Lifestyle
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 6 min

Insurance in Greece: a guide to public and private options for residents and investors

Greece has one of the most extensive and developed public insurance systems in the EU: EFKA. It is funded by social security payments and provides the residents with universal healthcare, family benefits, and life insurance compensations.

Here is how different types of public and private insurance work for different categories of Greek inhabitants — from nationals to tourists, expats and investors.

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Guides through the Greek insurance system

Greece insurance guide

Insurance in Greece: a guide to public and private options for residents and investors

Overview of social insurance in Greece

EFKA is the government-based social security system in Greece, also known as the National Social Security Fund. It compulsorily covers all citizens and permanent residents of Greece. Golden Visa investors are the exclusion: they must take out a paid insurance policy but can apply for EFKA after becoming full-fledged Greek citizens.

More than 50 services are unified under EFKA, from medical treatment and parental benefits to employment and pension. The system is extensively digitized and is now officially referred to as e-EFKA.

The EFKA system is funded by obligatory social security payments made by the inhabitants of Greece.

Who pays monthly social security contributions in Greece

  1. Employees in the private sector pay 14,12% of their gross salary. Employees in the public sector pay 15,33%.

  2. Employers in the private sector pay 22,54% of their employee’s gross salary. Employers in the public sector pay 24,33%.

Freelancers and self-employed individuals in Greece choose among six social security categories every year and pay EFKA contributions depending on this choice. Payments range between €250 and €650.

To access EFKA coverage, expats should receive a social security number known as AMKA. It can be obtained in one of the KEP service centres in their municipality. Expats can apply for an AMKA for themselves, their dependents, and underage children.

Documents for obtaining an AMKA Greek Social Security Number as an expat

  1. ID or passport if the applicant is an EU citizen.

  2. Expatriate ID or foreign passport if the applicant is a non-EU citizen.

  3. Family status certificate and birth certificate for children under 12.

If an expat is employed in Greece and has an AMKA number, they don’t have to make EFKA contributions by themselves — their employers make payments on their behalf.

Public healthcare insurance in Greece

National healthcare system in Greece is called ESY. It is provided under the EFKA umbrella and covers not only public but certain private medical services as well. Citizens and residents in Greece covered by EFKA can access free healthcare in Greece.

EU visitors that spend up to 90 days in a 180-day period in Greece can use their EHIC — European Health Insurance Card — to get free medical treatment on the same terms as Greek nationals. Students from other EU countries that study in Greece can also use their EHICs for free healthcare at any time.

Third-country visitors and tourists who arrive in Greece on a Schengen Visa have mandatory travel insurance that covers possible medical expenses. Visitors from countries that have a visa-free agreement with Greece can usually access medical treatment for free or at a reduced cost.

What is covered by national healthcare insurance in Greece

  • general and specialist care;

  • hospitalisation;

  • lab work;

  • medicine administration in special cases;

  • emergency transportation and care;

  • physiotherapy;

  • preventive dental care and treatment, orthodontic treatment for children under 13, and periodical denture change.

Insured persons can choose a family doctor. They can also make appointments with private doctors who are contracted by EOPYY — the National Organisation for the Provision of Health Services of Greece. EOPYY-contracted specialists who have not reached the maximum monthly limit of 200 free visits will treat insured patients at no extra charge.

Sickness cash benefits in Greece are available to those who are temporarily unable to work or are absent from work for more than three days. The benefit amount depends on the insured person’s earnings in the last 30 days of the previous year.

Discover the advantages, terms, and details of the Greece residence-by-investment program

Private healthcare insurance in Greece

Around 17% of the Greek population spends more than 10% of their household income on out-of-pocket healthcare. The data comes from the WHO’s Global Monitoring Report on Financial Protection in Health 2021.

Nationals and permanent residents in Greece usually choose supplementary private insurance to get more options and cut waiting times. Paid plans cover direct access to specialists, second opinion, emergency evacuation, extensive inpatient, outpatient, vision and dental care, medicine administration, prolonged rehabilitation, and more.

Employed and self-employed expats in Greece, as stated earlier, must pay EFKA social security contributions. That way, they and their families become entitled to free healthcare, family, life and other types of public insurance.

