Do you need travel insurance?

Travel insurance gives you vital financial protection should something go wrong on your holiday. Here’s a closer look at what it offers and whether it’s worth paying for.

What is travel insurance?

It’s an insurance policy that protects you from expensive costs if, for example, you’re seriously ill while abroad or need to cancel your trip at short notice.

Cover can start from less than €6 for a single trip and could save you thousands, or in some cases even millions of euro if you have an accident or fall ill abroad.

What does it cover?

A decent travel insurance policy should include:

  • Emergency medical cover: which pays for the cost of medical treatment if you fall ill overseas. This also covers repatriation costs to get you home to Ireland if you’re not well enough to travel on a standard flight.
  • Personal accident cover: which pays you a lump sum if you have a serious accident on your holiday resulting in life changing injuries, for example losing a limb or your sight.
  • Cancellation cover: which pays out if you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances, for example if you or a family member are seriously ill or you’re made redundant after you book.
  • Luggage cover: which pays out the cost of replacing lost or stolen luggage and for essential items to tide you over if your baggage is delayed at the airport.
  • Travel money & documents cover: which covers your foreign currency including cash like U.S. dollars or British pounds. This also covers your travel documents and your passport in case they’re lost or stolen on your trip.
  • Personal liability cover: which protects you financially in case you cause an accident or injure someone else while abroad.

Without travel insurance you could be left to foot a bill that could quickly run into the thousands of euro, for example, the cost of repatriation from Australia to Ireland is estimated to be between $8,000 - $16,000.

You can also add extra cover to include things like:

  • Winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding
  • Extreme sports, for example scuba diving or paragliding
  • Golf equipment & bookings, including your clubs and green fees if you’re injured or too ill to play

What about the EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card gives you healthcare protection across the EU, meaning you can access health care for free or at a reduced rate.

If you’re travelling to Europe you should definitely get an EHIC before you leave - you can apply for a free EHIC on the Health Service Executive website.

However, while the EHIC offers valuable protection it’s nowhere near as comprehensive as a dedicated travel insurance policy as it only applies to healthcare costs.

Travel insurance would also protect you financially in other ways, including:

  • If you had to cancel your trip due to illness or unforeseen circumstances
  • If your travel money was stolen while on holiday
  • If you accidentally hurt someone and they decided to sue you

What if I have private medical insurance?

Even if your existing medical insurance covers you abroad, a comprehensive travel insurance policy can offer financial protection in other areas, for example if you need to cancel your trip or your travel money is stolen (as seen above).

The good news is that many travel insurers in Ireland offer a discount on your quote if your medical insurance covers you abroad, which could make your travel insurance even cheaper.

Travel insurance FAQs

Do you need special travel cover if you're pregnant?

Most travel insurance policies will cover you to travel in the early stages of pregnancy, but you should always check how far into the pregnancy the cover will last. For example, you may be covered to travel up to 32 weeks into your pregnancy but not beyond this date. If you fall pregnant after taking out a travel insurance policy and will be at a late stage in your pregnancy when you’re due to travel, you may be able to claim for cancellation.

Is travel insurance necessary for Europe?

It isn’t a legal requirement to have travel insurance for trips to Europe, but a good policy will offer valuable protection, especially if you need to cancel your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances.

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