Is Iceland in Europe for travel insurance?

We answer the key question everyone asks (spoiler – yes, Iceland is in Europe) and provide you with all the hints and tips you need to get suitable travel insurance for Iceland.

We answer the key question everyone asks (spoiler – yes, Iceland is in Europe) and provide you with all the hints and tips you need to get suitable travel insurance for Iceland.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
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Posted 15 JANUARY 2021

So, is Iceland in Europe for travel insurance?

Yes, it is. While Iceland isn’t part of the main European continental landmass, or a member of the European Union (EU), it’s classed as part of Europe for the purposes of taking out travel insurance.

Iceland is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), which has a couple of other benefits for Brits:

You have some access to state-provided healthcare if you have a valid EHIC/GHIC card (though this isn’t a substitute for travel insurance).

You can drive in Iceland using your UK driving licence.


The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.

Please note: from 4am on 4 October 2021, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries.

Currently, if your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

Do I need travel insurance for Iceland?

Yes – while it’s not compulsory, it’s very much recommended that you buy travel insurance for your trip to Iceland.

While you can access some state medical care, an EHIC card won’t cover getting you home in an emergency. You’ll also need cover in case of lost baggage, cancellations and even theft. Iceland does not have a high crime rate, but petty crime and theft can occur anywhere, especially in urban areas.

Also, after Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.

However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.

Iceland experiences extreme weather and much of the country is remote. It’s easy to have your plans changed due to storms or other disruptions. Travel insurance is there to give you peace of mind that you can claim back surprise expenses.

Does travel insurance cover volcanic ash disruption?

After the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 caused 100,000 flight cancellations, we’re all aware of how volcanic ash can affect your travel plans. While it’s unusual to have an ash cloud that affects so much of Europe, ash is a common problem in Iceland – the country has 35 active volcanoes.

So will you be covered if your Iceland holiday is disrupted by ash? Not always – it depends on your insurance provider. If you’re going to Iceland, always check the policy details to see if volcanic ash is covered before you buy. You might be able to add the cover to your policy for an additional premium.

Find out more: Travel insurance that covers volcanic ash

What else should I think about when I compare Iceland travel insurance?

Here are a few things to keep particularly in mind:

  • Adventure sports. If you’re in Iceland for outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, climbing or skiing, make sure your travel insurance includes the activities you have planned – otherwise, if you’re injured, your medical costs and flights home might not be covered. You can find a list of insured activities in your policy documents. Find out more about adventure sports travel insurance.
  • Cancellation cover: Iceland’s weather can be severe at any time of the year. While a tour operator will usually refund you if they cancel because of bad weather, they don’t have to do so if you can’t get to them because of cancelled buses. You should read the small print and see what your policy offers in terms of holiday cancellation insurance.
  • Baggage cover: It’s important to think about exactly how much it would cost to replace your baggage if you lost it. This is easy to misjudge, especially if you’re going for outdoor pursuits. The gear you’ve accumulated over the years could cost a great deal to replace all at once.

Do I need a visa for Iceland?

No. For stays of up to three months you don’t need a visa to visit Iceland. Just make sure your passport is valid at least until you come home.

Any other tips for visiting Iceland?

Here are a few things it’s nice to know before you go.

Language: The official language is Icelandic, but English is widely spoken.

Currency: Icelandic króna. ATMs are plentiful and you’ll be able to pay by card in most places.

Tipping: It’s rarely expected that you’ll tip in Iceland. Restaurant bills usually have a service charge included – though if not you can tip around 10%. Hotel staff, tour guides and taxi drivers won’t expect a tip either, but if you’ve received exceptional service, feel free to tip.

Vaccinations: You’re unlikely to need any specific vaccinations to visit Iceland, but you should speak to your doctor 4-6 weeks before you leave just to be sure.

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