Nevertheless, expats are encouraged to take out supplementary private insurance. Most companies, both in Greece and in other countries, have ready-made or customisable international plans specifically for expats. One of the main advantages is the coverage of on-the-road treatment, preexistent condition treatment, and overseas evacuation.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Greece

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Greece

Life insurance in Greece

Those insured by EFKA are entitled to monetary support in the event of a family member’s death. Compensation comes in the form of funeral benefits and monthly pensions.

Widows and widowers can usually get 70% of the pension the deceased received or was entitled to receive. If there is a surviving divorced spouse with at least 10 years of marriage, they get 25% of the pension and the surviving spouse gets 75%.

Legitimate, recognised or adopted children under 18 get 25% of the deceased parent’s pension. If a child is between the ages of 18 and 24, unmarried, and attending higher education, they are still entitled to the same compensation. So is any child who is over 24 but has a life-long disability.

Funeral compensation is a one-time payment equaling eight times the reference pay of the highest insurance category. It is paid as a lump sum to the deceased’s surviving spouse or a person who organises the funeral.

Additionally, anyone who resides in Greece can take out a private life insurance policy. There are plans that cover not just burial expenses, but mortgages, loans, credit card payments, or taxes.

Family insurance in Greece

Maternity, paternity and child benefits are also covered by EFKA. Employed mothers can be entitled to a 119-day maternity leave. During the leave, their employee pays them a benefit equaling up to one month of earnings. EFKA maternity benefits will be at least 2/3 of earnings.

Uninsured mothers in Greece are entitled to a €220.10 benefit before giving birth and €220.10 after. They need to claim at their municipal welfare department, approximately 9.5 months before estimated birth.

Childbirth allowance is a one-time payment that can be claimed by mothers who chose to give birth at home. The amount is fixed at €900.

Child benefits in Greece are paid for every child under 18, every child under 19 if enrolled in secondary education, and every child under 24 if enrolled in higher education. The benefit amount depends on the number of children in the family, as well as family income. The range is €56—140 per child.

Property insurance in Greece

Real estate insurance. Greek law does not require insuring property, but it is recommended. Plans are available via private insurers. Homeowners in Greece choose to insure their properties against earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, in addition to more common cases like fires or burglaries.

What to remember when choosing a property insurance plan in Greece

  1. Contents of the property should be covered too. Specifically discuss the cover of any luxury items, financial documents, and cash.

  2. When insuring a holiday property, make sure the cover includes the days when the property is unoccupied.

  3. Not just the main house, but any adjacent buildings and communal areas on the property — such as swimming pools, guest houses, garages, and gazebos — should be included in the insurance.

Vehicle insurance. Automobile insurance in Greece is mandatory. Vehicle owners are free to choose any licensed insurer in the country.

A standard car insurance plan offered by any Greek provider is Third Party Liability. It covers the driver’s civil liability but can be enhanced for an additional fee. For example, an insured driver can add roadside assistance service to the plan. Or choose the so-called fully comprehensive insurance, that covers any possible car-related incident, from injuries to theft.

If a Greek car owner wants to drive to another EU country, they need to request an International Motor Insurance Certificate from their insurer. This certificate is also known as a Green Card.

Driving foreign cars and motorcycles in Greece is allowed if the owner obtains temporary insurance, and is able to immediately provide register and ownership documents. If a foreign vehicle remains in Greece for more than 185 days in a row, the owner must apply for local licence plates.

Car rentals are compulsorily insured in Greece. The minimum coverage usually includes third-party liability, collision damage, and fire, and the insurance fees are automatically added to the rental price. Drivers can enhance their plan to full coverage.

Traffic accidents in Greece can be reported in two ways

  1. Statement of Accident. The involved drivers should contact their respective insurers within eight days after the accident and provide a summary, photographs, and a drawn-up plan of the scene. If there were injuries, the insurer should receive the contact information of the victims, as well as their hospital’s name and address.

  2. Friendly Settlement. Can be concluded if an accident involves no more than two vehicles, the drivers reach an agreement, and the damages do not exceed €9,000. The respective insurers of both drivers must belong to the Friendly Settlement system of Greece.

