Traveling to Thailand will definitely be an experience to remember life-long. With its ancient ruins and countless temples, the canals and floating water markets, the sunny tropical beaches, and modern cityscapes, there is a plethora of things to do and see – and it may not even be that expensive. Moreover, if you need medical assistance, you can be comforted to know that Thai doctors are highly qualified. That said, it is still a good idea to get travel insurance for Thailand.
Is Travel Insurance for Thailand Mandatory?
The Thai government has been planning on issuing a law that requires foreigners to purchase travel insurance at the airport before entering Thailand, but it still isn’t in effect. So, as for now, you don’t necessarily need travel insurance – you can still enter without it.
But should you still get Thailand travel insurance?
Yes, you are highly advised to get travel insurance for Thailand. If nothing, you will at least have peace of mind knowing that you won’t need to pay enormous amounts of medical bills in the event of an accident or sudden illness.
Thailand brought up the idea of compulsory travel insurance in 2019, as a result of a number of accidents involving tourists which had happened the year before. This insurance, however, would still not cover all aspects as regular travel insurance does as it is focused mainly on medical emergencies. For more comprehensive coverage, like missed flight, luggage, etc., you’d still need to buy your regular travel insurance.
The good news, if they do pass the law for compulsory travel insurance, is that it is planned to cost as little as 20 Thai Baht for a 30-day stay (which is less than $1).
Where Can I Get Travel Insurance for Thailand?
You can get travel insurance for Thailand from most local travel insurance companies as well as online, which is one of the most convenient methods.
There are different comparison websites, such as VisitorsCoverage, whose purpose is to act as brokers between travel insurance companies and clients. Via these websites, you can compare travel insurance plans from different companies and choose one that you feel is best for you. Then you can just purchase the policy online, follow the instructions, and you are good to go.
If you are traveling as part of an organized tour, your tour agency may also offer you travel insurance as part of the package deal. In these cases, although convenient, it is not always recommended to purchase the travel insurance you’re being offered. It is usually at a higher price than normal, and it may not offer all the coverage you are comfortable with when travelling. If you can, it’s always a good idea to read the policy very carefully, and if you think it is a good deal, and you have all the coverage you need, then go ahead and purchase it. If not, then opt-out and get an alternate insurance policy which will be most suitable for your needs.
Regardless of the method, you choose to get travel insurance for Thailand, make sure to always read the policy rules very carefully. Even read the fine print and sub-clauses so that you know just how much coverage you have, and are not surprised by unexpected bills down the road.
Are All My Activities Included in Thailand Travel Insurance?
No, not all activities are included in travel insurance coverage. Most Thailand travel insurance plans will cover medical emergencies related to a sudden illness or an accident. However, if the accident was a result of recklessness (such as drunk driving) or from an activity which is considered “high risk” (e.g. bungee jumping), then you will have to cover the medical treatment costs yourself.
Travel insurance companies usually have a list of activities they cover as well as exclusions. This will depend on the specific plan, but things like swimming, kayaking, trekking, and surfing are usually always covered. On the other hand, scuba diving, rock climbing, sailing, white water rafting or bungee jumping, which have a higher degree of risk, are usually only covered under certain circumstances and will cost more to be covered.
Again, the best way to know what activities are covered in your insurance policy for Thailand is to carefully read it. In most cases, you will be able to purchase extra coverage for some activities, but it will naturally cost more.
What Should Travel Insurance for Thailand Include?
Any good travel insurance plan for Thailand should include at least basic coverage for the following:
- Medical emergencies. If you get into an accident or get sick while in Thailand, travel health insurance will cover the cost of medical treatment you receive.
- Trip cancellation or interruption. If your trip is interrupted for some reason, or you have to cancel, then travel insurance will reimburse you for any losses due to non-refundable reservations.
- Theft, loss, damage of possessions. If your possessions are lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip, your insurance will reimburse you (up to a certain amount) for the loss.
- Emergency evacuation or repatriation. This type of coverage will cover the costs of any expenses incurred if you have to be flown back to your country in an emergency (e.g. air ambulance).
Optional travel insurance coverage (i.e. things that are not always included in a standard plan, but which you can add by paying extra) includes:
- “High-risk” or adventurous activities
- Personal liability
- Terrorism coverage
When Should I Get Travel Insurance for Thailand?
You should get travel insurance once you start making the first deposits on your trip to Thailand or buy the flight ticket. It is recommended to purchase travel insurance at least two weeks before you are set to travel so that you can have full coverage for trip cancellation or delayed flight.
Some insurance companies do not accept claims for cancellation if you have purchased travel insurance less than two weeks in advance.
Is Travel Insurance for Thailand Expensive?
The cost of travel insurance depends on several factors, such as your age, length of trip, where you have purchased it, and just how much coverage you want. In most cases, you can expect to pay about 4% to 10% of your overall trip costs in travel insurance.
Healthcare in Thailand for Tourists
Healthcare in Thailand is of excellent quality, so if you do happen to find yourself in a medical emergency, you should rest assured you will be well taken care of. Thailand has both a private and public healthcare system and provides universal healthcare to all Thai nationals. Tourists will have to pay the cost of treatment themselves or through travel health insurance.
The public healthcare system in Thailand has qualified doctors, but the hospitals are known for long waiting times and lower quality medical equipment as opposed to the private sector. Private healthcare, on the other hand, is of equally excellent quality and better equipped. They are expensive, however, and will often require you to show proof of funding or travel insurance before you receive treatment.
Is Thailand Safe to Visit?
Yes, Thailand is a generally safe place to visit. Naturally, you have to be careful of the usual travel risks, such as pickpocketing, scams, and food poisoning, but there is no greater risk in visiting Thailand as opposed to other countries. In fact, Thailand is considered one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia for tourists.
Note: The US and UK travel advisories urge against travelling to the Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Songkhla regions of Thailand due to civil unrest.
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