Since 2011 valid travel insurance has become a condition for obtaining a tourist visa for Iran. This means all international tourists must have travel insurance to gain entry into Iran. Without a printout of your valid insurance certificate, you can’t collect your visa from the embassy or the visa office at the airport.
Buying travel insurance that is valid in Iran is not as easy as it might seem. Read on to find out how to choose the right travel insurance for Iran.
Basically there are three choices for travel insurance:
- Iran travel insurance by an international provider
- Iran travel insurance by an Iranian provider; and
- The airport bought Iran travel insurance.
I discuss the pros and cons of each below.
Travel Insurance for Iran by International Providers
Most travelers will have a preferred provider for travel insurance, perhaps from their own country or a reputable international insurance firm.
Due to sanctions, some travel insurance companies do not provide coverage for travel to Iran. Before going ahead and purchasing from your usual provider be sure to double-check that Iran is on the list of countries that are included in the policy. Although the region, e.g. the Middle East, will be listed to ensure that Iran is not excluded.
Further, the Iranian customs officers will not recognize international travel insurance firms unless the company has offices or connections within Iran. This is once again due to sanctions surrounding international banking systems, Iran cannot easily work with international companies.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be exact rules or reasons to follow here. On my first trip to Iran in 2016, I had taken out a policy with Allianz. Upon my arrival, the visa officers accepted my policy no worries because (at that time) Allianz had an office in Tehran. Some of my fellow travelers had policed with different insurance firms but the customs officers did not accept them. If your internationally bought insurance is rejected, you will be forced to buy a new policy at the airport.
Also check out: Money and Costs: Which Budget to Travel in Iran?
Travel Insurance by an Iranian Provider
Buying your insurance through a local provider is a cheap and easy option. The only downfall is the coverage amounts are less than most international providers.
Travelers can easily obtain local Iranian travel insurance for their holiday in Iran using a third-party provider. 1stQuest sets international travelers up with a policy for the duration of their trip and will provide support, should you need to make a claim.
So how can you get Iranian Travel Insurance with 1stQuest?
It is easy…
Don’t get caught with the wrong insurance. Buying your policy through 1stQuest guarantees your policy’s validity in Iran.
Who is the provider?
1stQuest’s insurance partner is Saman Insurance Company, one of the most renowned and reliable Iranian insurance companies.
What is covered?
When you insure your trip with 1stQuest, you’ll be covered for expenses including but not limited to: emergency medical expenses, emergency return home following death of a close family member or serious illnesses, loss of passport, driving license, national ID card, loss of registered luggage or expenses arising from delay of baggage delivery and legal aid in case of any legal problem.
See full coverage details in the below table:
For more information on the policy and prices visit the 1stQuest website.
Also, check out: Do you need a travel debit card for your Iran trip?
Airport bought travel insurance for Iran
If all else fails, there is an option to purchase travel insurance upon arrival at the International Airport in Tehran. Last I heard, this simple policy costs $16 USD for 30 days. This is a real no frills option.
There are a few issues you might encounter going with this option. Firstly, and probably most importantly, the policy you will be provided with is entirely in Farsi. You will not know what you are covered for or who to contact in need of a claim. Secondly buying this at the airport can add up to an hour onto your waiting time to get processed through customs. Not sure about you but this sounds like hell to me!!
The good news is if you forget to buy insurance you can arrange it last minute upon arrival and still gain entry into Iran.
Also check out: How to get a SIM card in Iran
Pros and Cons
|International Travel Insurance Providers
|May not be accepted as valid by Iranian authorities
May not cover Iran
|Iranian Travel Insurance Provider (arranged through 1stQuest)
Guaranteed support if you need to make a claim
Guaranteed to be accepted as valid by Iranian authorities
|Airport Travel Insurance
|No need to plan ahead||No support if you need to make a claim
Lowest level of coverage
Need to have the correct amount in cash, no change given, card not accepted.
Adds to your waiting time at the airport.
If you are a risk adverse traveller I suggest you buy both a local insurance and an international one. This way you can be sure that your coverage is high but you will also experience smooth sailing during the visa process.
Also check out: 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Iran Visa
If you are slightly more free and easy (and perhaps on a tight budget) I recommend taking out a policy with 1stQuest. With claim assistance and the low price of 22 EURO for a 30 day trip (based on a 30-year-old traveler), it is hard to go past this option.