Is travel insurance necessary for Thailand?
For many people, a trip to Thailand is often on their list of preferred travel destinations. Whether it be visiting the stunning temples of Chiang Mai, the vibrant bustle of Bangkok, the pristine beaches of Phuket, or the island paradise of Koh Samui, Thailand is attractive to people who love international travel and want to experience a new culture and cuisine. Why is travel insurance Thailand necessary we ask?
As with travel to any country, a travel insurance policy will ensure that your trip can be a stress free and enjoyable one. A travel insurance plan gives you the peace of mind that should the worst happen, and you are involved in an accident or get sick, that expensive hospital bills will be taken care of. Travel insurance not only protects against expensive medical bills. It also covers a host of other things which can potentially go wrong on your trips abroad. By insuring these items, we can make sure we get the most out of our travels, whether that be for business or pleasure.
Whilst Thailand is a stunning country, its roads can be dangerous, and its hospitals expensive. Thailand has some of the highest road accident and fatality rates in the whole world. Unfortunately tourists often add to the figures when they take to the Thai roads. It’s crucial you take the necessary steps to protect both you and your loved ones. Travel insurance Thailand is commonly discussed in online forums because there are often occasions when people thought it was better to travel without it and save on premium. Unfortunately they became unstuck when they needed it most. Be sure not to fall into the same trap! Remember that if you are involved in an accident here you may need to stay in hospital for a long time period while you are made ready for a return journey to your home country. Inpatient stays in international hospitals are costly. If you need transporting within Thailand to a hospital where you can be treated, then again, prices can be very expensive. Emergency medical evacuation is costly in any country, as you will require specialist teams and services to make sure your transfer is medically as safe as possible.
Therefore, the answer to the question is YES. You most definitely require travel insurance if you are going to be traveling to Thailand.
How much does it cost?
The cost of travel insurance will depend on a number of factors. The first is your age. Insurance is normally more expensive when you are young, or older. This is because medically you are more likely to get ill and be hospitalised at these ages. For those with young children, going to the hospital can be a common occurrence as one does not want to take any chances. For those with elderly relatives, in the event of hospitalisation then their stay is likely to be much longer than for a healthy younger adult. For the above reasons, travel insurance premiums are not the same for everyone. Typically for general insurance products there are flat rates across the board. Health and travel insurance follow different rules.
A second consideration needs to be the level of cover you require. Generally speaking, the higher the coverage, the higher the premium. If you are planning to engage in adventure sports such as scuba diving and off-road biking, then you may need to pay an additional premium in order to be covered for these activities. Feel free to get in touch if you are not sure what level of coverage you require! Tied in with this is the Geographical scope of your coverage. As we will discuss later on, there are numerous options regarding the area you are covered, and that ultimately impacts the price of the product you are buying.
As with any product, there is also an element of knowing the market and knowing where the best deals can be found. Here at Seek2insure, a large part of our time is spent evaluating products and making sure that our clients get the best value options in the market. Travel insurance Thailand is a core part of what we do! If you fail to do your research you may find yourself paying over the odds for insufficient coverage.
Before you buy travel insurance be sure to do your research, and make sure that you are getting good value travel insurance for Thailand. At the same time it’s crucial to remember that travel insurance coverage is not all the same. There are numerous policies in the market with inadequate coverage, and also many plans with real cover. Make sure you understand the policy you are buying! Taking shortcuts at the beginning may leave you with lots of expensive bills which you will ultimately need to pay for out of pocket.
What should my travel insurance for Thailand include?
When choosing a travel insurance policy there are a number of things you should look out for. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, rather some suggestions on key points you should be looking out for. We will summarise some of the key pointers below;
- Medical Expenses. Getting sick in a far away country is not only stressful, but it can also be very expensive. You must take into consideration that medical expenses vary around the World. Whilst an outpatient visit in Thailand might not cost much, an equivalent visit to the hospital in the USA can be much more expensive. For inbound visitors to Thailand, it's worth noting that inpatient care in Thailand now costs as much as many other developed Nations. We recommend getting as much medical coverage as possible for when traveling. It may be worth researching some common medical costs for the country you are visiting and making sure that the cover you have is up to scratch. For people from countries with National Health systems its easy to forget that not all countries offer free care. In many countries throughout the World you must pay for your care. If you are not in a position to pay for your care, then you are stuck in a situation where you will not be able to receive the care that may end up saving your life.
