If you are travelling, you should consider getting travel insurance. It can cover you against losses such as:
- damaged or delayed luggage
- cancelled flights
- delayed or missed departure
- loss or theft of money or passport
- illness or injury
Many policies also include the cost of an emergency return flight if a close relative of yours dies.
The insurance company must ask you all relevant questions in the application process. These questions must be in plain language and easy to understand. You must answer all questions. You may not be able to claim if you have not been truthful when you filled out your medical information.
What types of travel insurance policies are available?
You can choose between many different types of policies such as:
- single trip insurance
- multi trip (or annual) policies
- 65+ travel insurance
- backpacker travel insurance
- business travel insurance
You can buy insurance as an individual, as a couple, or as part of a family. While some companies do not offer insurance for consumers over the age of 65, there are specialist companies that do offer this insurance. Sometimes travel insurance is included as part of other products you buy, such as credit cards, so be sure to check this.
Is it better to buy insurance from your travel agent or another provider?
Travel agents and tour operators often sell travel insurance as part of a package. You do not have to take this insurance, but they can insist on you having a certain level of cover in place to take a package holiday.
You may be able to get better value by buying your travel insurance from another provider. This is worth considering if you will need travel insurance again later in the year.
What cover do you get on your travel insurance?
Travel insurance may cover certain medical costs, delays or cancellations. Policy terms and conditions differ between providers, so always check before you buy. If you are not clear about any terms and conditions, contact your provider before you travel.
Check the level of protection each policy offers and ask yourself:
Do you need extra specialist cover?
How much excess do you have to pay if you make a claim?
Are there any restrictions or exclusions to travel insurance?
Generally, if something is not specified, it is not covered – but always check your policy or ask your provider, especially if you are worried about particular risks.
Many travel insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions that happen when you are abroad, unless you tell the insurer in advance and they accept that risk. They may place an extra premium on your policy, but if you do not tell them the truth, any claim you may make will not be valid. Your provider may refuse you cover for certain illnesses.
If you travel against a doctor’s advice, you may not be covered under your insurance.
Some policies offer options to include some non-standard items on your policy, for an extra cost. Generally speaking, you will not be covered under an existing policy if you travel to an area of political unrest, or if you travel to an area against the advice of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.
What happens if something goes wrong before the holiday and it needs to be cancelled?
If you need to cancel your holiday before you go, check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy. You will have to meet the conditions of the policy before you can claim. This is why it’s important to consider this when you are buying insurance.
What happens if the airline/tour operator goes out of business?
Before you book, check that your tour operator is a fully bonded company, licensed by the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
If a fully bonded company licensed by the Commission for Aviation Regulation goes out of business, then the Commission can act. They will assess your claim for a refund or they will arrange to get you home if you are stranded abroad or experience significant delays. You can get more information on your rights in our travel section.
You may also have some cover if you book your trip on your credit card. Check the terms and conditions of your credit card.
How do I make a claim?
Making a travel insurance claim
Know what procedures you have to follow when abroad. The terms and conditions of travel insurance policies can differ across providers. Some policies will have very specific instructions to follow when you are abroad. This could affect you if you need to make a claim when you get home.
Some policies, for example, will insist that you get translated police reports within a timeline. Many may need you to contact their medical/emergency helpline as soon as possible after the event in order for your claim to be accepted. Read your policy before you travel so you are aware of these conditions in advance, as you never know when you will need to make a claim.
Keep all documents and claim as soon as possible when you get home. Make sure you keep all documents and receipts that support your claim. You should send in your claim as soon as you can, as there may be a time limit for making claims.
Other types of claims
If you are a European resident and
- your flight is delayed, or
- cancelled, or
- you are denied boarding,
then you have the right to some compensation (EC Regulation 261/2004). You can get more information in our travel section.
- An insurance company cannot refuse to pay a claim if you make a genuine mistake and give inaccurate or incomplete information when applying. However, where you give fraudulent information in the application process, the insurance company can cancel the policy and avoid paying a claim.
- An insurance company cannot automatically refuse a claim on the basis that the claim was not notified to them within the timeframes set out in the policy document if it does not negatively impact them.
Last updated on 7 April 2022