Ireland doesn’t require travel insurance for U.S. visitors. But coverage for medical events, trip cancellations and rental cars can save you from losing money to sunk costs and expensive medical bills. The U.S. Embassy warns that U.S. health insurance may not work in Ireland, and you may have to pay healthcare expenses upfront.
Travel to Ireland often requires connecting flights. A delay or cancellation could have a snowball effect, causing you to miss the next leg of your journey or lose hotel reservations. Strong Atlantic storms or ash from volcanic eruptions in neighboring Iceland could halt flights. Trip cancellation insurance accounts for these unexpected events.
Finally, despite good driving infrastructure, Irish roads compared to U.S. roads are narrow and winding, which may challenge many American tourists. It’s a smart reason for taking car rental insurance.
Here are the five travel insurance policy types to consider when planning an Ireland getaway.
Cancel for Any Reason Coverage
As its name suggests, cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage pays for a trip if it gets canceled without explanation. This is important because standard trip cancellation insurance covers cancellations only if they fall into specific categories.
With a standard policy, insurers offer reimbursement if the cancellation is beyond your control. Scheduling conflicts, such as a family event or a change in relationship status with your traveling companion, won’t qualify for coverage.
CFAR coverage lets you cancel for reasons that are excluded in standard cancellation policies and still receive compensation. It can prove useful for trips to Ireland planned well in advance because it protects against conflicts that come up between your booking date and departure date.
Gear Theft Protection
Travel insurance plans often include a modest amount of coverage for lost luggage or theft. But these policies have limited payouts for gear theft. If you have a valuable phone, camera, computer or other device, insurance may not cover its full value.
According to the U.S. Department of State, theft rates in Ireland have increased in recent years, and tourists are often targets. So adding gear theft coverage could be a good idea.
Medical Emergency Insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation
Injuries, accidents and illnesses happen anywhere. Medical emergencies are especially stressful when you are traveling in an unfamiliar country. If you are hurt or ill, you will have to seek treatment from a hospital or medical clinic. This type of travel insurance covers those bills.
According to the State Department, Ireland has excellent healthcare facilities capable of providing emergency assistance and quality treatment. Unless your private medical insurance works internationally or you’re eligible for coverage through Ireland’s Department of Social Protection, you’ll pay out of pocket for care.
If you purchase travel insurance for medical emergencies, you might want to seek a policy including medical evacuation insurance. This covers the cost of a medical flight back to the U.S. or another location. These policies usually include coverage for repatriation of remains, should you die abroad.
While Ireland has excellent medical care, the State Department warns that waiting for some procedures can be lengthy, so evacuation insurance could help you get faster access to care.
Rental Car Protection
Auto rental companies in Ireland require car insurance. These agencies provide collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage when you rent the vehicle. This basic policy covers damage after a deductible gets paid. Most companies also have a “CDW excess” option with complete, no-deductible coverage.
While you can choose convenient insurance products when renting, you can waive them if you already have coverage. Some premium credit cards automatically insure rental vehicles that get paid with their card. If you have a single-trip itinerary requiring a significant amount of driving, you can purchase a separate rental car policy or find a comprehensive travel insurance plan with vehicle coverage.
Before you purchase rental car protection, check your policy document for your vehicle insurance at home. Some include coverage for rentals. Take these documents with you to Ireland so that a rental car company can verify your coverage.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance covers 100% of the cost of your trip if you cancel for specific reasons. The insurance provider usually pays claims for travel canceled because of a death in the family, jury duty or a court summons, natural disasters or conflict in your destination, verifiable illness occurring before your departure date or military deployment.
Insurers list exclusions, such as scheduling conflicts, non-emergency appointments or falling out with travel companions. Insurers may also consider excluding pre-existing medical conditions. While coverage applies to unexpected illnesses or injuries, it won’t protect for healthcare issues you already know about or illnesses beginning before you bought the policy.
Because of the cost of international travel, trip cancellation insurance is typically a good investment, and it brings peace of mind from knowing unexpected events won’t cause a complete loss of your travel budget.