter-city bus ticket in Serbia.

How to Choose the Best Travel Insurance for Serbia

When traveling to Serbia, I recommend getting comprehensive travel insurance that offers several coverages, including: 

  • Medical emergency coverage. 
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage. 
  • Electronic theft coverage. 

Comprehensive coverage is especially important if you're a digital nomad planning to stay in Serbia for the long term. 

For this, I recommend SafetyWing as they offer their very own Nomad Insurance. The insurance provides coverage for medical, travel delay, and luggage protection.

In addition, you can purchase extra add-ons, including electronic thefts and adventure sports, if you plan to try extreme sports like bungee jumping. One of the most popular spots for bungee jumping in Serbia is Ada Ciganlija, where the excursion is typically open during the summer. 


Is travel insurance required for travelers in Serbia? 

There are no insurance requirements for visiting Serbia, even if you need to apply for a visa through the Serbian embassy in your country. Nonetheless, I still recommend getting one for your protection. 

My advantage over my other friends – who also got pickpocketed abroad, is that I had travel insurance coverage when it happened. 

While my friends couldn't claim their loss and thought reporting to the police would make no difference, I had the advantage of reporting to the police to issue my insurance claim. 

Although I couldn't get my wallet back, I received some compensation to cover all the things I lost a few days later. 

It was helpful, especially since, unlike when I got sick in Laos and received some help from the Indonesian embassy in Vientiane, no one responded when I tried to contact the Indonesian embassy in Belgrade.  

So yes, my stance when traveling to Serbia is valid: it's better to purchase travel insurance for Serbia, although technically travel insurance is not mandatory to get a visa to Serbia. 

Is Serbia safe for female travelers?

As a woman traveling solo to Serbia, I felt totally safe during my time there. 
In fact, after knowing some fellow Indonesians who also got robbed in Serbia during their travel, I have a conclusion that I wasn't targeted for robbery because I'm a woman – but rather because I obviously look like a foreigner. 

It also justified why my friend (who's a man – but obviously an Asian too like I am) was also targeted. 

If I learned anything from the events, I think you should be more cautious when traveling to Serbia if you're people of color. Not because of racism, but it seems like the criminals in Serbia are active and well that it's so easy to target gullible foreigners like us for their crimes. 

How can I purchase international travel insurance for Serbia?

Many insurance providers offer coverage for things like emergency treatment and trip cancellations in Serbia, including big names like Axa, Avanti, or Virgin Money Travel Insurance

If you want to prioritize one with medical expenses incurred, you can also browse through platforms like VisitorsCoverage or EKTA

However, if you plan for a long-term stay in Serbia and you're looking for a travel insurance provider that offers plans in a monthly subscription, SafetyWing is probably your best bet. 

You can check out their Nomad Insurance plan to ensure you're insured in a foreign country—and not just in Serbia as you'll be covered too if you plan to travel around Southeast Europe in the Balkans and beyond. 


Serbia is blessed with a lot of natural wonders, making it one of the must-visit places among the former Yugoslavian countries in Balkan

While traveling to Serbia is relatively safe, you should still be cautious as theft and robbery are pretty common, especially if you're traveling by the public transport in the capital city in Belgrade. 

Keep in mind that anything could happen, especially if you plan for a long-term stay in Serbia – it's always best to protect yourself with travel medical insurance at the very least. 

But considering I got to know a lot of thefts in Serbia against my will, I definitely recommend getting extra add-ons for coverages that include personal liability, especially for electronic devices in Serbia. 

marya the beautraveler author profile
Marya The BeauTraveler

I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.


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