With so many types of travel insurance and levels of cover on offer, it’s difficult to know which is best. Here’s how to find the right cover for your holiday or trip abroad.
Whether you’re planning a family package holiday, a short city break, or a long haul adventure - you’ll want a travel policy that gives you peace of mind.
We’ll explain your travel insurance choices and provide tips for finding the best travel policy to fit your individual needs.
You need to find a travel policy that’s the right fit for you and your trip, so to start, you’ll need to consider things like:
Travel insurance providers in Ireland tend to offer the choice of:
Some insurers also offer senior travel insurance specifically for the over 65s. Read our guide How to get travel insurance as you get older for an in-depth look at what’s available in Ireland and how to get the best price.
Other types we’ve seen are golf travel insurance, long-stay cover and COVID-19 cover.
One of the most commonly asked questions is whether to buy single trip or annual travel cover. Annual multi-trip cover is more expensive than single trip insurance but could work out cheaper if you travel often.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide.
A single trip policy insures you for one booked holiday or business trip abroad. Most policies cover trips up to 30 days long, but some offer cover for up to 60 days.
An annual or multi-trip policy insures you for all the trips you make in a year.
Each policy sets a maximum duration for each trip (usually 30 to 60 days) and a combined total number of days you can be away for over the year (around 180 days).
Always choose a policy that covers the longest trip you’ll be making in the year by checking the maximum duration policy details.
If you have more than two trips planned, it’s usually cheaper to get an annual policy, but your age and medical history may affect the price.
With annual cover, you’ll be covered for any nights away in Ireland, too, as long as you’ve pre-booked your accommodation.
If you plan to travel outside of Europe & the UK or are unsure of your travel plans for the coming year, choose an annual policy covering worldwide destinations.
It’s an insurance policy designed for travellers on a long trip or holiday abroad.
Most standard travel policies only offer cover for up to 30 days per trip, but some will cover you for up to 60 days. With a backpacker policy, you can get cover for up to two years.
Most backpacker policies group destinations by region, so you can choose where you’re going, for example, Europe, Asia or Worldwide.
You can also opt for multiple regions without taking out a separate policy for each one, perfect if you’re exploring several destinations in one trip.
If you’re planning a holiday or trip that will last for more than a month, then backpacker cover could be the best choice for you - it’s also well suited to specific groups, including:
However, backpacker policies often have a lower maximum age limit than standard policies, sometimes as low as 35, so you should always check this.
Backpacker insurance offers the same cover as a normal travel policy, including:
Some Irish backpacker policies offer extras to cater to students or for long term travel, for example:
These extras differ from one insurer to another, so always check exactly what’s included with each policy and what you have to pay extra for.
It’s a travel insurance policy that includes extra protection for activities like skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing.
Some standard travel insurance policies exclude these activities because they’re high risk, and the cost of medical care on the slopes can be very expensive.
You can add winter sports insurance to both single trip and annual policies], but yearly policies usually limit the total number of days you’ll be covered for, so always check this.
For example, an annual insurance policy may only include 14 days of winter sports each year as standard, so if you’re planning a long trip or several ski breaks, look out for this.
On top of the cover you get from a standard travel policy, you’ll also get extra protection for things like:
It’s a travel insurance policy covering your whole family, so you don’t need to take out individual policies.
A family policy is often cheaper than taking out separate cover for each person, plus some insurers let you add children to your policy for free.
It will cover everything a standard travel policy covers, plus you can include two adults and your dependent children under 18.
Some insurers may restrict the number of children or adults you can include, so if you have:
As with individual policies, you must declare any pre-existing medical conditions any of your family have before getting a quote. Certain conditions mean you won’t be covered, so separate cover could be the best option.
If any of your children are due to go on school trips abroad, check if they’re covered to travel without the rest of the family, some policies offer this as standard, but others don’t.
Firstly, check what your home insurance and private health insurance policies already cover you for and whether you have travel insurance through your credit card or current account. If so, make sure it offers enough cover for your trip.
Most insurers offer three levels of cover for each type of policy, ranging from basic, which is the cheapest, to premium, which is the most expensive.
Premium policies offer higher cover limits, and they tend to cover you for more eventualities.
Don’t scrimp on essentials like medical expenses but don’t pay extra for cover you don’t need.
For example, a premium policy often includes cover for winter sports which is of no use to you if you’re going on a sunny holiday to Spain.
The excess is the amount you agree to pay towards a claim, so the higher the excess, the cheaper the policy is likely to be. A basic level policy may have an excess of around €150, which is the amount you’d have to pay against most claims.
Some premium travel insurance policies offer zero excess, so you won’t have to pay anything if you make a claim. Spending a few more euro upfront for a premium policy could save you money if you had to make a claim.
Look at the policy as a whole, not just the excess, to ensure it offers the cover you need.
Once you’ve worked out what type of policy you need, it’s time to shop around, but picking the right policy can be tricky with so many insurers to choose from.
Here are some pointers to help you compare the cover:
The bottom line is there isn’t one travel insurer or policy in Ireland that’s best, but you need to find a policy that’s the best fit for your trip and circumstances.
Here are three simple steps to make that happen:
For more information about buying travel insurance in Ireland, how to claim, and holiday consumer rights, visit our Complete guide to travel insurance.
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