Travel insurance for Ireland

Get cover for your trip so you can kick back and enjoy the craic.

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Do UK citizens need travel insurance for Ireland?

Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI).

Wherever you’re going in Ireland, it’s advisable to get travel insurance to cover you for anything unexpected that may happen on your trip.

A trip to hospital, cancelled holiday or a stolen suitcase is an expense that you could do without, but the right policy will step in and cover the cost. Otherwise you’d have to pay for it yourself.

Ireland travel insurance

Republic of Ireland

ROI is in the European Union (EU). Under the Common Travel Area agreement, UK visitors have access to necessary healthcare when visiting Ireland. You’ll need proof of UK residency and photo ID – that could be your driving licence and European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or its replacement the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), to access public healthcare there.

You won’t be entitled to all health costs though, including private medical care - and that’s where travel insurance can step in. It can also cover the cost of emergency repatriation to the UK, should that be necessary.

Northern Ireland

As it’s part of the UK, you’re covered by the NHS if you fall ill in NI. So, while you may not need to make a claim for public healthcare costs, travel insurance will protect you in lots of other ways.

For example, it can pay to bring you home early if you’re seriously ill. And it can reimburse the cost of your holiday if you have to cancel your trip beforehand because of something like an illness or family emergency.

You’re also covered for lost or stolen luggage and if someone sues you for causing injury to them or damaging their property.

What type of travel insurance do I need for Ireland?

To travel to ROI you’ll need a European travel insurance policy. For a holiday in NI, a UK travel policy will be enough.

You can choose from:

Single-trip travel insurance

If your trip to Ireland is the only holiday you’ll take this year, a single-trip policy will be enough.

More about single-trip travel insurance

Annual multi-trip travel insurance

This type of policy covers all the trips you take in one year, whether they’re in the UK or abroad. If you plan on going away a few times a year, it can work out cheaper to buy an annual policy rather than several single-trip policies.

With a multi-trip policy there’ll be a limit on the number of days you can be away for each trip - usually between about 20 and 60 days.

More about annual multi-trip travel insurance

What will Ireland travel insurance cover?

Depending on the provider and level of cover you choose, you should look for a travel insurance policy that includes:

  1. Medical expenses

    For medicines and/or hospital treatment

  2. Repatriation

    Covers the cost of getting you home if an illness or accident necessitates it

  3. Cancelling or cutting short your trip

    You’ll be compensated if you need to cancel before you go or cut your trip short because of things like illness or a family bereavement, for example

  4. Lost or delayed luggage, passports and possessions

    Helps pay for the cost of replacement items

  5. Personal liability cover

    Cover if you’re liable to pay damages to someone for injuring them or damaging their property on your trip

What won’t travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance won’t cover everything. Typical exclusions include:

  1. Travelling against FCDO advice

    If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) warns against all travel, or all but essential travel, to your holiday destination, you normally won’t be covered by travel insurance

  2. Changing your mind about taking the trip

    In insurance terms, this is called disinclination to travel, and insurers won’t pay out if that’s why you cancel

  3. Alcohol and non-prescription drugs

    You’re not covered if you have an accident because alcohol or non-prescription drugs impair your judgement or physical ability

  4. Undeclared medical conditions

    Medical treatment for a pre-existing condition you failed to tell your insurer about might not be covered

  5. Extreme sports

    A standard policy won’t insure you for dangerous activities - you’ll need extra cover for risky sports. Check what’s included in your policy documents

Healthcare in Ireland

In NI, healthcare is provided through the NHS, so the majority of care is free.

In ROI, healthcare is delivered through public and private healthcare. Residents who are entitled to a means-tested medical card or GP visit card get some services for free, including GP visits and public hospital visits. Otherwise, people must pay for them.

Foreign travel advice for Ireland

Wherever you go on holiday, it’s wise to check government advice before travelling.

FCDO provides up-to-date information and travel advice, including current entry requirements, safety and security issues and any incidents that may affect travel.

In cases where the FCDO formally advises British people against all but essential travel or all travel to a particular place, then travel insurance won’t usually provide cover if you decide to travel anyway.

Frequently asked questions

UK nationals don’t need a visa to visit Ireland.

The rules for taking a pet to Ireland from the UK have changed since Brexit.

GB pet passports are no longer valid and instead you need a health certificate from your vet, signed and stamped by an official veterinarian who has authority from the government to issue it.

Your dog or cat must also be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and should have received tapeworm treatment from a vet between one and five days before you arrive in Ireland.

You’ll be allowed to enter Ireland only at the following ports and airports and should inform them by email of your arrival in advance:

Dublin airport, Dublin port, Shannon airport, Cork airport, Ringaskiddy port, Cork and Rosslare Europort.

You’ll undergo a compliance check when you arrive.

Yes, but GP services in ROI aren’t free. You can expect to pay from around 45 to 65 euros to see a GP.

Yes, you can use a UK prescription to get medicines from pharmacies in Ireland as long as it contains certain information. You’ll be charged in full for the medicines.

Yes, you’ll need to hold a valid driver’s licence and have motor insurance.

A UK policy should cover you but check with your car insurance provider that no extra cover is required to drive in Ireland.

If you’re taking your own car to Ireland, it’s a good idea to have breakdown cover in place. UK breakdown cover is valid for NI, but you’ll need a separate European breakdown cover policy if you’re travelling to ROI from the UK.

As Ireland is a member of the Common Travel Area, British nationals don’t require a passport to visit NI or the ROI. But you’ll need to show ID on entry and immigration officers may also ask for proof of nationality. So it’s best to take your passport with you anyway.

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Page last reviewed: 15 May 2023

Page reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

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