Travel insurance & health – Department of Foreign Affairs

quick tips

  • Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
  • Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you leave.
  • bring enough medication for your stay and extra in case of delays.
  • if you travel within the eu, renew or apply for a european health insurance card.
  • get informed about any specific health risks in the country you are visiting.

travel insurance

We cannot pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or expenses arising from a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you purchase a suitable travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you have not breached the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the health care you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into the thousands, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Reading: Travel insurance ireland

Not all policies are created equal, and the cheapest one can be cheap for a reason. make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. insurance ireland recommends that you buy a policy that offers a minimum medical cover of 1 million euros.

emergency expenses

Your policy must cover:

  • all medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected extended stay.
  • your entire trip, from the departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip a year.
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • personal liability coverage (in case you are sued for causing injury or property damage).
  • lost and stolen possessions .
  • cancellation and restriction.
  • any additional activities you intend to engage in that are excluded from the standard policies (for example, water sports activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports (see comprehensive water safety tips from water safety ireland here).
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exclusions: You should know that most insurance policies will not cover drinking or drug related incidents.

European health card (ehic)

As an Irish resident, you are entitled to medical care through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured during a temporary stay there. Make sure you get or renew your ehic (the new name for the e111) before you travel, and remember you need one for each person traveling in your group.

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request your ehic and get more information.

the ehic is not a substitute for adequate travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. it does not cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment. Also, some private hospitals may not accept ICHS, so check with your hospital administrator beforehand.

Vaccinations

Check with a doctor which vaccines you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. More information on vaccinations can be found on the hse website.

proof of vaccination (in the form of a certificate) may be required to enter some countries.

medications

Be sure to bring enough medication for the entire trip and for any unexpected delays. Bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication, or in case you are asked to justify why you have certain medications at a point of entry (airport, port, land border, etc.).

Please note that not all over-the-counter medicines available in Ireland are legal in other countries, and find out before you go. check with the nearest embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit if you are not sure which medications you can take with you.

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waterborne diseases

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Waterborne diseases, such as cholera and dysentery, are common in some countries. check with a healthcare professional before traveling to assess what precautions you may need to take, follow local advice on good practice, and use bottled water or boil water as needed.

mosquito-borne diseases

If you’re traveling to a destination where mosquitoes are a problem, you’ll need to take precautions against mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. before travelling, get medical advice about antimalarial drugs.

These simple tips can greatly reduce your risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease:

  1. Find out from local people when local mosquitoes are most likely to bite.
  2. Avoid areas where mosquitoes are likely to congregate (i.e. standing water).
  3. wear appropriate clothing: long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots and socks.
  4. protect your room: mosquito bites can be reduced with air conditioning, mosquito nets, etc.
  5. protect your bed: mosquito nets and mosquito nets should be used if rooms do not have adequate screens or air conditioning.
  6. use insect repellents: the centers for disease control and prevention recommends the use of deet as mosquito repellant, even by pregnant women. be sure to a) use it sparingly, and b) wash it when you are away from the risk of mosquito bites, as it is a chemical that is applied to the skin.

hiv and aids

HIV is spread from one person to another through the direct exchange of body fluids. The best way to prevent hiv and other sexually transmitted infections is to limit bodily contact by practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.

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If you suspect you have been exposed, you should seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes it is possible to stop the development of hiv in the first 72 hours after exposure. this is known as post-exposure prophylaxis (pep). pep involves taking anti-hiv drugs for four weeks. pep is not guaranteed to work, and the drugs used cause some unpleasant side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.

more information about pep and hiv/aids is available on the hse website

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