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Do I Need Travel Insurance for Ireland?

Find Cheap Travel Insurance to Ireland

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Many people planning a trip to Ireland wonder if they need travel insurance. The answer varies a bit depending on whether you're travelling to Southern or Northern Ireland. Read on to discover why you need travel insurance for trips to Ireland and how medical coverage in particular varies between Southern and Northern Ireland.

Do I Need Travel Insurance to Ireland?

Broadly speaking, you need travel insurance for a trip to Ireland just as much as you need travel insurance for any trip abroad. While it is not a legal requirement for UK residents, travel insurance for Ireland can help you recoup non-refundable travel and accommodation costs if you need to cancel your trip due to illness or provide reimbursement if your bags are lost or delayed in transit. Although Ireland is only a hop away, these events can nonetheless result in hundreds or thousands of pounds out of pocket if you don't have travel insurance.

Considering that the average cost of cheap travel insurance for Ireland is around £5 from the cheapest travel insurance providers for Ireland—the cost of a pint of Guinness—it seems like an easy decision. Get travel insurance even for Ireland, just in case you need it.

There are a few differences in travel insurance cover depending on whether you're travelling to Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland. For instance, since Northern Ireland is part of the UK, trips there are typically treated as within your "home area" so emergency medical expenses would not be covered by travel insurance since you have access to the NHS, just like in the rest of the UK.

Do You Need Travel Insurance to Southern Ireland?

In terms of serious medical emergencies, travel insurance for Southern Ireland can be quite valuable if you become seriously ill or are injured whilst on the Emerald Isle, because the EHIC won’t cover any necessary private emergency medical care deemed necessary or medical repatriation back to the UK. If, for instance, you need to be flown back to the UK in an air ambulance after emergency surgery in Southern Ireland because you're not well enough to travel on your own, travel insurance could save you thousands of pounds on repatriation expenses alone. If you want this type of protection, then you should buy travel insurance for Ireland.

UK residents have access to state provided medical treatment in Southern Ireland if necessary during a trip to Ireland. In fact, UK residents can access public health services in Ireland without a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by showing proof of UK residency. That said, the government still advises you carry a free EHIC card when you travel in Ireland and that travellers to Ireland also take out medical travel insurance.

Do You Need Travel Insurance to Northern Ireland?

Travel insurance for a trip to Northern Ireland can help protect you against financial losses due to trip cancellation/curtailment or lost baggage, but is typically not as useful or necessary when it comes to emergency medical coverage. As the NHS will provide emergency cover for UK residents throughout the UK, travel insurance plans won't usually cover expenses related to private medical care in Northern Ireland. And they may not cover medical repatriation back home since Northern Ireland is already in your "home area" of the United Kingdom.

Note: most annual travel insurance policies will insure trips within the UK, including to Northern Ireland, for cancellation and baggage regardless of the geographic coverage area you've chosen for trips abroad—so long as you've pre-booked 2 nights accommodation for your UK trip. As always, details vary from insurance provider to insurance provider so be sure to read the Policy Wording to see what's covered on your policy or any plan you intend to buy.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.