The reality is, however, that Iran is subject to violent protests and demonstrations – with the Smartraveller website advising a “High degree of caution” when travelling to Iran, and a “Do not travel” advisory for the areas bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
You will need to ensure you have a good travel insurance in place for your trip to Iran, and being aware of the precautions that are advised.
1. Why do I need travel insurance for Iran?
Official requirement: In 2011 it became a requirement to have adequate travel insurance with your visa, to gain access to Iran ². Please note: You require a visa to travel to Iran – you can apply for a 30-day tourist visa on arrival, should your stay be less than 30-days. You can contact the Embassy of Iran for further information regarding your visa requirements. You will not be granted access to Iran if you already have an Israeli stamp in your passport – if this is the case, you will need to get a new passport if you wish to travel to Iran.
Medical assistance and emergencies: Day-to-day medical assistance is not hugely expensive in Iran, however, should you be hospitalised or need emergency medical assistance – you might find the bills rack up quickly. Ensure you have travel insurance that covers you for any medical expenses – including 24/7 emergency assistance – and emergency evacuation – should you need it.
Pre-existing medical conditions: Not all travel insurance providers offer cover for pre-existing medical conditions. Should you need medical assistance in Iran, for a condition you are currently receiving treatment for – you will need to be covered. Choose an insurer that offers this as an option – or chat to your insurer about adding this on to your cover.
Road travel cover: You can drive in Iran with an Australian drivers license, together with an International Driving Permit (IDP) – which should be obtained in Australia before you leave. The roads in Iran can be extremely dangerous, with a high rate of road accidents. Public transport is limited, so the need for a rental vehicle is high. Ensure you have sufficient travel insurance cover for any excess incurred due to a road accident. The use of a motorcycle or scooter is not always covered by insurance – check with your insurer beforehand if you are covered for this – or consider adding it as an extra to your insurance.
Cancelled or delayed flights: There is always a possibility of your flight being cancelled or delayed when travelling. Your travel insurance should cover you for any expenses incurred due to your flight being cancelled or delayed – including additional accommodation fees.
Theft or loss of personal belongings: Petty crimes are a reality in Iran in the popular tourist areas. There is also a possibility of losing your travel documents or passport – make sure you are covered for the loss or theft of personal belongings – should you be subject to this.
2. Who should I contact in the event of an emergency in Iran
Keep all relevant contact details readily available – should you be in an emergency.
These should include:
Your travel insurers details: We have made our four insurers details available for you.
The local emergency services in Iran: Dial 125 for a fire emergency – dial 115 for a medical emergency – and dial 110 for any crime related emergencies.
The Australian Embassy in Iran: Contact them via +98 21 8386 3666 (within Iran), firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their Website.
Tips for staying safe in Iran:
Stay away from the borders: It is highly advisable to stay at least 10 kilometres clear of the areas bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
Avoid protest action and demonstrations: Monitor the news for any developments regarding political development in Iran – where protests and demonstrations might occur. You can sign up for alerts and updates for Iran through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Listen to authorities: If there is any warning against political unrest or terrorism – always take the advice of local authorities for staying safe.
Respect the locals: Iranians, being the friendly people that they are – take great interest in foreigners and their views on Iran, and the Iranian culture. They are interested in how the world views them as a nation, and in particular – the negative views that a lot of people seem to have of them. It would serve you well to engage with their culture – and to really learn about them as a nation, and what they are like. If you show them genuine respect – you will in return, receive their respect – and enjoy partaking in the Iranian culture, and all that they have to offer.
Be flexible: Remain flexible with your travel plans if there be any disruptions or cancellations that occur. Your travel insurance should cover you for any expenses incurred due to travel plan disruptions.
Threat of terrorism: There is always the possibility of terrorist attacks in Iran. Monitor the news for any signs of terrorism – avoid possible targeted areas, such as embassies, Western hotels and businesses, and places of worship – where possible. Check with your travel insurer beforehand for whether you are covered for emergency evacuations or not. Not all insurers offer this as an option when there has been advance warning against travelling to Iran.
Remain vigilant: Avoid travelling at night, and stay clear of dimly-lit areas. Petty crimes such as bag snatching and scamming are quite common in areas around Iran – always keep your belongings close at hand and don’t hand over any personal belongings to anyone claiming to be policemen – rather go straight to the local police station for assistance.
Travel light: Avoid travelling with visible jewellery and other valuables that criminals could be drawn to.
Women travelling alone: If you are a woman travelling alone or with other women, take extra care to avoid unwanted attention and harassment.
3. What vaccinations are required for Iran?
It is advisable to receive the relevant vaccinations for traveling to Iran, to avoid contracting any viruses prevalent in Iran. This includes a yearly flu shot. Your travel insurance will not cover you for any medical expenses incurred, should you not be correctly vaccinated.
Some vaccines to consider before you travel to Iran: