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Compare travel insurance for Ireland

Green pastures, iconic cathedrals, a rugged coastline, mighty castles and the legendary ‘craic’ are just some of Ireland’s most impressive features.

Whatever takes you to the Emerald Isle, make sure you’re covered for your trip for peace of mind.

Green pastures, iconic cathedrals, a rugged coastline, mighty castles and the legendary ‘craic’ are just some of Ireland’s most impressive features.

Whatever takes you to the Emerald Isle, make sure you’re covered for your trip for peace of mind.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
15 JANUARY 2024
8 min read
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Do I need travel insurance for Ireland?

It may feel so close that you can go without, but travel insurance is always a good idea if you’re visiting Ireland. UK residents do have access to state healthcare in Northern Ireland, as well as some state healthcare services in the Republic of Ireland, but medical cover is only part of the offer. Travel insurance can also offer financial protection if your luggage is lost or your trip gets cancelled, for example.

How much does travel insurance for Ireland cost?

The good news is that travel to the Republic of Ireland (ROI) falls under a European travel insurance policy. If you’re travelling to Northern Ireland, you’ll be covered by UK travel insurance. The price you’ll pay for you policy will depend on several factors including:

  • The length of your trip.
  • Your age – if you’re over 65 you’ll often have to pay more, because statistically there’s a greater chance that you’ll need medical care while you’re away.
  • The number of people travelling with you. A couple’s retreat will, of course, be cheaper than family holiday insurance.
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
  • What activities you have planned for your holiday.
  • How much excess you’re willing to pay if you need to make a claim. Exploring the effect of a higher or lower excess on the price of your policy could be worth a few minutes.

The amount you’ll pay for you policy will also depend on how much cover you want for holiday cancellation, medical cover and baggage cover.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What will Ireland travel insurance cover? 

In general, your travel insurance policy to Ireland will usually cover:

  • Medical treatment while you’re away, and normally also repatriation to get you home in the case of a serious illness or injury. As a UK citizen, you’ll only be able to access any necessary healthcare while you’re in the Republic of Ireland. That means anything that can’t wait till you get back home.
  • Trip cancellation or curtailment – cancellation cover allows you to claim back costs for transport, accommodation and trips you’ve paid for in advance, if you have to cancel or cut short your trip due to one of the reasons specified in your policy. That’s why it’s so important to lock in your policy as soon as you book a break.
  • Flight cancellations and delays – standard travel insurance should cover you if your flights to Ireland get cancelled or delayed due to unforeseen reasons such as a national disaster, or if you need to cancel for reasons like illness or bereavement.
  • Luggage cover – you can claim up to a specified maximum amount to replace your possessions if your bags are lost by the airline, stolen or damaged. Compare policies before you buy to see the maximum amount they’ll pay out for a claim and how much they’ll pay per item – known as the single item limit – to make sure the cover suits your needs.
  • Coronavirus cover – special COVID-19 cover is available on some travel insurance policies to cover unforeseen circumstances such as cancellation, testing positive before your trip and having to take action, and medical care, if you get sick with COVID-19 while you’re away. When you compare travel insurance quotes with us you can click on the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page to easily compare COVID-19 cover.

What won’t Ireland travel insurance cover?

Here are some common exclusions to be aware of when you’re travelling to Ireland:

  • Accidents, injuries or loss of personal possessions that happen when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol are unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance. Something to bear in mind when you’re enjoying a cold Guinness or sampling the local whiskey. Enjoy, by all means. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions – some policies will exclude treatment for certain medical conditions. But fear not, when you compare with us, we’ll only show you policies that cover you for any medical conditions you declare, without exclusions.
  • Natural disasters – although Ireland isn’t known for particularly extreme weather (besides a lot of rain), there’s a chance your travel plans could be affected by stormy weather. Look out for any mention of travel disruption cover, natural catastrophe cover or extreme weather events in your policy terms.
  • Terrorism – although there haven’t been any recent terrorist attacks in Ireland, they can’t be ruled out so it’s worth noting that some travel insurance policies will exclude claims that arise due to terrorism.

What type of travel insurance do I need for Ireland?

If you’re travelling for less than 30 days, your trip will be covered by a single trip policy. On the other hand, if you’re going to be travelling a lot in a year annual multi-trip policy may be more cost-effective.

