It's a long, long way to Tipperary. Make sure you have the right travel insurance for Ireland.
In 2011 Ireland it took home “favourite holiday destination in the world” as voted by readers of Frommer’s travel guides, won the “world’s friendliest country” award by Lonely Planet, and in 2014, Ireland actually received more tourists than there are people living in the country.
The Emerald Isle is a relatively safe place compared to others, but travel insurance is highly recommended for all travellers no matter the destination. Finding a policy that suits you means you’re protected against a range of common travel risks, and can enjoy more convenience and peace of mind on your vacation, as well as being protected in the unlikely event of a medical emergency.
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Ireland is not considered an especially dangerous country, and the Australian government only advises travellers to only take usual common-sense precautions, including picking out a suitable travel insurance policy before leaving.
Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
Ireland is a particularly good destination for Australians thanks to the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), which means that as long as you’re eligible for Medicare in Australia, you can also enjoy a certain extent of similar cover in Ireland. The RHCA with Ireland offers you low-cost, but not entirely free, public hospital treatments in Ireland, but does not cover prescription medicines, private medical treatments or other costs related to medical emergencies. If you experience a medical emergency in Ireland then you will most likely require a travel insurance policy to cover certain costs, or risk being left with potentially extreme out of pocket expenses.
Cover of medical expenses is often considered the core component of travel insurance, but it can also help with delayed flights, lost luggage, stolen valuables and much more.
Top five travel concerns for Ireland
- Theft. Petty theft, including pickpocketing and break-ins occur in Ireland. Rental cars in particular may be targeted, especially in Dublin and tourist areas.
- Fraud. Credit card fraud, ATM scams and skimming are becoming more common in Ireland. Avoid ATMs with suspicious items stuck to them, or if they otherwise look unusual
- Civil unrest. Protests and demonstrations may turn violent, particularly those associated with Northern Ireland. Monitor local media, follow the instructions of local authorities and try to steer clear of civil unrest.
- Road travel. The narrow and winding roads in rural areas may pose a risk for inexperienced drivers, particularly at night, or where farm animals or machinery are involved. The conditions in urban areas are generally adequate, but local drivers may not always follow regulations.
- Weather events. Inclement weather can accentuate the risks of poorly maintained roads, and while the Republic of Ireland is not particularly at risk of specific natural hazards, the weather may change quickly and you should ensure you have packed appropriately for your destination.
Compare policies by benefits offers as well as cost, and pick out the types of protection you want on you trip. Options include:
- Overseas medical expenses. The cover offered by the RHCA is limited, and travel insurance can offer a considerably more effective level of protection, including of medical repatriation and private hospital treatments. In the words of the Australian government, “Reciprocal Health Care Agreements aren’t designed to replace private travel insurance.”
- Luggage and personal effects. This key benefit provides financial protection when your luggage and personal belongings are stolen, lost or damaged. You’ll be covered either for their repair or their replacement.
- Luggage delay. When an airline or transport provider misplaces your luggage, you’ll be granted an allowance to buy emergency toiletries and clothes.
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits. If circumstances beyond your control force you to cancel your trip, such as the illness of a family member, you’ll be covered for the cost of any cancellation fees you incur and non-refundable pre-paid deposits.
- Travel delay. When your prepaid transport is delayed for more than a minimum period of time, your travel insurance policy will reimburse you for the cost of meals, transfers and accommodation that results.
- Theft of cash. When thieves steal cash from your person, the amount of money stolen (up to a certain limit) will be reimbursed.
- Travel documents. The cost of replacing lost or stolen travel documents is included in your policy.
- Personal liability. When you face personal liability claims for causing injury or property damage to a third party, your policy can provide cover of up to $1 million or more.
- Rental vehicle insurance excess. The expensive rental vehicle excess charged in the event of a rental car crash, or even just a small scratch, is a nightmare for many travellers. Travel insurance can cover this cost.
- Other benefits. Many policies will also provide an Accidental Death and Total and Permanent Disability Benefit for injuries suffered during your journey.
Even the most expensive and comprehensive travel insurance policy will come with exclusions, which are conditions where the policy will not pay out.
Your Irish travel insurance policy will typically not cover your claim if:
- Unattended belongings:. You need to take reasonable care to prevent or reduce any loss you may suffer, including keeping an eye on your belongings at all times.
- It results from you being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, except those prescribed by your medical practitioner.
- Risky pastimes: Standard policies will typically not pay out for injuries or loss resulting from your involvement in an adventure activity like bungee jumping or parasailing, or even everyday sports like rugby. Sports travel insurance policies can help with the more common pastimes, while thrill-seekers might want to look for adventure travel insurance. .
- Failure to obey local laws: You are required to comply with all local laws for the duration of your stay.
- Pre-existing conditions: You should inform your insurer of pre-existing conditions where applicable, because that’s how you get them covered. You are generally not covered for pre-existing conditions otherwise.
- Celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Where better to celebrate this annual day of culturally-significant drinking and debauchery than Dublin?
- Marvel at the historic sites and monuments of the Boyne Palace. This World Heritage site features graves dating back some 5,000 years and delivers a truly unique glimpse into European history.
- Drive the Ring of Kerry. This scenic route takes in everything from ancient castles to peaceful villages, rugged coastline and spectacular greenery. If you’re renting a car for the drive, consider going clockwise to avoid getting caught behind tour buses on the narrow roads.
- Killarney National Park. From breathtaking mountain passes to abundant natural wildlife, this national park is deserving of its reputation as one of Ireland’s most scenic areas.
- Head to Galway. Harsh coastline, windswept plains and fantastic pubs - there’s a lot to like about a visit to Galway.
- Explore the Giant’s Causeway. Technically in Northern Ireland, this geological wonder really does have to be seen in person to be fully comprehended.
Australian residents do not require a visa to enter Ireland. You will, however, need a passport valid for at least 6 months after your planned return date.If you plan on working in Ireland you’ll also need a valid work permit if you wish to work during your time in Ireland, while you’ll also need to declare your funds when entering and leaving if you are carrying EUR 10,000 or more. Finally, it’s important to make sure that you have at least six months of validity remaining on your passport following your planned date of return to Australia.
If you find yourself in an emergency in Ireland, some of helpful contacts include:
- You travel insurer. You insurance provider will have an 24/7 helpline for claims and medical emergencies.
- National emergency hotline. You can reach emergency services in Ireland by dialing 112.
- Australian Embassies and Consulates. You can find the contact details of Australian Embassies and Consulates in Ireland below.