Can’t hold out anymore on experiencing that Irish charm you’ve heard about? Then you’re in for a treat! Ireland is a joy to explore on your next hard-earned holiday. It’s a small but perfectly formed country, with spirited cities and breathtaking landscapes. Furthermore, Ireland is dotted with historical castles, quaint rustic villages and endless pints of Guiness. It’s chill, it’s safe, it’s totally fun and everybody agrees!
The Irish are known for their luck, and they certainly got lucky with their land. Ireland is blessed with glorious coastlines, rolling hills, and rugged mountains. Irish people won’t disappoint you with their wit and warmth, either. They definitely set the worldwide standard for humor!
But whilst the Irish may be lucky, do you feel lucky? Because if you prefer not to leave things down to chance this post is just for you. Let’s take a look at Ireland travel insurance!
Do I Need Travel Insurance For Ireland?
So what’s the craic on travel insurance in Ireland? Do you need it and if so why? First of all, do note that this guide is specifically about the Republic of Ireland (Eire). For Northern Ireland, you may want to consult our Guide to UK Travel Insurance. Now, back to Ireland, where travel insurance is not a mandatory entry requirement. And in a country which doesn’t exactly shout out ‘danger,’ you might wonder if it’s necessary and worth the expense.
Crime rates are very low. In fact, most of the danger stems from one too many Guinnesses turning to a street brawl (it happens). However, as is the case with every place you visit, opportunistic crime does happen – even in the Emerald Isle. Airlines and tour operators can go bust in the blink of an eye. This happened to Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, very recently. It’s worth considering insurance, as travel disruption can result in a lot of lost money.
Ultimately, we encourage all travelers to consider insurance, regardless of the destination. Even if it’s the cheapest Ireland travel insurance you can find! It won’t seem like a waste of money if you need it.
Healthcare in Ireland
Irish healthcare is adequate, overall, but statistics show it lags behind its European comrades. Waiting lists are lengthy, and beds are limited. However, should you need emergency treatment while in Ireland, you can rely on it. Ireland’s healthcare comprises highly-trained Irish doctors as well as international ex-pats.
The healthcare system is a mixture of public and private. Available for all Irish citizens, the former is funded by taxes. Those who have medical cards have access to free healthcare. Anyone else will be required to pay subsidized fees in the public sector. Meanwhile, 45% of the Irish population choose to take out private healthcare insurance. This way, they receive the highest level of care and do not have to deal with the timely waiting lists. In fact, Ireland has one of Europe’s highest populations who opt to go private.
Now, let’s get over to costs. For a routine or non-emergency appointment, the cost of seeing a GP in Ireland as a tourist ranges between €40-60 ($37 – $55 USD). This covers the cost of the consultation. Blood tests, x-rays, and further investigation will cost more. Plus, the cost of any prescription medicine. Meanwhile, a trip to an emergency ward will cost you around €100 ($117 USD). You will pay approximately €80 per night to stay in a hospital. Typically, Irish hospitals will treat you and then ask you to pay afterward, or refer them to your Ireland travel insurance provider.
Good news if you’re from the UK or another European country! You can apply for the free EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) before travel. This is provided free of charge and grants you access to subsidized, or sometimes free, emergency healthcare. But, EHIC recommends always traveling with travel insurance too, which covers medical and possessions.
Crime in Ireland
Crime in Ireland is low enough that the destination is popular with travelers and holidaymakers of all types. It’s a fabulous option to begin your solo backpacking lifestyle. The country has the 11th lowest homicide rate in Europe and the 23rd lowest in the world. In fact, in 2019, there was a decrease in homicides. However, attempted murder and sexual offences did increase (9% and 7% respectively). Irish cities are where most of the crimes occur, with Dublin, Limerick, and Cork city being among those with the highest reported incidents.
Property crime is your biggest contender while traveling in Ireland. Keep your valuables secure on your person when sightseeing. Lock away all that you can in your hostel locker or safely in your guesthouse. Don’t leave valuables in your rental car either. The cheapest Ireland travel insurance will likely impose a surcharge for valuables, so check your small print in case you do end up needing to claim.
