If you are planning a trip to Iran, one of the things you will have to prepare ahead of time is your Iranian travel insurance. In fact, in many cases, getting travel insurance for Iran is not really a choice, it’s mandatory.
Is Travel Insurance for Iran Compulsory?
Yes, travel insurance for Iran is compulsory for (nearly) every tourist who requires a visa. Only nationals of the following countries are allowed to enter Iran without a visa and without valid travel insurance:
However, regardless of your nationality and visa requirements, purchasing travel insurance before a trip is always advisable.
Where Can I Get Travel Insurance for Iran?
You can get travel insurance for Iran through one of the following ways:
- Through an international travel insurance company. But, even though there are travel insurance companies everywhere, not all of them offer coverage for Iran, so you have to be sure to find one that does.
- At the airport. If you are eligible for the Iran Visa on Arrival, then you can purchase travel insurance at the designated office/counter at the airport. You can purchase it at the same time you apply for the visa.
Something you must be careful with when purchasing travel insurance for Iran from an international company is that the immigration officers at the port of entry might not accept it if it does not mention Iran. In that case, you would still have to purchase the insurance policy at the airport.
How Much Coverage Should I Get for Iran Travel Insurance?
Seeing as healthcare in Iran is not as expensive as it is in some Western countries, you may not need an excessive policy maximum (for example, in the millions). However, although a lower policy maximum (about $10,000) should be enough to cover any medical expenses you may need to deal with, it will not be enough to cover for things like emergency evacuation or repatriation (i.e. air ambulance). Moreover, if you use the services of a private hospital, the medical costs will be higher and – depending on the treatment – a basic, low policy maximum might not be enough.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how much coverage you are comfortable travelling with. But regardless of the amount of coverage policy, there are some basic features your policy should include.
What Should My Iran Travel Insurance Policy Include?
Any good travel insurance policy for Iran has to include at least the following:
- Coverage for emergency medical expenses. If you get into an accident or become suddenly ill, then your travel insurance covers the costs of medical treatment or emergency services. Dental emergencies are sometimes covered, but not always.
- Coverage for trip disruption. If you have to cancel your trip, miss your flight or your flight is delayed, then your insurance policy will cover all or part your lost expenses related to flight ticket or accommodation.
- Coverage for lost, stolen or damaged luggage.
You can also choose to purchase additional coverage for things like:
- Expensive items or gadgets. Typically, normal policies cover your lost luggage up to a certain amount, but expensive items such as designer clothes or electronic gadgets are excluded.
- Adventurous activities. Travel insurance policies will not always cover activities that are considered high risk. If you want coverage for such activities, you have to purchase it extra.
- Terrorism coverage. For any injuries, losses, or evacuation needed due to a terrorist attack.
- Personal liability. In case any of your actions result in bodily injury or property damages to another person, then the insurance company will pay expenses related to it.
How Much Does Travel Insurance for Iran Cost?
The price of a travel insurance policy for Iran depends mostly on whether your insurer is an international company or an Iran-based company:
- If you purchase from an international company, the price will be higher because the coverage will also be bigger. You may be looking at something like 4-10% of your overall trip costs.
- If you purchase from an Iran-based company (there are many that operate online) or you buy your travel insurance at the Iran airport on arrival, then the policy maximum will be lower (about $10 – $15 for a one-week stay). But, your overall coverage and policy maximum will also be lower.
Additionally, the following factors also affect the price of your travel insurance:
- Your age. Tourists who are older (over 65 years of age) usually have to pay more for travel insurance, simply because of the added risk of complications.
- The time you will spend in Iran. A travel insurance policy for a 5-day stay will be lower than that for a 30-day stay.
- Whether any dependents are included on your policy, such as your spouse or children.
- Whether you choose to get coverage for additional things like adventurous activities or expensive gadgets
Will My Existing Travel Insurance Cover Iran?
Not always. Although you may have worldwide travel insurance, in a lot of cases, insurance companies exclude Iran due to sanctions against the country. Unless your insurance explicitly claims that it covers Iran as well, you should not assume that it does, even if it’s valid for Asia or the Middle East.
Is Healthcare in Iran Good?
The healthcare system in Iran depends mostly on which part of the country you are in. If you are in a large city such as Tehran, then you will likely find that the quality of health centres and hospitals is up to international standards and the hospitals are well-equipped. However, the same cannot be said for rural areas or smaller cities.
There are also private hospitals, which have better service, but which will usually cost more – although not as much as their equivalents in Western countries.
Is Iran Safe to Visit?
Many people consider Iran as one of the safest places to visit – although according to many travel risk indexes, Iran is considered a “moderate risk” level country, same as many other popular tourist destinations like Turkey and Russia.
The people in Iran are known to be nice and hospitable, but it is worth remembering that it is an Islamic country, so different laws and social norms will apply than what you may be used to, especially if you are from a Western country. So you should be respectful and considerate.
Some parts of Iran may present increased risks, such as the Iran/Afghanistan border, the Iran/Iraq border, and the province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
Before you travel to a foreign country you are reprehensible about, you should check with the travel advisories issued by your country’s government.
Is It Safe to Visit Iran as a US Citizen?
If US citizens want to visit Iran, they are obligated to apply for the visa through an Iranian travel agency, a process that can take up to 2 months. The travel agencies are responsible for sending the US tourists on a tour of the country, which means it should be fairly safe.
Still, the Travel Advisory on the U.S. Department of State urges US citizens to avoid travel to Iran, due to “the risk of kidnapping and the arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.”