Golden Visa Investor insurance in Greece

While Greece Golden Visa program participants receive a residence permit card, they can not access the EFKA system — and therefore are not eligible for free insurance. They must purchase health and safety insurance for themselves and their dependents: this is required by the program terms.

Private companies in Greece often provide special “residence permit insurance” plans for Golden Visa investors and their families. Coverage includes treatment in public and private hospitals, accidents, evacuation, and fatalities.

Annual premiums per person start at €80—100 and depend on the insured’s age. For example, those aged between 3 months and 21 years are commonly charged the minimum insurance fee. The fee gradually increases with each next age group approximately by 20%. The largest insurance fee is applied to those older than 75 and can reach €1000 per year.

However, Golden Visa investors can apply for Greek citizenship in seven years. Then they will receive their AMKA numbers and become covered by EFKA. This also makes them EU citizens, meaning that they obtain a European Health Insurance Card and are allowed to seek free medical treatment in other member countries.

7 years

Time before obtaining EU citizenship as a Greek investor

Greece Golden Visa is issued by investment. Applicants can choose an option with a minimum threshold:

  1. €250,000 or more. Investors can buy residential or commercial real estate, rent a tourist accommodation for 10 years, enter a timeshare for 10 years, inherit or receive a property as a gift, or buy a plot of land for a construction or agriculture project.

  2. €400,000 or more. Investors can purchase government bonds or open a deposit in a Greek bank.

Investors can add their family members to the Greece Golden Visa application. Eligible members include a spouse or a domestic partner, and unmarried children under 21.

Summarising Greek insurance

  1. Greece has a developed and extensively digitised social security system called EFKA. It provides most nationals and expats, as well as some temporary visitors, with free healthcare. Employed and self-employed individuals in Greece must pay social security contributions.

  2. Expats are also covered by EFKA but are encouraged to purchase international insurance policies.

  3. Investors who participate in Greece Golden Visa program are not covered by EFKA. They are obligated to buy insurance. In 7 years, after becoming citizens, they will be covered by EFKA.

  4. Car insurance in Greece is mandatory. Property insurance is not — but it is advised to take out one.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a residence permit in Greece?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a residence permit in Greece?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there insurance in Greece?

    Yes. It is called the National Social Security Fund, or EFKA. It compulsorily covers Greek nationals and permanent residents. EFKA unifies more than 50 services, from universal healthcare and parental benefits to employment and pension. It is funded by obligatory social security payments made by employed and self-employed workers.

    Greece Golden Visa investors are not covered by EFKA: they must take out a paid insurance policy. But they can apply for EFKA when becoming Greek citizens after 7 years of permanent residency.

  • How do I get health insurance in Greece?

    You need to obtain an AMKA — a social security number. Apply for it in one of the KEP service centres in your municipality: after receiving one, you can start making social security contributions which will make you eligible for free healthcare insurance in Greece. If you are contracted by a Greek employer, they must make contributions for you.

    Temporary visitors from other EU countries can get medical treatment in Greece by presenting their EHIC card.

    If you are nor Greek or EU citizen, you can turn to private healthcare providers.

  • Is healthcare in Greece free?

    Yes, citizens and most permanent residents in Greece can access free healthcare. Greece’s National healthcare system is called ESY and is provided under the EFKA umbrella. It covers not only public but some instances of private medical treatment.

  • Does Greece have free healthcare for foreigners?

    Depends on the category of foreigners. EU visitors that spend up to 90 days in a 180-day period in Greece can use their European Health Insurance Card and get free treatment on the same terms as Greek nationals.

    Third-country visitors and tourists who arrive in Greece on a Schengen Visa have mandatory travel insurance that covers possible medical expenses. Visitors from countries that have a visa-free agreement with Greece can usually access medical treatment for free or at a reduced cost.

    Foreign investors, who participate in a Greek Golden Visa program, can not get healthcare for free and must purchase a private insurance plan. However, in seven years they can acquire Greek citizenship and access free healthcare.

  • Do I need car insurance to rent a car in Greece?

    Yes. Car rentals are compulsorily insured in Greece, and the insurance fees are automatically added to the rental price. Your rental company is obligated to include the minimum coverage: third-party liability, collision damage, and fire. You can enhance your insurance by adding coverage for roadside services, theft, property damage, injury, and other possible incidents.