And finally, the drug trade is alive and well in Ireland. Dealing and trafficking are both crimes, which mainly occupy Dublin. An increase of 17.3% was observed in 2019. Stick to Guinness and castles, and you won’t find yourself in a pickle.
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Issues Facing Travellers in Ireland
The first issue you’ll face in Ireland is deciphering an Irish accent over the jostling crowds of a Dublin Temple Bar brew, although your insurance won’t do much good there!
- Travel disruption – In terms of what your Ireland travel insurance can help you with, first up – the event that your airline goes bankrupt. It’s worth investing in some cover should this happen. If your flight is canceled, the best insurance for Ireland will see that your additional accommodation costs are covered while waiting for your new connection. They should reimburse you for the canceled flight, as well. Tour operators should be factored in here, too. They, too, can cancel schedules at the drop of a hat due to liquidation or unforeseen circumstances.
- Fluke natural disasters – Regarding natural disasters, Ireland’s soil is pretty much untouched. However, although you won’t find a volcano on the Emerald Isle, you might cross paths with the side effects. The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland in 2010 grounded flights across Europe due to ash. Check out the terms of your Ireland travel insurance so you know what the deal is should a fluke incident like that occur. Besides that, flooding and landslides can occasionally form a roadblock in your itinerary and lead to missing a connection.
- Petty theft – And, as we’ve said, issues like pickpocketing and other property theft are worth taking under consideration. It is recommended that travel insurance for visitors to Ireland cover your valuables, passport, and euros.
Popular Activities in Ireland
Most of the things you’ll want to do in Ireland are safe, focused on culture and gentle sightseeing. We’d hope that shouldn’t result in a claim on your Ireland travel insurance. But if you’re after an adrenaline rush, check out some of the following ideas!
- Cycling – You could pootle around a city or gear up a mountain bike for an adrenaline rush through the gorgeous scenery! Ensure you are covered in the event your two-wheeler is stolen or vandalized. Helmets are not a legal requirement for cyclists in Ireland, but they are recommended. Some Ireland travel insurers may stipulate that you should wear one. Scout your coverage T&Cs before squeezing into your lycra.
- Surfing – Surfing is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets! Mullaghmore has one of the largest swells in the Atlantic Ocean for the most daring. Alternatively, there are plenty of beginner spots for novices to catch your first wave. But surfing is definitely one of the activities to check your insurance for Ireland holidays covers because coral and rocks can hurt.
- Renting a car – Before embarking on your self-drive road trip around Ireland, check your travel insurance provides comprehensive cover. You need to protect the hire car itself, any other cars involved, and your personal injuries. Not all travel insurance will cover car rental expenses by default, so read closely.
What Should Travel Insurance in Ireland Cover?
In our experience, most Ireland travel insurance policies will probably include the following;
- Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses
- Luggage and Personal Property
- Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
- Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
- Trip Cancellation
- Trip Interruption
We feel that these are the most common key terms to look out for when you are comparing different insurance policies. We will not examine each one of these to see what they actually mean.
Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses
Emergency Medical costs are perhaps the single most important aspects of any travel insurance policy. If you have an accident or become seriously ill with a tropical illness, you may want to rest easy knowing that the medical costs and Doctors bills will be taken care of.
Many of you may have never seen a medical bill. However, we have seen too many for our liking and believe us, they can get very expensive very quickly. This websites founder Will Hatton was once charged $10,000 for a leg infection in Costa Rica. Even 2 days in a Thai hospital cost him nearly $2,000.00! Thankfully he was insured on both occasions.
Pre-existing medical and health conditions may not be covered under this or they may be covered for an additional premium.
Ideally, Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical insurance should offer at least $100,000.00 of coverage but some run into the millions. If you are visiting the US, then do have a serious think about this.
Baggage and Personal Property
Luggage and Personal property coverage covers the value of your bags and what’s in them. It is most commonly used for lost luggage and Many policies also extend this to cover “on the ground” theft which comes in very useful if you are robbed once you reach your destination.
The limits on this do vary between policies. However, the maximum value rarely exceeds $1000 with a maximum item value between – $250 – $500.
This is probably enough for many travellers. However if you travel with a lot of electrical gear (laptop & camera), or are packing golf clubs or something, you may also wish to think about taking out a separate gadget cover.
Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Emergency evacuation covers the cost of sending you back to your home country in a hospital. Let’s say that the above mentioned tropical illness is a very nasty one, and the decision is taken to send you home for further treatment; this will take care of the high costs of flying you home on a drip.
Repatriation is the cost of sending your remains home in the rare event that you die on your trip. Repatriation costs are not a burden I would want to leave to my family. Whilst this is thankfully rare, I do come across Facebook or “Go Fund Me” campaigns for somebody’s body to be flown home.
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
Non-medical Emergency Evacuation is when you have to be evacuated because of some sudden crisis. Examples are outbreak of war/civil unrest and natural disasters that decimate infrastructure such as the South Asian Tsunami of 2006.
In more recent times, the Corona COVID-19 outbreak created the biggest international emergency evacuation situation ever. (FYI – it straddled both the medical and non-medical evacuation boundaries).
Emergency evacuation insurance covers the costs of having to book an emergency flight home (which can be seriously expensive) and will also cover accommodation costs if you end up being flown to a random, “safe” country rather than going straight home.
Having to cancel an adventure that you were truly excited for is painful. However, being left out of pocket just makes it worse. Trip Cancellation cover can help you to recover the ‘non-refundable costs’ of your trip such as flight and hotel costs. Visa’s are also in this category.
To clarify, you can’t claim this simply because you changed your mind about the trip or fell out with your travel buddy. Proper cancellation reasons are things like sickness, family emergencies, bereavement, natural disaster and war – you get the gist.
Trip Interruption is when something goes wrong, even interrupts, and you have additional costs to pay because of it. One example, when your pre-paid hotel falls down and you are forced to book another one. Another example is when your flight home is cancelled and you need a few extra nights at your hotel.
The above are what we consider to be the basic, bare-bones of travel insurance policies. However, some policies do offer a few more aspects to them. The very best Ireland travel insurance policies may also include the following;
Adventure Sports and Activities
Please note that Adventure sports and activities are not covered by all travel insurance policies. The definition of adventure sports and activities really does vary between providers but for example, can include;
- Trekking (altitude is usually a factor here)
- Swimming with Whales
- Improvised football games….
If you are going to be doing anything remotely physical or outdoorsy on your trip, then it may be sensible to check that your insurance provider is covering it. Broken jaws hurt enough without having high medical bills attached to them.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Accidental Death & Dismemberment cover doesn’t cover any travel related expenses as such but instead it basically provides you (or your next of kin) with monetary compensation in the event that something happens to you.
If you die, your loved ones get a payout. Or, if you lose a digit, YOU get a payout. I mean, how much is a finger really worth to you anyway?
It’s kind of like having a bit of life cover attached to your travel insurance.
“Well dear, I’m afraid there is good new and bad news. The bad news is that your parents both died on their trip to Ireland. The good news is that you get $10k!”
Gear and Electronics Cover
Some insurance policies do cover electronic gadgets but others do not. Those that do, sometimes charge an additional fee and they also usually limit the maximum item value.
If you only travel with a phone or a tablet then your travel insurer may well cover it entirely. However, if like me you travel with a MacBook, then you may wish to consider obtaining gadget cover.
Personally, I have had separate gadget cover on my MacBook Pro for years.
What Is The Best Ireland Travel Insurance?
Whilst they may all seem the same, not all insurers are. Some insurers offer lower prices than others and others offer higher coverage amounts. Some are infamous for not paying claims whilst others are celebrated for being fair and helpful.
Travel insurers – always the same yet always different. It isn’t possible (or legal) for us to say that anyone of them is the best, or is “better” than the others. No. Insurance is a very complex product and any policy takes into account a whole lot of data and a wide set of variables.
Remember that the “best” travel insurance always depends on where you are going, when you are going there and ultimately upon you and your needs. The best travel insurer for one trip, may not be the best for a different trip.
