Wondering whether you should get travel health insurance when you visit Dubai?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a very popular tourist destination, especially Dubai, attracting around 15 million visitors annually. The people are attracted by the lavish and modern architecture, the lively nightlife, malls and the luxury shopping associated with the Emirate.

It is no secret that Dubai, and the UAE in general, can be quite expensive to visit, which is always a good idea to protect yourself and your trip by obtaining adequate insurance coverage beforehand.

Do I Need Dubai Travel Insurance?

Getting travel insurance for Dubai is mandatory only if you need a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates (of which Dubai is a part of). You won’t be able to apply for a visa unless you show proof of having obtained travel insurance.

Click here to get a free quote and purchase a travel health insurance plan that meets the mandatory requirements for visitors to Dubai.

But if you don’t need a visa to enter the UAE – or if you can get a Visa on Arrival – then you are exempt from this requirement.

However, it is always advisable to purchase travel insurance when you travel to a foreign country, even if it’s not mandatory. Especially in a country such as the UAE, where the cost of healthcare can be high. Hospitals may sometimes refuse to offer medical treatment if you do not have health insurance or if you are not able to prove that you can afford the medical expenses.

Do I Need a Visa for the UAE?

If you are from an EU country (excluding the UK and Ireland), then you do not need to apply for a UAE visa. Also exempt from visa requirements are Mexico, Honduras, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Montenegro, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Nauru, Paraguay, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Uruguay, as well as China, Japan, Macau, and Ukraine.

Citizens of the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and more can apply for a Visa on Arrival.

Where Can I Get Travel Health Insurance for Dubai (UAE)?

You can get travel health insurance for Dubai and the UAE via a travel insurance company in your country or through comparison marketplaces like Insubuy. At Insubuy you can also compare different insurance policies, and settle on one that suits your needs the best.

When buying a travel insurance policy, keep the following in mind:

  • Buy it early. Travel insurance should be one of the first things you get once you book a trip. Especially if your deposits are non-refundable and you are traveling to a country such as the UAE, where accommodation can be quite costly. If you need to cancel, then you will receive some if not all your money back.
  • Research and compare different policies online.
  • Read the entire policy, including the fine print, very carefully. Although it can be tiresome and boring, knowing exactly how much coverage you have will save you from unexpected costs if you do need to make a claim.

What Should Travel Medical Insurance for Dubai Include?

When you buy travel medical insurance for Dubai, make sure you find a policy which covers at least these basics:

  • Medical emergencies. Find a policy that offers cover for emergency medical care, such as the ambulance and ER, surgical procedures, doctor’s visit, hospitalization, and the cost of medicine.
  • Trip disruption. Since a trip to the UAE is very likely expensive, then you should get coverage for any non-refundable reservations or deposits that you have made. If something does occur that can lead to cancellation, you want to make sure that at least part of your expenses can be recovered.
  • Coverage for loss of personal belonging.
  • Coverage for emergency evacuation or repatriation of mortal remains. In case you need to be evacuated to your home country.

Compare the available travel health insurance plans for Dubai here.

What Additional Coverage Should I Get?

In addition, you can choose to get additional coverage for things like:

  • Expensive items/technology, which are usually not included in standard policies. Even if you have baggage insurance, most companies will exclude expensive items, such as laptops, cameras, jewellery, or designer clothes.
  • If there is an event of terrorism during your trip, you can get cover for any medical expenses or other losses related to it.
  • Personal/legal liability, in case any of your actions during the trip cause bodily injury to someone or damage someone’s property. The insurance policy will cover a portion of the medical bills.
  • Adventurous activities or sports.

Will My UAE Travel Medical Insurance Cover All My Activities?

That depends on what you will be doing. Travel insurance, as a default, usually excludes activities that can be considered high-risk. And there are a lot of high-risk adventurous activities you can do in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE that might not be covered. For example, a standard travel health insurance policy may not offer coverage for activities such as skydiving, dune bashing, scuba diving, car racing, (indoor) skiing, etc.

If you intend to engage in such activities, then you should ask your insurance providers whether it is possible to purchase additional coverage for them. A policy that offers coverage for high-risk activities will cost more, and there are still some activities that will not be covered.

Your UAE insurance will not cover you if you:

  • Get into an accident/become injured while engaging in a high-risk activity that is not included in your policy
  • Get into an accident/become injured while you are drunk
  • Get into an accident/become injured due to your own recklessness
  • Have a doctor’s check-up for pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Lose or damage your belongings due to your own recklessness (e.g. if you leave them out of sight)
  • Miss your flight or need to cancel for a reason that is not included in your policy.

Is Dubai Travel Insurance Expensive?

The cost of travel insurance for the UAE depends on a few factors:

  • The duration of your trip.
  • How much coverage you want.
  • When you buy it.
  • Your age.
  • How many people are included in your plan.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay somewhere between 4% to 10% of your trip for your travel insurance. Learn more about the prices of Dubai travel health insurance plans here.

Is Healthcare Expensive in the UAE for Tourists?

The UAE is known for having a great healthcare system, so if you fall ill or get into an accident there, you will be well taken care of. However, except for UAE citizens, healthcare is not free. In fact, medical costs are quite high if you do not have some form of health insurance.

So, if you are debating whether to get travel health insurance, remember that the extra cost of the insurance policy is only a fraction of what you may have to pay in case you need medical assistance.

Are There Any Risks to Visiting Dubai?

Crime-wise, the UAE s a relatively safe place to visit. There are low crime rates and tourists are rarely affected by either violent or petty crime, such as pickpocketing.

What Laws Should I Be Aware of Before Visiting Dubai?

However, it is worth noting that the laws and social rules in the UAE are much stricter than in Western countries. Even if you do not have to be wary of crime, you must take care to not break the law and face trouble with authorities.

Things that people in Western cultures consider normal can be frowned upon in the UAE and even illegal. This includes dressing “immodestly”, swearing in public (even online) or making rude gestures, eating in public transport (or eating anywhere in public during Ramadan), public displays of affection (especially unmarried or same-sex couples), criticizing the government, fundraising, taking pictures of other people without their permission, or pictures of road accidents, military buildings, palaces, or courts, etc.

Breaking these laws can result in a hefty fine at best or even arrest and jail time. So, make sure you read up on the UAE laws before you travel and follow them.