Remember that if you’re travelling for work, you must select business travel when you compare quotes. Otherwise your policy provider may not pay out if you need to make a claim.

If you’re planning on doing any water sports while you’re in Ireland, then you may need a higher level of cover. Likewise, if you’re planning on any climbing, caving or other extreme sports, you’ll often need to pay extra to make sure your policy covers them.

If you’re heading for a golfing holiday in Ireland, and we can well see why you might, consider adding golf cover to your policy. It can protect your clubs from theft or damage and cover your green fees if you’re unable to play due to bad weather or illness.

Do I need a visa for Ireland?

If you’re a UK citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Ireland. You technically don’t even need to show your passport to enter the country because Ireland belongs to the Common Travel Area (CTA), along with the UK. You’ll have to show photographic ID, though, and in some cases proof of nationality too, so probably best to take your passport – if it’s valid.

More details about the entry requirements for Ireland can be found on the GOV.UK website, including rules on COVID-19 vaccines and testing.

Do I need a GHIC or EHIC in Ireland?

If you’re visiting the Republic of Ireland (ROI), you won’t need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to access state healthcare services – as you would in most other European countries – but if you don’t have one, you’ll need other proof that you’re a UK resident. You can show your UK driving licence, alongside your passport, or similar documentation as proof of UK residency.

Bear in mind that although you won’t have to pay for medical expenses in an emergency, you’ll still have to pay for any routine GP visits, like many Irish residents.

Any other tips for travel to Ireland?

  • Weather – Ireland has a mild but damp climate. It’s part of the reason Ireland is such a beautiful destination. Just bear it in mind when packing.
  • Transport – a word to the wise, buses don’t stop in Ireland, even at the designated bus stops, unless you flag them down.
  • Safety – Ireland is considered a safe place to travel but you should still be wary of pickpocketing and bag theft when you’re out and about, especially in Dublin.
  • Shops – shops and restaurants may have more limited opening hours on Sundays than you’re used to, so make sure you check and plan ahead.
  • Currency – the Republic of Ireland’s currency is the euro. However, if you cross into Northern Ireland, the currency is pound sterling.
  • Get a heritage card – this really is a top tip. You can get a heritage card for a one-off fee and use it to access many of the country’s castles, national parks, heritage sites and war memorial gardens, rather than paying a separate entry fee each time. You can buy these cards online or pick one up once you get to Ireland from an Office of Public Works (OPW) visitor centre.
  • Culture – Ireland has a lot of traditions and customs such as Irish dancing, Gaelic sports and a big pub culture. You can also expect a real buzz if you’re visiting for St Patrick’s Day on 17 March. You may never look at the colour green in the same way again...

Where can I compare travel insurance quotes? 

We can help you easily compare cheap travel insurance quotes so you can see what’s out there and find the right cover for your trip to Ireland. You could find single trip travel insurance from £5.49 for one week in Europe[1].

Compare single trip travel insurance

[1] Based on Compare the Market data for a single trip travel policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe for 1 week. Prices correct as of December 2023.

Frequently asked questions

Can I take my pet on holiday to Ireland?

Since Brexit, there have been changes to the rules about bringing pets into Ireland from the UK. Your dog or cat will now need a health certificate from a vet, and you’ll need to comply with regulations on rabies vaccinations, microchipping and tapeworm treatments before travelling. You’ll also only be able to enter Ireland through certain ports of entry with your pet. Speak to your vet before you travel to make sure you have all the right documentation in place. Do so well in advance as these processes can take a while.

Can I visit a GP while I’m in Ireland?

You can visit a GP while you’re in Ireland, but many UK visitors don’t realise that unless you’re a resident and you have a medical card or GP card, you’ll have to pay for the service. A trip to the GP typically costs €40-70 per visit, but there are no set fees.

Can I drive while I’m on holiday in Ireland?

You’ll need valid car insurance if you want to drive your own car in Ireland and you may want to consider adding on European breakdown cover. Unlike in other European destinations though, you don’t need a UK sticker on your number plate to drive in Ireland. If you’re planning on hiring a car for your holiday, you can often arrange insurance through the rental company too.

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