Below, we will introduce a few of the many travel insurance providers on offer. These are all firms we have used ourselves over the years.
|What is Covered?||World Nomads Standard Plan||World Nomads Explorer Plan||Iata Seguros||SafetyWing||Columbus Direct|
|Emergency Accident & Sickness||$100,000||$100,000||$200,000||$250,000||$1,000,000|
|Baggage & Personal Property||$1000||$3000||$1000||$3000||$750|
|Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation||$300,000||$500,000||100% of cost||$100,000||$1,000,000|
|Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation||$25,000||$25,000||$0||$10,000||$0|
|Trip Interruption||$2500||$10,000||100% of cost||$5000||$750|
Named after one of history’s greatest (and most divisive explorers), Columbus Direct also specialise in insuring adventure-hungry explorers like us. They have been providing award-winning insurance for 30 years. What we like about this plan is that it does cover small amounts of personal cash. However, Gadget Cover is not available.
Columbus Direct actually offers a number of different travel insurance plans. Below we have focused on 1 of these and have set out the coverage amounts for the Globetrotter plan.
If you need more information or want to get a quote, then you can visit the website for yourself.
World Nomads have been insuring backpackers for years now. World Nomads specialise in backpacker travel insurance and their policies cover long way travel on one way tickets, trips to multiple countries and a whole lot of adventure activities. These guys are well used to dealing with backpackers like us, and they are regularly recommended by travel bloggers and industry insiders. We love them.
They offer 2 different policies depending on your needs. The Standard Plan is standard & the Explorer Plan covers a whole host of high risk, high fun activities. World Nomads are also one of the few travel insurers who will write you a policy after starting your trip. The one downside for us is that they don’t cover Pakistan.
Let’s look at the maximum coverage amounts with both the Standard & Explorer plan.
If you want more info or to get a quote then visit the World Nomads site for yourself and take a look.
Iati Seguros is a Spanish based travel insurance company who we have personally used and loved. You will notice that they provide competitive cover amounts for the key travel insurance areas, and are competitively priced. So far we have heard nothing but good things about them.
They also offer multiple ones, but we have focused on the Standard Plan although we wholly encourage checking out all plans for yourself to identify the best one for your needs.
If you need more information or want to get a quote, then you can visit the website for yourself.
SafetyWing are a relatively new player in the travel insurance space but are already making big waves. They specialise in cover for digital nomads and they offer open ended cover on a monthly subscription basis. Because they primarily cover digital nomads, they don’t offer much in the way of trip cancellation or delay so do take that into consideration.
However, SafetyWing really excels on the health side of travel insurance, covering dental and some complimentary treatments. In fact they even allow young children to be covered for free.
If cancellation and delay is not a concern for you or if you will be spending some considerable time on your trip, then maybe SafetyWing are right for you
If you need more information or want to get a quote, then you can visit the website for yourself.
Insuremyequipment.com does precisely what the name suggests. They are an online insurer for expensive equipment (like camera gear & gold clubs). You can use them to get specific pieces of gear insured but please bear in mind this policy is only for your specified gear.
An Insure My Equipment policy works well in combination with other travel insurance. Insure My Equipment policies are an excellent choice for professionals and backpackers with more $0000’s worth of camera equipment, expensive laptops or fishing rods.
I also know a few travelling musicians and DJs who use these guys so you are in cool company.
How To Choose The Right Ireland Travel Insurance For You
Choosing the right travel insurance for your Ireland holiday is like choosing a wife, it is something only you can decide (unless your Indian in which case your parents will do it). You need to work out how much your trip is worth, how much equipment you plan to take and what activities you intend to engage in.
And of course, you need to ask yourself how much can you afford – how much you can afford to pay for cover, and how much you can afford to be out of pocket in the unlikely event of a claim. Sometimes, the cheapest Ireland travel insurance will be enough and sometimes it will be worth spending a bit more. Hopefully the information provided in this post will help you to decide – if not, then I just wasted 5 hours of my life in writing it!
Final Thoughts on Ireland Travel Insurance
Well done, you made it all the way to the end! Now you’ve brushed up on your Ireland travel insurance need-to-knows, over to more interesting topics. It's time to plan what you're going to do in this remarkable country. We can help you out there, too.
Have a leaf through the rest of our Ireland travel content. We’ll tell you the best places to stay, the top attractions you shouldn’t miss, and restaurants you have to check out - everything you need in order to make the most of your time on the Emerald Isle!
Safe travels in Ireland.
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