- Cancellation. In the event that your trip is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, expenses can, and do, mount up. Travel insurance can cover these expenses. The recent COVID 19 pandemic highlighted the importance of cancellation cover, as many people were left with cancelled holidays as a result of the pandemic. It does not always take a pandemic to cancel your trip. If you, or an immediate family member get sick prior to your planned trip, you may need to cancel your trip. This would be covered under your policy benefits.
- Baggage and personal effects. Whilst it’s not a common occurrence due to the increasing sophistication of airlines baggage handling systems, sometimes, baggage is lost. Most of the time it is located and returned to you, but the time you spend waiting is both inconvenient and can be costly if you need to purchase new clothing. Also, if your case is broken, or contents stolen, having adequate cover can lessen the financial burden. Personal effects include cash and your passport, both of which are easily lost should you be a victim of theft. Other items covered include your valuables. What are valuables you may ask? These include jewelry, electronic equipment, cosmetics, and your mobile phone. If you suffer from theft while abroad it’s crucial that you report the theft to the local police station and get a crime report. This will be required as part of the supporting documentation for when you submit your claim.
- Delays. Delays can be costly when you miss an ongoing connection for a flight or an onward trip. Point to point travel is increasingly uncommon, and many people use a combination of airlines to travel on their holidays. If you use the same airline with a stopover it is their responsibility to make sure you reach your final destination. If you use a combination of airlines then it becomes more complicated, and the responsibility lies with you. A good policy will make sure you are reimbursed should a delay lead to you having to re-book flights to complete your journey.
- Winter Sports. If you are planning on going snowboarding or skiing remember that you may need to take out additional cover for your trip. This specialist add-on will provide cover for your ski equipment as well as cover against avalanches and piste closure, which would both negatively impact your ski trip.
- Dangerous Sports. Planning on bungee jumping, or gorge walking, or downhill biking? Be sure to check that the activities you are planning on doing are covered under a standard travel policy. You may need to pay more if they are classed as dangerous sports. Other activities classed as dangerous include; mountaineering, potholing, parachuting, skydiving, and gliding.
- Personal accident. If you are involved in an accident, then PA benefits are paid out on top of your standard medical expenses. Examples of PA payments include losing your sight if involved in an accident, or losing one of your limbs. These are lump sum payments which are made after the incident.
- Liability and legal expenses. If you are involved in an accident and it is your fault, then getting legal representation overseas is both an unknown and also an expensive venture. A good travel policy will cover these. An example of where this benefit would be of use would be the unfortunate case of you causing a road accident and subsequently being liable.
- Evacuation. If you are planning on going on a cruise, this cover will ensure you are reimbursed for costs associated with the ship being evacuated. The recent COVID pandemic has shown that this is something we can not rule out, and should prepare for.
Permanent disability is something that you will want included within your policy. If you suffer a disability then the effect on your ability to earn a living going forwards can be massively restricted. This is expensive and something one should insure against.
What’s the best travel insurance for Thailand?
If you are coming on holiday to Thailand as a tourist, then you are best to organise your travel insurance for Thailand from your home country. Generally speaking it is difficult to arrange travel insurance coverage once you have left your country of residence. We recommend that you follow the same pointers this article makes for Thai based Expats who are traveling outside of the country.
If you are an Expat living in Thailand, and looking for travel insurance to cover your trips outside of Thailand, you’ll need to look at the market locally. Remember that whilst there are many low cost options available, one has to question whether they will be of any benefit to you in a country such as the USA or Japan, where medical costs can be very high. Buying a policy with insufficient benefits may mean that you end up having to pay costs out of pocket, once your policy is exhausted. Travel insurance Thailand need not be a headache! Do you research and get the right product!
If you are only planning on traveling once in the coming year, then a single trip policy will be the best option for you. If you are a regular traveller, then an annual policy will likely be more cost effective. Please remember that 1 trip should not exceed 90 days in length, as stipulated by most insurance companies. Planning your travels ahead will allow you to be cost effective in your pursuit of an insurance plan.
Remember that travel insurers will offer differing geographical areas of cover. Some travel insurance plans are Worldwide, some are Worldwide excluding the USA. There are also Europe specific policies. The key takeaway is that you choose a policy which includes the countries you will be traveling in, to avoid any surprises later down the line.
Here at Seek2Insure our focus is on listening to your needs before recommending products. Contact us today to speak to one of our consultants who will help you find the most suitable products for your needs.