A simples guide

Is Iceland in Europe for travel insurance?

Yes, if you’re planning a trip to the ‘land of the midnight sun’ you need to take out travel insurance before you go just as if you were visiting any other country. Travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover the costs associated with any medical issues that might arise when you’re in Iceland, or to provide cover should you miss your flight or your personal possessions become lost or stolen.

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Are there any special considerations to take before visiting Iceland?

Iceland is not on the main European continental landmass, nor is the country a member of the European Union (EU). However, it will be classed as part of Europe for the purposes of taking out travel insurance, which should help keep your premiums down.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides some limited access to medical services in Iceland, as the country is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). However, having an EHIC should never be regarded as a substitute for having effective travel insurance. For example, it does not cover the costs of an early return journey to the UK should your medical condition require this.

Iceland has more than 30 active volcanoes, which is a significant number for such a small country. Many insurance providers do not provide cover for transport problems caused by volcanic ash, while others do cover it but as an add-on which requires payment of an additional premium. If you’re due to visit Iceland, you might therefore want to look for a policy which does cover ash disruption.

Research by the Daily Telegraph in 2013 found that only three of 15 insurance providers it surveyed covered volcanic ash as standard. At that time the typical extra premium to have this covered could be up to £10.

Many people go to Iceland for outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, climbing or skiing. If you’re travelling for this reason, you must make sure that the travel insurance you buy covers you for these activities should you become injured.

Cultural information regarding Iceland

Iceland is one of the world’s most volcanically active countries, as mentioned above, and you need to be aware that your holiday may be disrupted in some way if an eruption event or an earthquake occurs while you’re there. You should ensure you keep in touch with the news while you’re in the country, and follow the instructions of the authorities should anything of this nature occur. The eruption of a volcano in Iceland back in 2010 grounded flights over a large part of Europe for almost a week.

Iceland is a very northerly country, and its weather can be very severe at any time of the year. You need to be prepared for the fact that the weather might disrupt your holiday in some way, and again you should follow the advice of the authorities. This is especially so if you have outdoor activities planned during your holiday – outdoor pursuits can become dangerous during severe weather.

As it is an EEA member state, you can drive in Iceland using your UK driving licence.

The Icelandic police can be very severe on any form of drug offence, so avoid illegal substances at all costs.

Iceland has no public railway network, unlike almost all other European countries, so if you don’t have access to a hire car, you could be reliant on buses to get around.

Due to its northerly location, it has almost 24 hours of daylight in midsummer and almost no daylight in midwinter.

You can visit Iceland for up to three months as a UK national without having a visa – your UK passport will suffice.

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

Iceland does not have a high crime rate, but petty crime and theft can occur anywhere, especially in urban areas.

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